Playing Out for the First Time tomorrow

roncadillac

Member
I've got a really great follow up to this topic:

I played in a band for almost five years and quit (actually, several of us quit) in Oct 2019 shortly before the pandemic. That same band just had their first gig last night and used a fill in drummer as they haven't found a permanent replacement. I am still friends with these people and I recorded the album they released last night so I went to the gig to show support and to have a nice night out with the wifey. I'll be totally honest in saying they were pretty sloppy and did not play to the level that we were at back when we were all together and still playing constantly. I'm not holding it against them, half of us bailed then the singer tried to throw together a last minute show two years later. The reason I bring this up is because I noticed every single tiny little mistake that took place... Not one other person in the crowd did.
 

roncadillac

Member
Well, honestly; i did a poor job last night.

I take full personal responsibility and figure that it was due to my lack of experience and skill. I was unrehearsed (i knew the music, we just didn’t have time to go over it before the show) and couldn’t hear any of the band members (I know some included in their advice that I should be sure that I hear everyone, but there was nothing that could’ve been done about it). Had to rely on visuality of keyboard player’s hands/bass players fingers for tempo (because there was no click), so I struggled A LOT with that. BUT I figure that none of that shouldn’t matter and I should’ve been able to hang in there regardless. I couldn’t.

Huge confidence breaker (not that I had a ton to begin with). Kinda making me reconsider altogether. Thanks everyone for the advice and support. You guys are great. Might take a little break from the forum. Don’t really feel like “drummer” rn 😂
Dont let it get you down! I am a firm believer in visual queues. For example, the band I'm in now has a TON of random stops, catches, and dynamic changes. I'm much more familiar and comfortable with the material now but when I first started with them I would have been screwed had it not been for the keyboard player/singer/songwriter's ability to "conduct" the band via hand signals.

We've all had bad gigs, just keep going!
 

J-W

Well-known member
Well, honestly; i did a poor job last night.

I take full personal responsibility and figure that it was due to my lack of experience and skill. I was unrehearsed (i knew the music, we just didn’t have time to go over it before the show) and couldn’t hear any of the band members (I know some included in their advice that I should be sure that I hear everyone, but there was nothing that could’ve been done about it). Had to rely on visuality of keyboard player’s hands/bass players fingers for tempo (because there was no click), so I struggled A LOT with that. BUT I figure that none of that shouldn’t matter and I should’ve been able to hang in there regardless. I couldn’t.

Huge confidence breaker (not that I had a ton to begin with). Kinda making me reconsider altogether. Thanks everyone for the advice and support. You guys are great. Might take a little break from the forum. Don’t really feel like “drummer” rn 😂

Hold on there, before you hang it up. So you think you did a poor job but did you really? I mean, did anyone even notice or say anything?
Was it a total disaster where songs completely fell apart, or was it just that you couldn't hear the rest of the band and things just weren't perfect?
As said before, no one (but Ian ;)) notices minor mistakes like you do. The beauty of playing live is that any mistakes, if they even get noticed, go into the wind and the next note immediately covers them up. No one dwells on them. You shouldn't either. (Unless, of course, your band is recording their first "live" album :p).
I totally get that a bad gig can be a confidence breaker, but the fact that you recognize your mistakes, know how to correct them (and if not, ask here), and came out the other end alive means that, in a way, it was a successful gig. Failure isn't the end, it's just a step in the process of achieving success.

You've made the first step in being a gigging drummer...............playing a gig. Congrats.
 

Juniper

Gold Member
Sorry to hear it didn’t go well.

But you have a base to grow on and improve on and that’s not a bad thing.

No one’s first gig is ever an indication of the final ‘version’ of you.

Mistakes mean you won’t make the same ones again.

Keep your chin up mate, things will improve. The worst thing is to quit and not try again. You’ll regret that even more long term maybe.

When you fall off the horse, get back on it - so to speak.
 

boomstick

Silver Member
I was unrehearsed (i knew the music, we just didn’t have time to go over it before the show) and couldn’t hear any of the band members

^^Seems like these were the problems and not your playing. Both should be pretty easily fixable. Get the sound issues sorted out. Get some good rehearsals in. Start the gig with the easiest song as a warm-up. Give yourself a fighting chance next time.
 

roncadillac

Member
I've encountered many situations where hearing the rest of the band is difficult, if not damn near impossible, and it is totally out of your control (lack of monitors, sucky room, etc) but I have learned there is a lot you can do to help work around that. Set up in front of your band's amps, not behind them. Set up the band in more of a crescent shape then a 'line', this allows the sound to still project out to the crowd but also let's it bounce around your immediate area better. Don't be afraid to use thinner sticks and/or dont hit the cymbals quite as hard as you normal would, don't be afraid to apply some tape under your cymbals to reduce overtones. Coordinate hand signals/queues with everyone. Also, drums don't HAVE to be in the center... Especially when your kit is mic'ed. I played in a band where I only needed to hear the guitar to be able to hang on the song, of course I preferred hearing everyone but in a pinch I only NEEDED the guitar. So I got in the habit of setting up next to his amp always. Even in the crappiest of rooms, sound systems, sound guys, etc I could still 'get by' due to having a fender tube amp blaring in my ear from 3' away haha.
 
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organworthyplayer337

Well-known member
I've encountered many situations where hearing the rest of the band is difficult, if not damn near impossible, and it is totally out of your control (lack of monitors, sucky room, etc) but I have learned there is a lot you can do to help work around that. Set up in front of you band's amps, not behind them. Set up the band in more of a crescent shape then a 'line', this allows the sound to still project out to the crowd but also let's it bounce around your immediate area better. Don't be afraid to use thinner sticks and/or dont hit the cymbals quite as hard as you normal would, don't be afraid to apply some tape under your cymbals to reduce overtones. Coordinate hand signals/queues with everyone. Also, drums don't HAVE to be in the center... Especially when your kit is mic'ed. I played in a band where I only needed to hear the guitar to be able to hang on the song, of course I preferred hearing everyone but in a pinch I only NEEDED the guitar. So I got in the habit of setting up next to his amp always. Even in the crappiest of rooms, sound systems, sound guys, etc I could still 'get by' due to having a fender tube amp blaring in my ear from 3' away haha.
Great advice. Unfortunately, I had no control over band placement. Apparently none of the instruments were even going through speakers/monitors. It was just the amps pointed towards the crowd. I was supposed to be using rods, but then was asked to use sticks which pretty much did away with any chance of hearing the band.
 

roncadillac

Member
Great advice. Unfortunately, I had no control over band placement. Apparently none of the instruments were even going through speakers/monitors. It was just the amps pointed towards the crowd. I was supposed to be using rods, but then was asked to use sticks which pretty much did away with any chance of hearing the band.
What genre of music and what kind of setting? Just curious.

It sounds like you had a tough situation to contend with and did your best. We won't always have control over all variables and ha e to try our best, just as you did. The only thing that you really had control over is your own rehearsal/preparation time but we've all played gigs "half cocked" so don't let it get you down and use it as a learning experience. I've been in bands that were super solid and well released and typically had great gigs but would have a whole gig go in the toilet because of a stupid sound related issue out of our control.
 

Neal Pert

Well-known member
So, hey-- first, congratulations on the courage it took to play your first gig. Lots and lots of people never get there. It sounds like you had an objectively crap situation regarding setup and rehearsal and all that.

Take care of yourself-- those sorts of events can stick in your craw for longer than they need to. My suggestion is to cry, write a sad poem in your journal, or whatever. Acknowledge it. But then get back up and practice. Do it again. You will survive.

I once did an outdoor sightreading big band gig-- best big band in the region, and my first gig with them-- and a big gust of wind came during a shout chorus/drum solo and took all of my music off the stand. No one else's, mind you, because my stand was perpendicular to the others. It was in my hometown but all the best musos from the nearby city were on the gig. It was a disaster.

It happens. But the thing to do is to just move on, check your ego, and do the work. Soon enough, you'll be sorta good at it, then good at it.

jake-the-dog-on-sucking_o_799995.jpg
 

Icetech

Gold Member
Take it as a learning experience. :) and, if you couldn't hear the band that could be an issue.

P.S. i don't have the balls to even record myself let alone let anyone see me play, at least you did it :)
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Great advice. Unfortunately, I had no control over band placement. Apparently none of the instruments were even going through speakers/monitors. It was just the amps pointed towards the crowd. I was supposed to be using rods, but then was asked to use sticks which pretty much did away with any chance of hearing the band.

so really, you actually ended up playing through, and dealing with some issued that were out of your control. You got handed a s**ty situation, and still pulled through

I would not judge your over all self worth by that situation...in fact, a lot of people would have quit, or gave up, but you didn't...and now, you have experienced the worst of the worst. It can only get better for sure.

I have had 1000's of gigs/shows/performances in many different situations, and I can honestly say that very few of them went logistically perfect...but NONE of them were discouraging...they were frustrating at the time, but they all got cataloged in the learning experience box for the next time

here is the best way to gauge your personal abilities: if you have 5 shows in a row and the same issue happens at every show, then it is you...if there are issues, but they are different, then it is "fate", and you have to roll with them
 

BGDurham

Well-known member
Cal Newport says what amatuer writers call "writer's block", professional writers call "writing". I venture this applies to drumming too: what casual drummers call a "bad gig", gigging drummers call a "gig"--congrats to you, gigging drummer!
 

BGDurham

Well-known member
Also, as noted by many here, be a little disappointed but then identify the problems and try to solve them with your band. Keep practicing your drumming, work on the songs, and consider how to hear the music better (move the amps, in-ear monitors?). Do a post-mortem debrief with the band.
 

ToneT

Well-known member
As Icetech stated, think of the gig as a learning experience.
Between now and the next gig you'll have some time to review the songs.
You made it through a difficult gig. Give yourself some credit!
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
I was unrehearsed (i knew the music, we just didn’t have time to go over it before the show) and couldn’t hear any of the band members (I know some included in their advice that I should be sure that I hear everyone .....
You had a heavy lift there, for a newbie. Learn a bunch of songs ..... no rehearsal ..... and play out. Even a pro stepping in ..... charting songs ..... is bound to make a few mistakes under such circumstances. You were asked to perform waaaaay above your pay grade, so recognize you did as best as you could ...... and do better next time.

Once you get into rehearsal and learn the material, it'll be a lot easier. My fallback to not hearing (what monitors ????? ;)) the band is I'd have the bass cabinet as close on my left or right as possible. Once the rhythm section locks in .....you're gold.
 

jimb

Member
Ive re-read this and I dont think youve actually been terribly specific. Can you tell us a moment where it went seriously pair shaped.....ie you came back in totally in the wrong place playing the wrong groove etc etc. What exactly did you mess up? ...cause if you didnt then it seems to me you had a reasonably good gig....And not being able to hear the band is totally normal, shocking yes but normal. Been there more times than I can remember. :)
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
You must continue gigging. This is the path every drummer takes.

Generally the drummer is at the back of the stage. It's hard to hear back there. It helps to watch band members for cues. Identify a band member that is keeping time. This could be rhythm guitar, might be bass or keys. Focus on that musician.

For me, wearing sunglasses reduces distraction and helps me focus on playing.

Playing with good, experienced musicians helps.
 

ToneT

Well-known member
Monitors? For me?
In all my years gigging I never had the luxury of monitors behind or to the side of me.
You're going to have to learn and develop your listening skills and "think mix" while playing. This can be developed over time.
There is no need for you to stop posting. Don't give up!
Again, this is ALL a learning process. Your skills WILL improve with experience.
Cheers!
 
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