Your thoughts on taking breaks during gigs.

no talent

Senior Member
Friday night my band was playing a venue we play often and there was a little drama about our breaks. The original agreement with the bar manager, was two 20 min, breaks for the gig 8 to 11 pm. personally, I have never liked taking breaks, I get stiff, cold, lose the vibe etc. so during our second break at 10:05pm, the owner had some words with my band members. he was pissed we stopped while the place was going crazy for us. I was not in the area so I didn't see it but he said something like go back on or never come back. I think it all cooled down, we went on after 10 min and actually played till about 11:20. the thing is, I was on his side!! I hate to leave a stage while people are having a blast and wanting more. what type of break lengths do you guys take and is there a pre-arranged time before the gig?
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
I like to have a good 30 minutes break, at least, so I can sign all those autographs and pose with the chicks while their friends take a picture and I'll give advices to all the drummers in the audience who rushes to me with questions about my playing, so being modest and humble, I try my best during those breaks to make everyone happy :)
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
I play a lot of 50's Rock n' Roll gigs for older audiences who dance specific, exhausting routines. They demand 30 minutes on, 15 off over four hours. They need 15 minutes to catch their breath and buy drinks at the bar. If we go too long they complain!

Most other gigs I play are 45 on, 20 off, adding up to four sets over four hours. As long as we tell the crowd its the last song of the bracket, they're fine. The bottom line is that the bar wants to sell drinks, regularly.

But at weddings, once we finally get going, we play for two hours nonstop, especially if the crowd's getting into it.
 

no talent

Senior Member
I like to have a good 30 minutes break, at least, so I can sign all those autographs and pose with the chicks while their friends take a picture and I'll give advices to all the drummers in the audience who rushes to me with questions about my playing, so being modest and humble, I try my best during those breaks to make everyone happy :)
shouldn't you and Andy be attending a football match and starting trouble with the rest of the hooligans by throwing dead clams instead of commenting on this thread????
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
If the dance floor is packed at break time....we don't break. We are there to make money for the bar. Bands have to keep that in mind.

On one hand, I think breaks are a good thing. On the other hand, the owner could have requested it in a nicer way. It's just good business.

One thing, if the people are dancing, they aren't buying drinks. Breaks give customers a time to refill. If that was pointed out, that may have diffused the situation. It would show that the band is aware of the profit factor.

But I agree, when the crowd is hungry for the band, not a good time to break, unless it's been like over 2 hours or something, and the band needs a break.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Back when I was doing this we played 50 minutes took 10, by the clock. Not meandering about after 10 getting back to the stage or band area, 10 minutes and ready to go. If the dancers, and I played mainly dances, was going crazy we may delay the break. We also would play a slow song before any break so as to let the audience wind down and not leave after a really rocking number when they were wound up and ready to go. Band members need bathroom breaks. You can't fool Mother Nature.
 

Thunder 42

Silver Member
I like to have a good 30 minutes break, at least, so I can sign all those autographs and pose with the chicks while their friends take a picture and I'll give advices to all the drummers in the audience who rushes to me with questions about my playing, so being modest and humble, I try my best during those breaks to make everyone happy :)
Hahahahahah!! LMAO!
 

2bsticks

Platinum Member
Depends on the gig? The norm for us is 40min on 20 off, but we're flexible. Sometimes our first set might run over 40. All depends on the crowd.
 
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alparrott

Platinum Member
If you construct your set list well, you can get the crowd as tired as you are and you all take a break together. That's a chance for everyone to make money -- the bar sells drinks, you sell merch, all is well. But yes, if we're approaching break and things just don't feel ready for a break, I'm all for moving on through. Just so long as it doesn't create a situation later where you need a 20 minute break to prepare for a 15 minute last set...
 

GeoB

Gold Member
You have to read the audience. Never pump everybody up then when they are pumped, do a slow boring ballad and take a break. Leave them pumped, take a break and they'll stick around. I think John Lennon taught me that from an interview or book I was reading many moons ago.

and I have stated this fact a couple of times in my musings

"the band is really there to help get the hook up juices flowing and aid in the selling of sufficient amounts of lubricant to make the evening fruitful for the owners and the couplings"
 
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8Mile

Platinum Member
Most bands I play out with adjust break schedules according to the crowd. If they're dancing and don't want us to stop, we don't.
 

Blisco

Senior Member
Our last gig was for 500+ people. That many people don't take breaks. We didn't either. 4 hours straight. My bladder was bursting but there was no way to stop.

On more normal gigs, we'll take 10 minutes two times. Never more than 15. Sometimes only a single 20 and two long sets.

The gig before the big one saw a bachelorette party of about 40 come in minutes from our start time. Of course we played for 110 minutes straight to keep them there. At that first and only break, they took off. Figures. Forty girls on the dance floor and we stopped to pee and refresh.....
 

Mouse

Member
You have to read the audience. Never pump everybody up then when they are pumped, do a slow boring ballad and take a break. Leave them pumped, take a break and they'll stick around. I think John Lennon taught me that from an interview or book I was reading many moons ago.

and I have stated this fact a couple of times in my musings

"the band is really there to help get the hook up juices flowing and aid in the selling of sufficient amounts of lubricant to make the evening fruitful for the owners and the couplings"
Agree, every audience is different. Sometimes it is good to have a break to rest their and your ears, but always remember who is paying for the night.

My preference is to play longish brackets, often i'm just getting warmed up after an hour and stopping you cool down and have to warm again.

Often a night starts slow and when everyone has had a few you become heroes and they won't let you stop. ( Where doing some fast ones in a row to burn them out sometimes works when you want to go home).

A trick, to announce the last song about 8 songs ahead of where you are really going to finish (and with a slow mellow out song- depending on gig) and they often think the band is value for money as they played on.

Yeah, you have to go with the flow, a hard set list is not easy you need to be adaptable and versatile, sometimes repeat choruses to extend a song can be called for, a good front person is invaluable.
 
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Fresh

Senior Member
Just honor the arrangement you have with the manager in my opinion. Otherwise, take breaks when you need them, no more, no less. To me, two 20 minute breaks does seem excessive for a 3 hour gig.

I don't know the full details of your situation so this comment might be totally off base, but that manager, sounds like a grade-A douche to me. Threats are never the right way to go about business.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
A normal gig for me would be 45-50 minutes on, and around 15 off. I agree, if the bar is to make a profit, then there needs to be a time when the crowd can go get refilled/pay their tabs, that kind of thing. If you never stop, it's like being in one of those rave clubs where it's so constant you have to leave. You have to provide a Yin to the Yang. I look at my regular job where you work for so long, take a break, work a little longer, go take a lunch, work some more, take a break, and then finish out the 8-hour day. For bands you're in this 4-hour window, so I think it should ebb and flow too. Besides, the band has to meet these people too - it's one way of networking others for more work. Take the breaks.
 
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