Professional Habits that Should be a Part of Every Amateur/Semi-Pro Band

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Do you have any characteristics of really pro-bands that you wished your group would take on?
I guess this is my age talking, but I'm REALLY jealous of pro bands having a crew. I've been slinging drums and PA gear for a long time now, and it's only getting more difficult. The very few times I show up and there's already a PA in place, I have to hide my tears of joy.
 

Frank

Gold Member
I will offer the other side of the setlist thing.

I have been in many bands that do a strict setlist and those that do not. In My experience, max success has always come from - no setlist, calling the tunes as the BL reads the crowd.

When a paying patron yells out a song, and the band can cover it, they - Should.

I think the magic sequence of songs on a setlist that so many invest so much time in is over rated.

This whole discussion is obviously different for a produced arranged national act. I imagine Bermuda has a fairly set setlist for the Al shows, with good reason. But for weekend warriors, I view it as over rated. So often, people want to hear what they call out. That's what builds a following and positive night.

YMMV.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Rigidity is too restrictive.
If on a stage, the band is playing for an audience. If so, then what is the problem switching a setlist around based on how the audience is reacting.
Are you going to kill the vibe of group of people who finally got up to dance, by following it with a slow ballad....just because it is listed in the setlist that way? No, you skip that and move to the next danceable numbers and save the slow ballad for when they tire.
Who are you playing for?
 

Frank

Gold Member
Rigidity is too restrictive.
If on a stage, the band is playing for an audience. If so, then what is the problem switching a setlist around based on how the audience is reacting.
Are you going to kill the vibe of group of people who finally got up to dance, by following it with a slow ballad....just because it is listed in the setlist that way? No, you skip that and move to the next danceable numbers and save the slow ballad for when they tire.
Who are you playing for?
Exactly. If the band is there to get people up dancing, and people are now on the dance floor, you Can't stick to the setlist if the next tune is not a dance tune.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
I guess one more "old dog" on the pile won't hurt...lol.

The *only* thing that gets me is the idea that there must be some list of absolutes the we *all* must adhere to.

I am completely baffled by the idea that to be "pro" we ALL MUST do thus and such-even in the face of evidence that the opposite works as well or even better for *some* bands or at some *times*...

If a set setlist works in your favor for your situation-then hold to it. If a flexible setlist works in your favor then go for it. If set tempo is a band goal then dammit set your tempos in stone. If your band prefers to play a little looser then have at it...etc. etc. etc. I could go on for an hour...heads, lights, mics, volume, costumes and stage clothes....YIKES! "Auntie Em! Auntie Em!"

Sure there are some common sense aspects to this thing like knowing your part, being on time, disciplined and reliable etc. etc. etc. And sure circumstances will change based on the gig-local pub, Broadway, or in-between. Band member or hired gun? etc. etc. etc.

But within the context of full membership in a group with other musicians who the heck am I to judge whether what works for MY band will work for your band?

Anyway...thankful that this is the deepest I have to think so far today. Could be a lot worse and for some others it is a lot worse... :oops:
 

flamateurhour

Active member
Most of my setlist related issues have usually come up because of my horn section or guitar players. My sax player plays alto and soprano and the pre-meditated setlist goes a long way towards him ensuring that the right instrument is prepped for the upcoming song. Of course he's a pro and can get it re-dialed in, but it adds a 10-15 second delay before a song can be kicked off. The same can be said for my band(s) where multiple guitars are used. We can't call certain stuff on the fly in my southern rock/country band as easily because there's a momentary switch over for the rhythm guitar player to get situated behind his pedal steel.

That being said, if there's any issues that arise due to a setlist audible I'm going to do everything in my power to have it not come from me. I'm always down for whatever and do my best to not be the wild card variable in those situations.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Show up on time.

Show up with all your equipment and contingency plans. (I've lost count how many times someone needed to borrow an extension cord or a drum stick, or a basic cable).

Understand the basics of setting your gear (I've lost count how many guitarists don't understand the input on their cabinet gets connected to the output of their amp head).

Have at least a vague idea on how the songs go.
 
Top