Rooms/stages that you've played

moodman

Well-known member
Some rooms/stages can enhance the sound of your well-tuned drums, some seem to deaden them or worse. Especially true if your working un-mic'd. Generally, I've come to like hollow, uncarpeted stages with a reflective backwall as opposed to curtains etc. but, they're all different.

The weirdest situation I've encountered was playing for a wedding in a restaurant housed in a old, huge concrete building that had once been a car dealership. Two stories and built into the side of a hill on 2 sides, it was a 'fast' room sound-wise. My kick was mic'd and I had a vocal mic, mostly turned off except when singing. For whatever sonic reason, whenever I hit my 13" tom the whole building resonated and it was louder than my other drums and really, louder than the band. I adjusted my playing and left that drum alone, the only positive being that, when the bride threw out the bouquet, I did a crescendo roll that made the whole place ROAR.

Ever play a room with crazy acoustics, slap-back that messed with your time, or maybe made your drums sound great?
 
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Capital D

Member
My band played at the Orange County Fair for the last (before the world ended) 4 years on a stage in an aircraft hangar. The sound of my drums mic'ed up through the house and all of the reverb in the room makes my drums sound amazing! Like wooden gods of thunder.

Now, if only my playing matched the sound. haha!
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
Played in a country bar where there was a wall about 20 feet in front of the stage. Part of the dance floor was there too.
The sound of the band bounced right back to the stage causing issues with what we heard from the monitors.

There was just enough of a delay that it threw us off for a bit during sound check. The sound guy did some adjustments and all was well for the real show.
I learned that night how important the room and stage placement within are.
 

Bozozoid

Well-known member
My favorite environment acoustically is outdoors. I've played some rooms where the kit sounded like total dog ....... Nothing you can do...maybe an odd tuning here and there but you just try to survive. Talk about uninspiring. I remember Bonham saying if your drums sound like thunder you play like thunder..if they sound average you play average.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
Ever play a room with crazy acoustics, slap-back that messed with your time, or maybe made your drums sound great?

I played at a marina when a carpenter was fixing the deck. Carpenter is hammering - bam bam bam - it severely interfered with my timing.
 

Old PIT Guy

Well-known member
There was a bar in D.C., fairly popular back in the day, called the Crazy Horse. Bands played behind the bar on an elevated 5 foot deep stage. My back was against the wall and and the front of the BD was hanging off the 'stage'. Worse, the bartenders directly in front of you would ring this huge brass bell constantly for some reason I can't recall. You couldn't hear the other guys at all due to the tight line with no set-back for the drums.

I hated playing there but bands loved it because you set up your own door for the cover and this was on M street in Georgetown. A lot of foot traffic. You could do pretty well with a $2 cover weekdays and $1 on weekends.
 

timmdrum

Silver Member
A studio in Greensboro NC (in a house, but it was a real studio, not a bedroom or basement with a laptop) had a crazy frequency thing that made my 2nd rack tom (12") resonate weirdly long, almost like plucking a bass string. It's always resonated really well, but this room extended it to a crazy length. I had to use a Moongel to calm it to how it normally behaved without one.
 
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Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
My band played at the Orange County Fair for the last (before the world ended) 4 years on a stage in an aircraft hangar. The sound of my drums mic'ed up through the house and all of the reverb in the room makes my drums sound amazing! Like wooden gods of thunder.

Now, if only my playing matched the sound. haha!

Ha, I've played that hanger before too. Sounds great in there!

I can't think of specific rooms or studios I like. There are a couple I've worked out of multiple times that are always great, but as least with a studio at the end of the day it's the ears behind the board that make a difference.
 
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MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Sound wise, not really because metal 🤘. It was always loud. But the stages themselves, there have been some interesting ones.

A bar in Springfield, MO with a Jegar bottle halfwall in the middle of the stage. It had a small opening, but it was too small so I would have to set up behind it.

I've played a stage that had a pole about 2-3' off the backwall and about 1/3 the distance to center. It was weird. That stage was also crooked on one side. It was like playing on a slope.

Played a stage so small I was the only one on it.

Played on a skateboard ramp a few times. They built a stage in front of a rock wall eventually so that was cool too.

Played a stage so big I was literally looking down at the top of everyone elses heads.

This place was cool:
Chi-Omega-Greek-Theatre.jpg

Played a bar in, umm, Kansas I think where my back was to the front window of the bar. That was a bit unnerving.

Played a barn in both Arkansas and Oklahoma.

There are too many to remember. The one with the pole and crooked stage, it had a horror story bathroom also.
 

moodman

Well-known member
Great responses.
The good sounding rooms are a godsend and don't we all love good sound reinforcement!! And if it doesn't make us 'play better' it enables playing our best, feeling it will be heard like we mean it to be.
That playing on a shallow stage really messes with communication, done it, hated it. It has always amazed me how many music venues aren't really made for music.
Speaking of bad stages, I played one in Chicago, a scaffolding with 4x8's of plywood for a surface. They'd assembled it starting at the back, and came up one 4x8 short so there was a huge gap in the middle of the frontline with at least a 10' drop if you fell, good night to be back on the drums.
Playing in Medicine Hat, we played on a stage in the wall between a bar and a Chinese restaurant. We played 9 to midnight facing the bar and turned to the restaurant to finish the night, playing to the same crowd who had relocated there, this in compliance with Canadian liquor laws.
At The Slippery Noodle in Indianapolis, I've played with my back to the front window, I kinda liked people watching me do my thing.
I once played at the top of a ski jump at a resort (off season of course)
 
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Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
some of the oddest rooms I have dealt with acoustically are in VFW's or Eagles clubs...rooms that look like they will be too loud, too muffled, but end up being perfect

on the flip side, there have been very very few stages that were ever perfect...most being awful.

@MrInsanePolack mentioned stages where the back of the stage is the front window of the club...I regularly play(ed) 2 places like that where the stage sound was great! Both were high volume "metal" clubs...I think the combo of the glass projecting into the brick, carpet, and wood surfaced clubs helped. One place - Sudsy Malone's in Cincy - was great b/c it was a bar/laundromat/metal club...right in the heart of UC...great, great shows happened in that place!!

Outdoor gigs to me are always the worst b/c no matter what my drums sound waaay too dry....that being said, I have rarely had a sound guy let me down at an outdoor gig...
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Ever play a room with crazy acoustics, slap-back that messed with your time, or maybe made your drums sound great?

I've played stages that sound one way during soundcheck, and sounded completely different once the room is full of people.

I've played a stage where the amplifier hum would change with the tide. It was on a pier, and the ground impedance would change as the water level changed.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
The first "gig" I ever played was as a teen with my "basement" band. We played for about an hour or two at a dance marathon. It was in a gymnasium. The sound was absolutely horrible. Everything just eeemed to echo forever. It was also strange seeing people dance to the music we were playing which was classic rock as this was the late 70's. A far better venue for sound was a few gigs at The Bitter End and The Red Lion, both in Greenwich Village, NYC. And in Buffalo during college I played in the house band at a local dive dinner theater for about a year. The "pit" was off to the side of the stage and I recall the sound being pretty bad. I'd say the stage that had the best sound that I was able to play on was at college. I played in one of the jazz ensembles and we put on a concert at the end of the semester along with the other jazz ensembles. I think there were 3 or 4 in total. The sound in the hall was amazing as it was extremely well designed and was fairly new given it was in a portion of the college that had been recenty built.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I toured with a group playing keyboards and bass one time, and we played this terrible auditorium at a college somewhere in NC where the walls were made of brick with zero sound treatment. I mean, the facility was nice and all, but I swear it sounded worse than a gym. Whoever designed this thing was a complete moron.
 

jimb

Member
Large stages are most the same but as a bassist back in the day playing those cheap bars with all the house lights up, the band on the floor same level as the punters who are sat at tables a couple of feet from the band. Man, they have to be the most demanding gigs....absolutely nowhere to hide.... you could see them thinking..."well go one then impress me". Scary as hell.
 

moodman

Well-known member
I did a fill in gig at the Snafu club just outside the gates of FT Benjamin Harrison in Indianoplace, the crowd all drunk soldiers. The drums were on the pool table covered with plywood. Just one set and then the regular drummer showed up, I was really glad to leave.
I played a biker rally where the 'stage' was a large panel truck containing a great white shark, some sort of sideshow thing. The bikers threw our gear up to us after we'd climbed atop and we played a long set while the bikers sold drugs and ladies turned tricks in my van, wasn't nuthin' I could do about it. We learned, that day, to never play a slow ballad at a gig like that, made them a little irate.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I did a fill in gig at the Snafu club just outside the gates of FT Benjamin Harrison in Indianoplace, the crowd all drunk soldiers. The drums were on the pool table covered with plywood. Just one set and then the regular drummer showed up, I was really glad to leave.
I played a biker rally where the 'stage' was a large panel truck containing a great white shark, some sort of sideshow thing. The bikers threw our gear up to us after we'd climbed atop and we played a long set while the bikers sold drugs and ladies turned tricks in my van, wasn't nuthin' I could do about it. We learned, that day, to never play a slow ballad at a gig like that, made them a little irate.

yeah...neveer did a biker rally...used to play a little biker club in Delaware OH...

the worst gig I ever head was in a Neo-Nazi/skinhead club in Pennsylvania. We did not know that it was a skin club when we accepted the gig...it was basically the basement of this warehouse, and the "stage" was a bunch of wooden pallets stacked on top of milk crates...lighting for the whole place was about 7 lightbulbs strung across the ceiling - obviously a DIY set up.

The PA was just the stage monitors turned towards the audience...but the sound was not the scariest part...they had a "code" to determine whether or not the bands were allowed to continue a set...if they liked you, they would not applaud at the end of a song...they would all stand at "Sieg Hiel"...like the pit would just stop, and they would do that...no clapping...just weird silence

if they didn't like you, a shower of pool balls, bricks, beer bottles, chairs....whatever was loose, would be hurled at the stage...

we got ominous silence after every song...the band before us did not, and the bass player took a pool ball right to the eye and had to go to the hospital...we never played there again for sure
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
The PA was just the stage monitors turned towards the audience...but the sound was not the scariest part...they had a "code" to determine whether or not the bands were allowed to continue a set...if they liked you, they would not applaud at the end of a song...they would all stand at "Sieg Hiel"...like the pit would just stop, and they would do that...no clapping...just weird silence
I played something similar. Memphis in May, a back alley hardcore punk bar. Somehow we, a death metal band, ended up on the bill. The pit was nothing but flailing fists and feet, it looked like an MMA battle royal. Anywho, when we played everything stopped. No pit. No cheering. No nothing. They all just stood there our entire set and started at us. When it was over we just packed up and left. It was such a weird vibe.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I played something similar. Memphis in May, a back alley hardcore punk bar. Somehow we, a death metal band, ended up on the bill. The pit was nothing but flailing fists and feet, it looked like an MMA battle royal. Anywho, when we played everything stopped. No pit. No cheering. No nothing. They all just stood there our entire set and started at us. When it was over we just packed up and left. It was such a weird vibe.

yeah...I HATED the whole thug/ninja/"crew"/spin-kick trend that got into hardcore and metal pits

we also always had skirmished with Boneheads at shows, but it was never like this place. The band that had asked up out to that show had played with us in the local punk dive on OSU's campus. They were cool guys...they said we would go over well, which we apparently did

and i love playing house shows and punk bars...worst stage situations...best crowds for sure, minus the Boneheads. Hell, there were many gigs where we got there, and there was no PA, and we were like F it...no vocals tonight...all instrmental....GO!!!
 
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