Performing and being asked to push back as far as you can

Vinster

Junior Member
How many of you guys feel like I do.
You are in a band, grateful to be playing, like the music you are playing, getting along with all your band mates, yet you show up to a gig and you are limited on space.
As a musician who has the largest instrument. You get told “ you can’t be out here that far, push your kit as close to the wall as you can”
I hate hitting my elbows on the wall, worse being an acrobat getting to and from my drums on breaks.
Has anyone figured out how to avoid this?
Also, looking for the weirdest place you had to set up your drums.
I played a show this past week where my drums were on such a downslope, I felt as though I was going to fall into my drumset. Not exactly my best performance as I was so uncomfortable and distracted by my snare stand moving
 
I once played a gig sitting in a door frame of an adjacent storage room since the tables were really close to the band and couldn't be moved away. It was quite the experience to sit in a different room than my drum set. Another time, I had to be at the edge of the stage. Too bad, it started raining heavily that night.. :D
I don't know what kind of music you play, but maybe you could build or buy a small set for such venues: http://compactdrums.com/
 

Vinster

Junior Member
I’m in a 6 piece band, 2- singers, 2- guitars bass and I. We are playing country and classic rock, high energy music
 
Hmm, a 16 or 18" bass drum might not provide the sound you're looking for. I'd probably look for a shallow marching bass drum and attach spurs and a cymbal holder. These drums can often be had for cheap.
Also try to discuss this with your band mates. If the stage is at ground level or not very high, you might be able to get the singers to move towards the audience. That might actually help to get the audience more involved (if you need a selling point to convince the singers ;)).
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
I once played a gig where the headline drummer kindly let me use his kit (I used my pedal, snare and cymbals). Problem was, this guy was 5’ 6” and had squeezed his kit into a corner at the back of the stage. I’m 6’ 1” and was literally on top of the kit with my legs at uncomfortable angles and elbows tight to my body. I felt really uncomfortable throughout our set, had to really concentrate to adapt my playing and tbh it was a relief when we finished and I could stretch out my arms and legs! 😂 A guitarist taped the set and everyone thought it sounded great…which was really weird because I thought my restricted movement had hindered my performance but nobody noticed!!:unsure:😂(y)
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Part of being a gigging drummer means accepting (and making the most of) the environment in which you're performing. I've never really been one to complain about limited space, poor acoustics, less than ideal temps, or similar inadequacies. I do my best to interpret every opportunity to drum as a privilege. I extract a lot more joy from playing when I maintain that frame of mind.
 

Bozozoid

Well-known member
I set up on a plywood topped frikkin pool table once..back then my frame of mind was better..today?..id bitch about it. I've been asked many times to scoot back..move left..etc etc..it irks me but I'm usually pretty decent...usually.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
You just gotta be ready and prepared. I stopped complaining eons ago. My attitude is, what I have to say on the instrument is way more important than where I’m saying it from. I play a big six-piece set now, but have done many a job with two or three drums, so if you can play, alterations shouldn’t be a problem.

I also live by that old entertainment adage too: if you don’t want to do it, there’s a bunch of other people who will.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
You simply set up with the minimum space required to move your arms in order to play, and that's that. It's nobody in the band's fault that space may be tight, and since the other players are asking, they obviously understand that a certain amount of space is necessary.

Maybe one or two players need to stand on the floor, assuming the 'stage' isn't so high that it prevents walking back to an amp, etc.

But if the stage is so small that an entire band can't fit on it, either the band is too large for the venue, or the venue is too small for the band.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I also live by that old entertainment adage too: if you don’t want to do it, there’s a bunch of other people who will.
That too. Unless you're Kelly Keagy or Don Henley or Ringo, and fronting the band... you can be replaced. Just ask any of Zappa's or Journey's or Starship's drummers.

The good news is, you only need to ask Aynsley once. :)
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Use a carpet that gives you enough room even when it's against the wall. The carpet is your space. Get to the gig and toss it on stage and claim your space before anyone else takes it all.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
You can always say, and stick to, no, to being asked to set up right against the wall. Well I could because I don't care anymore, and I don't need the money from music.

I get that space is at a premium, and I push back too, but not to the point where I have a hard time playing.

Don't compromise the space you need. Don't get pushed around.
 

petrez

Senior Member
I use to be the first to setup my kit before the others take place, setting up their amps and all. At least in my band that is just an unsaid rule, it seems. So I push back as far as I can, but with enough clearence to the wall so I won't be uncomfortable. If the stage is still too small after that, we have some discussions of course, maybe the singer can stand in front of the stage, either build a platform in front if possible, or just stand with the audience if the stage is really small. But usually we are able to check out the stage before a gig, either by pictures or just chat with the owner, so we can prepare.
 

SharkSandwich

Junior Member
I typically map my drum footprint using my drum carpet before the other band members get settled. That way we
all know how much room we have. It is frustrating playing small spaces but sometimes you just have to work with what you have.
I've shed all excess gear over the years so my setup is relatively compact. That said, I will absolutely not play up against a wall where
my elbows don't have room. That's a deal breaker.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Oh hell yeah in orchestra in particular but one gig I was basically behind a curtain- it was a fun gig nonetheless. You do learn to adapt to whatever the case -I’ve had my knee over the beater scrunched in so my shin was practically hitting kick and mainly toes on pedal. A wall in a corner behind you is a bigger issue whacking funny bone and you’ll eventually hit it at least one time no matter how cautious and damn it hurts.
 

Bozozoid

Well-known member
I get the professional attitude thing in that you deal with what you've got..im not out in the van crying. Bad analogy surely but it's like a pro defensive boxer complaining that the ring is smaller diminishing his strategy. Deal with it and fight the fight?. If the band is booked to play the club again where you set up in a gorilla cage you better believe my vote is no...a very STRONG no.
 

Auspicious

Well-known member
Part of being a gigging drummer means accepting (and making the most of) the environment in which you're performing. I've never really been one to complain about limited space, poor acoustics, less than ideal temps, or similar inadequacies. I do my best to interpret every opportunity to drum as a privilege. I extract a lot more joy from playing when I maintain that frame of mind.
I agree, it's a real privilege to be able to play drum. I'll keep that in mind always from now on.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I also live by that old entertainment adage too: if you don’t want to do it, there’s a bunch of other people who will.
This!

Don't worry about playing in cramped places too much, it happens. Adapt and overcome. We've all set up in some ridiculous spaces. That's why I take a 20/12/14 setup with a 14" deep bass drum. Fits anywhere and doesn't sound like a toy.

If a gig is really small I'll strip down to kick, snare, hats and ride

If it's a paid gig then count the cash you're earning whilst playing. If it's an unpaid gig it's your call whether you want to bother again.
 
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