Playing Out for the First Time tomorrow

roncadillac

Member
This requires minor equipment expense but can be a life saver: many amps have a monitor out, you can pick up a small 4 channel mixing board for $100 or less and a small powered speaker/monitor for about $100. Run the monitor outs to that board then a mono out to that speaker and plop that speaker next to you. You don't have to have any knowledge of eq'ing or anything like that because it's just giving you personally a monitor and not being used for amplification to the crowd. You could make this even easier by getting a powered speaker with multiple inputs or a keyboard amp and do the same thing except skip the mixing board entirely. Never again will you have to worry about not hearing the band nor the anxiety of poor performance... Well worth the one time $200 investment in my opinion.
 

Hewitt2

Senior Member
The Professor himself (Neil Peart) admits he blew a very high-profile gig (the first Buddy Rich memorial concert which was filled with legendary musos) when he couldn’t hear the band. It happens to everyone!

What defines winners is persistence and pushing through self-imposed limitations. Don’t let this gig define you as a musician. Learn from it and grow!
 

roncadillac

Member
The Professor himself (Neil Peart) admits he blew a very high-profile gig (the first Buddy Rich memorial concert which was filled with legendary musos) when he couldn’t hear the band. It happens to everyone!

What defines winners is persistence and pushing through self-imposed limitations. Don’t let this gig define you as a musician. Learn from it and grow!
Well said!
 

The Shepherd

Well-known member
Recently I sat in for a rehearsal with a band. Knew nothing of the songs they play and used their regular drummers kit. It happens that he took the hats with him so I used a tambourine as hats.

I did the best as I could, couldn't hear everyone but could see the bass players foot and his fingers. I watched for cues from the keyboardist (he's the leader it seems) and I made it through about 8 songs, 4 of which I'd never heard before.

All the guys except the lead guitarist seemed ok with how I was doing. The guitarist kept saying "you never heard THIS song before?" as if I were a dummy. I'm not much of a country guy and let him know it on the last song. He shut up.

Keep plugging away. You were put into a real tough place. Some practice with the band would have certainly helped.
 

BGDurham

Well-known member
This volume/sound/monitors/no monitors situation seems fairly conceived of as a "band problem" rather than the drummer's problem. If OP wants to eliminate risk he can go with roncadillac's excellent personal solution, but it is worth discussing the problem with the band and see if members want to invest in a more general solution (mixer to in-ears and/or a PA system, for example) that would help everyone. Or aim the amps differently.
 

roncadillac

Member
This volume/sound/monitors/no monitors situation seems fairly conceived of as a "band problem" rather than the drummer's problem. If OP wants to eliminate risk he can go with roncadillac's excellent personal solution, but it is worth discussing the problem with the band and see if members want to invest in a more general solution (mixer to in-ears and/or a PA system, for example) that would help everyone. Or aim the amps differently.
I agree. A simple conversation can help to mitigate this issue again. Now, there is a very high chance your band mates are not rational adults (because most are not lol) so you may have to get creative haha. Taking a few minutes to reevaluate placement (your own as well as the amps) can help greatly but isn't always a time luxury we all have during a rushed gig.

Another thing I just remembered: it's very common to practice facing each other in a comfortable setting where you can hear everything... This is usually not the case during most gigs. I really like to make it a point to set up as if we were at the gig at the last rehearsal prior to. Going into the gig ready to play without hearing can also help greatly.
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
How cool is this forum that the OP now has 3 pages of supportive comments?

And to OWP, your story reminds me of gig this past summer where I could not hear anything beyond a swirling cacophony of s!@#. New venue, new sound engineer, IEMs weren’t working correctly, etc. This exacerbated the limitations of a guitarist who’s not so good at listening and…yeah.
 
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Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Recently I sat in for a rehearsal with a band. Knew nothing of the songs they play and used their regular drummers kit. It happens that he took the hats with him so I used a tambourine as hats.

I did the best as I could, couldn't hear everyone but could see the bass players foot and his fingers. I watched for cues from the keyboardist (he's the leader it seems) and I made it through about 8 songs, 4 of which I'd never heard before.

All the guys except the lead guitarist seemed ok with how I was doing. The guitarist kept saying "you never heard THIS song before?" as if I were a dummy. I'm not much of a country guy and let him know it on the last song. He shut up.

Keep plugging away. You were put into a real tough place. Some practice with the band would have certainly helped.

this was me for the first few months of the country band I have now been in for 6 years...things will get better!!!
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
I am playing out for the first time tomorrow and I am really, really nervous about it.
...
any pointers?
Yes. Know the material as completely as possible, down to every intro, outro and every note in between. That way, if anything isn’t good (e.g., monitor mix, sound of kit at venue, nervous singer, quiet guitarist, etc.) it won’t matter to the music because you have your part mastered.

If you can’t hear the guys you need to hear, don’t feel rushed into “good enough”. Make sure your FOH gets you the best sound he can. That way, if everything sounds great to you, you will perform better and enjoy the gig much more.

You might get easily distracted. After playing in churches for 20+ years, then going to clubs, the club/bar/venue stage lighting was very distracting. No more “easy listening” lighting. Now most clubs (and bands) will have those small LED light kits that change colors, flash & blink, spin and rotate. They must be ignored, especially any light that’s blinking ”to the beat”. Consider wearing sunglasses to minimize the distractive nature of dynamic lighting.

Load in/Loud out. Be the first to arrive, and because of that, be prepared to be the last to leave. The FOH always likes it when the drummer get there first because cabling & mic’ing the kit and getting a good sound at the venue is critical to a successful sounding band, and good FOH engineers will take the time to get it right (so give ‘em that opportunity).

Load in/Load out: Use a cart. Share the cart and make yourself even more valuable.

Good luck! We are all rooting for you! 💪
 
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