The Only Covers I Want To Play Are....

I have never felt that way myself but I have been in a few bands that wanted to perform obscure covers.

I understand the sentiment but experience has taught me that this is not what audiences want to hear. They don't want to hear deep cuts and obscure tracks. They want to hear the hits, plain and simple, and they want to dance.
 
Heard a discussion the other day that the mark of a bad cover band is they play "Brown Eyed Girl," a sentiment that Son of Vistalite Black only half agrees with.

Not long ago, we saw a rock trio that played only Power Pop classics: Starry Eyes, September Girls, No Matter What, Girlfriend (Matthew Sweet), I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend, Another Girl Another Planet ...

Was very refreshing. Very enjoyable. Son of Vistalite Black has also always harbored the weird idea that a group of young guys could have a lot of success by playing only songs by The Sweet without ever acknowledging it or dressing the part.
 
I have never felt that way myself but I have been in a few bands that wanted to perform obscure covers.

I understand the sentiment but experience has taught me that this is not what audiences want to hear. They don't want to hear deep cuts and obscure tracks. They want to hear the hits, plain and simple, and they want to dance.
Yup , drink beer , dance , and sing along …..

No one is impressed that you learned deep cuts .

Well , that one guy ; the door man’s buddy whom he let in for free ….He digs them
 
As I mature, I think my attitude towards things like this is apparently maturing with me. What's important at the end of the day is those musical connections between myself and the band, and then from the band to the audience. People like to hear what they know it's just a fact, and songs become popular for various reasons, but my being a grump about playing mustang sally or sweet home alabama, or stairway to heaven just isn't productive or helpful towards the goal, and the more I go head first, the more I actually stand to learn and be helpful.

I've met a few musicians who think they are "educating" the public when they play obscure covers within the context of a covers band or bar gig... It's not a good look lol. Read the room and play what will get it going.
 
I have never felt that way myself but I have been in a few bands that wanted to perform obscure covers.

I understand the sentiment but experience has taught me that this is not what audiences want to hear. They don't want to hear deep cuts and obscure tracks. They want to hear the hits, plain and simple, and they want to dance.

Same ! And I can attest to this wholeheartedly. Daughter got married this past Sunday and I can’t imagine the dance floor being as packed as it was if she’d picked deep/obscure cuts . Lots of hits and well known danceable tunes were played and occasionally throughout the night I thought …

Damn ! I wish I was up there playing lol 😂
 
Whatever gets a dance floor full and people enjoying themselves.
 
"You've got to change your Evil Ways"

always a crowd pleaser..
😁
 
....songs no-one else has heard of. Anyone else feel like this?
Popular bands but their lesser played songs
Can work

So the crowd gets their taste and then says "Oh yea that one"

Kinda like a ninja mind-trick 😁
 
I laugh long and loud when this topic comes up, over and over again, on the Facebook Cover Bands groups. People complaining about and crying about playing "those same old tired songs".

When there are a bunch of people that all want to hear Sweet Home Alabama, and they dance and sing along, what is wrong with that? No, we don't program that in our setlists either. But occasionally a group asks for it, and it makes sense to do it for that particular venue.

Last weekend solidified my stance on playing cover songs. We worked up Save Me by Jellyroll, had never played it before for anyone. We pulled it out about halfway thru the evening. The dance floor filled up and the whole room sang along, such that we could easily hear them above the PA, which was up pretty good for a dance hall. We kinda chuckled about that. The very next night, in a different venue over 5 hours away (so not the same crowd), the same thing happened.

We've had folks singing along to various songs quite often. But never quite like that. It was...amazing.

And I expect that most "serious" musicians wouldn't be caught dead playing that song.
 
I like to play songs most people know but other cover bands (rock/metal) don't play, and frankly, songs that I think are better or rock a little harder than the usual drivel.
For example instead of rolling out Crazy Train for the millionth time I'd rather deliver Flyin' High Again or No More Tears.

I'm pretty sure club owners don't like cover bands playing music the crowd hasn't ever heard. One owner commented to me he like our sets much more than our headliner's "space music" as he called it (prog band friends of ours).
 
I like to play songs most people know but other cover bands (rock/metal) don't play, and frankly, songs that I think are better or rock a little harder than the usual drivel.
For example instead of rolling out Crazy Train for the millionth time I'd rather deliver Flyin' High Again or No More Tears.

Those are 2 good alternatives, still popular songs ..
 
Play a good mix of familiar tunes and a few deep tracks. Keep the average listener entertained. That's the reality of the cover band world.

Give them nothing but obscurities, and you won't work much.
 
The fact that it's a cover band defines what should be played, IMO, and that means songs familiar to the intended audience.

If you want to play something else, I believe you may as well play originals and try to get people familiar with your own music.
 
OP here, thanks for the replies. Of course I know that obscure songs aren't going to get a crowd up dancing. It's just that most songs I really care about are very little known. I'd be thrilled just to play them at a jam or rehearsal but can't even do that because none of my bandmates know them or care either!
 
I think that if you want to play originals - you still need to guide the crowd in with your choice of covers - it's just courtesy really.
As long as they are covers you love - everyone wins.
It's a fatal trap to follow the taste of the crowd members that make the most noise: they are the socialisers, not the music fans. Follow them and you descend into a vortex of mediocrity and endless repetition that destroys even the good stuff they scream for: I can no longer stand to hear Superstition again - for instance.
Recognition is a powerful thing - but it's even better when you hear songs you love but haven't heard for ages. ❤
 
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Personally I don’t get the “deep cuts” mentality. Like was already said, you’re a cover band. So cover the dang songs that people want to hear. Remember that Jimmy Hendrix played with the Isley Brothers doing their hits when he was coming up. The Beatles even has to do a few songs that weren’t theirs in their early days.

I guess it’s good we have musicians out there that feel above playing the hits because it certainly leaves room open for me to fill those spots. I’ve noticed it in the tribute band world too - nobody cares about the deep cuts the hardcore fans would love. Just play the hits, remind everybody what a great time they had back then, then get off the stage 😎
 
I've learned as long as it makes them dance, people don't seem to care what the song is. If something obscured is played and they can't move to it they could lose interest.
 
In my experience, if you want to play in places where folks dance, you have to play recognizable and danceable music. It's that simple. Sure, you can occasionally sneak an obscure Fabulous Thunderbirds song in the fourth set (just for example... ahem ;) ) but generally, you gotta play stuff people know.

Last winter I got offered a job in a new band containing some folks who knew me. I was like... Cool... send me your set list! That email came with a disclaimer that they are only doing songs that the band members "Love." The setlist was a disaster area.... full of B-sides and album cuts. I politely declined and said I didn't think that music was for me.
 
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