Cover Band Flops

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

  1. Ravindave_3600

    Ravindave_3600 Member

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    Bitch? Fun song to play but hard song to sell. You've got to bring the world weary sass and most guys just look like posers when they try it. A lot of Stones stuff is like that.
     
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  2. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

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    Lasted a little longer than that because the singer liked it. It had a few people tapping their feet but always emptied the dance floor.
    Show your singer this post.
     
  3. paranoid70

    paranoid70 Member

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    Well if you are in a tribute band I think you want to add some fan favorite/obscure songs to your set. It's not a cover band, you aren't looking to fill the dance floor, you are trying to be a recreation of a band that many people love. Throw a bone to the die hards that are actually there. If I was at your gig I would certainly appreciate Jacobs Ladder, Natural Science or The Camera Eye.

    Our band does War Pigs, NIB, Paranoid, Children of the Grave every time... but we love to throw in A National Acrobat, Supernaut, or Cornucopia. Something to keep it interesting for the real fans.
     
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  4. whackystrings

    whackystrings Member

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    Over the years, we've played just about every cliché bar band moldy oldie but as we discover tunes that consistently have a good reaction, we dial-out certain songs that consistently are under-performing. Speaking of clichés, that old thing of "give the women something to dance to and you will fill the dancefloor" is spot-on. In my days of DJ'ing parties and weddings in the late-80s/early-90s, I would play "pacer" songs...keep people up for 3 or 4 great dance tunes and then play an untried tune or one that is less of a hit so that they can refill their glasses, sit one or two songs out, then get back on the dancefloor. I kinda do that with our cover band setlists. Despite all theories of what would be successful and relying on past successes to inform future ones, sometimes a song is a dud. If the band isn't hitting it, though, it may not always be the song choice to blame...
     
  5. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Wow...good point. Seems like the organizers ought to have asked at least, but this is a good lesson for any bands out there. If you book a reunion, and don’t play anything from that time...might want to decline if you have nothing from that time period. Even though those songs were still very present, folks at those tings would want to hear their songs that were new to them then.
     
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  6. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Just my opinion but the first video...works. But it works because they at least have two guitarists playing AND they aren’t rushing it, and they have a vocalist that can move around. The second video the guitar is rushed, not hearing the bass and guitar together sound and it suffers every time the guitarist tries a riff, the drive of the main riff is gone suddenly. The third video also rushed, but that the vocalist is not stuck behind a mic playing guitar helps.

    The second and third are how we did it, but as guitarist (one guitar, one keyboard, drums and bass in our band) and vocalist I can’t step away from the mic stand...

    It’s an arranging problem. With keyboards we could get the chorus sounding ok, but the problem is that main driving riff has to be tight with bass, get a certain sound (not too OD sounding either) and you still need the little lead guitar sounds.

    I suspect a lot of us that found it wasn’t getting a great reception, or like us (we didn’t try it live because...) we just didn’t feel we could pull it off and have it sound right, it is like video two or three.

    Two guitar bands (specially with a keyboard as well) could have a chance.
     
  7. ifallalot

    ifallalot Supporting Member

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    I had the same experience in my band I was in during college. It was a cover band of 90s Alt-rock & Grunge, basically all the hits you still hear on the radio now. It was our first or second gig and we only had 10 or 12 songs we were really tight on. We got to the end of our list and the crowd at the party we were playing at wanted more. I was playing bass and I launched into Bro Hymm by Pennywise. One guitarist and the singer didn't know it somehow so myself, the drummer, and the other guitarist kept playing it for like 15 minutes not even doing the verses and just doing the OOOOOOO oOOO OOOOOOO part with the crowd. Sometimes it works
     
  8. n9ne

    n9ne Member

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    I did a few fill-in dates with a friend's band playing mostly 1990s-2000s hard rock standards. One night, we're playing the usual stuff and the crowd is into it pretty good....until my buddy calls out Makin' Love, a relatively obscure Kiss song we had jammed on for fun in rehearsal....and that dance floor cleared so quickly, you'd think we blasted the crowd with a fire hose. It went from pretty full to completely empty in maybe 20 seconds....people were practically running away. He and I still joke about it to this day.

    Back in the mid-1990s, the band Bush had just hit and was gaining popularity. My band covered their radio songs Everything Zen and Little Things as well as Machine Head, which had not yet gotten any radio play. The first two songs got reasonably good crowd reaction...but MH cleared the floor every time we played it, and we ended up dropping it after a dozen or so shows. (Albeit begrudgingly....we all liked the song and enjoyed playing it live.)

    Several months later, Bush released Machine Head as a single...and suddenly the same song we had dumped several months earlier was the hottest new thing and requested every night. We happily added it back into the set....but it just goes to show how much impact familiarity has in terms of a song going over.
     
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  9. sleshnyc

    sleshnyc Supporting Member

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    I've been doing the cover band thing a long time. i can honestly say our 'keep to trash' ratio for tunes is about 2 to 1. In my opinion playing in a successful cover band is all about the women. If the women know the tunes and can dance and party, then the whole thing works, because that brings the men. I've never really seen a cover band that specializes in guy rock succeed unless it's a high level tribute band (ie Rush etc). We mix in enough rock tunes for the guys to fist pump, but everything we keep is predicated on the ladies getting busy. And every song where we see a lag we drop. over the years we have been able to fine tune a set that pretty much works all the time.
     
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  10. Ravindave_3600

    Ravindave_3600 Member

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    True. I know a guy who LOVES 14 verse Dylan songs and obscure Neil Young folkies and could never understand why we wouldn't put them on the list.
     
  11. MikeMcK

    MikeMcK Supporting Member

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    Not to mention open G most of the time. In my experience one major component of catching the vibe of a Stones song is in the tuning... unless you can somehow cop the IVadd9 chord in standard.
     
  12. stratotastic

    stratotastic Member

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    This guy gets it.
     
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  13. General_Specific

    General_Specific Member

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    Where is the 50 songs thread?
     
  14. HughesP

    HughesP Member

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    This! I see a lot of cover bands that are really kind of vanity projects, often for mediocre musicians. There's this weird guy-thing that some guys think that playing a bunch of rock songs - and particularly a bunch of "deep cuts" makes them cool, and then wonder why people don't seem to be into them.

    Playing in a cover band, to me, is not about ME at all - and particularly playing stuff that gets the ladies interested is key to getting people dancing. I mean, realistically women with dance with either men or other women. If you play songs that the women like, you'll get everyone moving. If you play songs only the guys like, most aren't going to dance alone or with other men, so chances are you are going to end up with no one moving.

    Last cover band I lead leaned heavily not on the "typical cover band list" like the start of this thread, rather, we looked at what DJs were getting requested the most, and took our list from there. We were BUSY, and in 3 years of gigging every weekend, I don't know that we ever had a flop of a night.

    There's a really interesting list that gets updated regularly here, of what gets requested at dances/weddings, etc. If you are looking for songs to get people moving, this is a better place to start IMO:

    https://www.mobilebeat.com/top-200/
     
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  15. Ravindave_3600

    Ravindave_3600 Member

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    Good list. For some reason I've been at a lot of weddings and this nails it.
     
  16. I Am Misery

    I Am Misery Member

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    funny to see that link, my uncle (and another guy) started that magazine back in the early 90s.
     
  17. sertshark

    sertshark Member

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    I remember one time playing an outdoor gig near Mather, CA during the old days of Strawberry Music Festival. A couple local bands put together some music to play from a small amphitheater near the campgrounds there. Everyone gathered to hear the music, because they had placed flyers up that we'd be playing. We didn't know each other well, so we came up with an easy set list. Halfway through the first song, Purple Haze, even though we thought we were smashing it, it felt weird. As I looked down to the front row, all the kids from the camp came forward to the stage, as all the parents/adults stayed back. Every kid up there in front had their hands over their ears, with facial expressions you might attribute to severe pain... All the adults in the back - and the crowd had gotten very large by this time - were cringing, and some of them looked at us with pity written all over their faces. We realized we were WAY too loud, and the mix was really, really off. We all looked at each other wondering what to do, and then started laughing hysterically, until the drummer just stood up and ran off stage to the back.. then, the bassist ran off... then the singer.... and then I was the only one left on stage, until I followed suit. The single worst song I've ever played in my life. Thank God none of those people knew me.
     
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  18. data_null

    data_null Member

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    I'm not a Rush fan at all, and I'm only familiar with the few songs I hear on classic rock stations (basically the ones you mentioned). But my band does Closer to the Heart and people are always into it. I was certain that song would be a total flop live.
     
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  19. Dashface

    Dashface Member

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    I hate it when we decide to do a tune and nobody cares. It’s the worst. Our bassist wanted to do Miss You and we figured why not? Had a big crowd of people dancing and thought it would keep everyone grooving... Nope.

    Mind you, when it was my turn to choose I suggested out of left field that we do I Can’t Dance... And that one has been a huge hit with the crowd ever since ha ha. Go figure.
     
  20. PdL

    PdL Silver Supporting Member

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    Not much of a surprise to hear that 25+ years after those three bands’ heydays there’s few people interested in hearing local bar or small club bands cover their tunes. I don’t know about Toto but @ this time it’d seem the only audience for (the actual) Foreigner & Loverboy would be those who attend concerts that feature 3 or 4 once-very popular rock groups, and each band plays about an hour set that’s consists mostly or solely of their greatest hits.
     
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