Cover Band Flops

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by BigBadOrange, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. crambone

    crambone Supporting Member

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    We took a gig at a "smoky dive bar" when we were just starting-out with a project a few years ago. We had a steadfast rule of "no smoky dive bars" as 2 of our members hated smoking and had done tons of them in the past. We had a pretty wide-open setlist as our female singer was absolutely phenomenal. She could belt-out "Black Velvet" followed right by Melissa Ethridge's "I'm the Only One" and wow any crowd. Between those songs, a lot of R&B/Motown and some newer stuff we had something for everyone. Well, apparently everyone except for the patrons of "The Pour House" in Winter Haven, FL. As we were coming-off of our second break to start the third set someone started-up the jukebox. No lie, we were literally getting ready to play and they started doing canned music. The bartender pulled the plug on the jukebox and we thought that was the end of it. Nope, they plugged it back in after our third set. The bartender asked us if we wanted to skip the fourth set and get paid in full and we took the money and ran. We hadn't even started packing-up our stuff when people immediately started dancing and having a good time. Either we sucked hardcore (which is quite possible) or they hated our setlists. Definitely an uncomfortable time playing.

    After that gig we stuck to retirement communities and private events. More money, no smoking, usually free food & drink.
     
  2. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Funny that Bitch is showing up so many times in response here...
    We thought it was just us.

    we tried "Bitch" a few times. One band member really wanted to do it. The thing is, without the horns, and since the riff is so repetitive, there has to be more going on in the rythm section that gives it some dynamic. Also, not sure as in our band, where I am the guitarist and vocalist, standing behind the mic stand on that song...I feel likt it needs a vocalist that can move around the stage, snarl more, etc.

    It may just be we didn't get creative enough on arrangement, there are things one could try to make the riff seem fresh each time, but we didn't spend the time. Keyboards could try and take over the horn parts, bass and guitar could work out some differences, etc.

    It is one of those songs (to me) where someone says "lets do that song", and you think "hell yeah..LOVE that song!" and then you start playing it and as you play think "is this ALL there is to it?" all the whlie playing/singing and thinking "seems like there is more here...is this it?" "yup..."

    But still love the Stones version.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
  3. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

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    "No Roots" was pretty much a flop for us. Stayed in the set list longer than it should have.
     
  4. MikeMcK

    MikeMcK Supporting Member

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    Our singer insists on doing "Born to Run" almost every gig. And it sucks the energy out of the room almost every gig. We do it well, I think, and it's a great song. The problem is that when locals hear it start, they assume that the person singing is going to be someone other than our singer. They get excited for a second, then wander off to the bar or the bathroom, disappointed.

    A friend ran an open mic for awhile in Asbury Park, and the venue told him, "tell your open mic people, there's only one person allowed to sing Springsteen in here. And if he stops in for a beer, the last thing he wants is to hear someone doing his job, badly."
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
  5. vtgearhead

    vtgearhead Silver Supporting Member

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    I'd be happy just to play for a crowd that paid even a modicum of attention to the band, never mind liking or disliking the material. Heck, most of the time I'd be happy just to play for a crowd...
     
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  6. maxnew40

    maxnew40 Member

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    We do that one and it doesn't kill but it doesn't fail for us either. We do have the horns on a backing track though so maybe if you don't have the horns people don't get it.
     
    sonofspy likes this.
  7. maxnew40

    maxnew40 Member

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    X's and O's killed for us when we had a female singer.
     
  8. B Money

    B Money Member

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    So many flops over the years, the one that really sticks in my mind is:
    "Nearly Lost You" by the Screaming Trees. This was a total mismatch of song to venue. We were playing to an older VFW type room and suffice to say, none of them were modern rock fans. We were barely into the second chorus and the room was totally cleared. We never recovered. Horrible gig.
    A surprise flop was "Love in an Elevator" by Aerosmith. We all figured this would kill, it's a well known song that other bands don't usually cover. We dplayed it pretty good but it flopped so bad.

    More recently, "(In a) Big Country" and "Suffragette City" flopped. I didn't expect Big Country do to very well, but it TANKED.
     
  9. maxnew40

    maxnew40 Member

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    Black Coffee In Bed by Squeeze, Everyone in the band loved that tune but it cleared the dance floor. We played it at about 5 gigs before dropping it.
     
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  10. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Great thread idea by the way, OP!

    It is a lot of fun to hear folks experiences with this, match up against mine. One I never have felt was right was folks starting out with "young people don't want to hear/dance to..."

    We've had a mix. Some gigs are more older folks, some have younger, and some times it has been a very young crowd, and I see them often getting into it when we are doing older blues, rock stuff. Many also know many of the songs even though we do have a number of lesser known but really good songs.

    We also have had comments from venues, "it's nice that you guys play some different stuff, our normal crowd has been used to the same songs, and it was refreshing". I mean we do have well known songs peppered in there too, but its a mixture.
     
  11. Doctor of Rock and Roll

    Doctor of Rock and Roll Member

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    Years ago, playing Hendrix's 'In From The Storm' and then 'Pack it Up' Freddie King for first set in a kind of country/rock and roll bar. We really had a tight arrangement of the King tune too, but it just didn't work, the obscure Hendrix was a disastorous choice. I attempted to veto both onstage,we had some Elvis,Blues and Motown that would have went over but I was ignored and the place emptied out.
     
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  12. Dirty_Tones

    Dirty_Tones Member

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    That one, too?
     
  13. 83stratman

    83stratman Supporting Member

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    Flops? No wonder you guys have had flops! Approximately 99% of the songs mentioned in this thread I have never heard of!
     
    Guitar Stu, Oriondk and fretless like this.
  14. Bob Maximus

    Bob Maximus Silver Supporting Member

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    Authority Song _Mellencamp. Nice groove, did not work anytime we covered it.
     
  15. melondaoust

    melondaoust Member

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    The Cure's "Friday I'm in Love"
    Thin Lizzy "The Boys Are Back in Town" - which was a total shock to me.
     
  16. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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  17. DRS

    DRS Member

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    I'm 58
    Some of these songs were minor hits when I was a new teenager. Some when I was a very young man.
    Not surprising people use the time for a pee break.
    Also, who dances to Iron Maiden?
     
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  18. Amplifier Owner

    Amplifier Owner Member

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    We worked out 'My Sharona' - extended solo and everything. Sounded pretty good when we played it. We were rewarded with some timid golf clapping. And this is at a place that goes batshot crazy over sloopy, then I saw her face, brown eyed girl, etc. You just never know. Never played it again.
     
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  19. Matt L

    Matt L Supporting Member

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    My guitar solos are generally when people leave or go pee. “Oh, no singing...here’s my chance to bail....” Really makes you feel good.
     
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  20. FusionRock

    FusionRock Member

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    Why I'm at the point where I don't care if I play out anymore. EVERYBODY is on their cell phone. (You see this at concerts even during the headlining act.) And many places have about 20 TV screens going.

    I played one place where there were 20 TVs DIRECTLY behind us on stage.....all physically connected to each other and all on. My back was touching the screens on a few. Why do bars even bother having live music?

    It's also depressing to hear about Bitch as I've always wanted to play it live. Not now.
     
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