Getting through a gig with no mistakes....

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by sertshark, Nov 3, 2019.

  1. Me Again

    Me Again Member

    Aug 28, 2012
    The Pacific NorthWet
    Great stuff here. I’ll just add this: if this stuff was so easy, anyone could do it. “Anyone” certainly cannot.
    Go forth and play on.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2019
  2. Flogger59

    Flogger59 Member

    Sep 15, 2010
    I hit a massive clam near the beginning of the solo for Crazy Little Thing on Friday. No one stopped dancing, no one looked.

    Oh well.
  3. Sean

    Sean Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    I gig alot. I make mistakes every single gig. I think of a mistake as ‘anything I didn’t intend to do’. BUT, if you record what you do (& every place that has an audience will do that for you if you want it or not), unintended things are often very cool.
    Pumping out 3-4 hrs of music several times a week makes you experiment for sure. Some experiments are a great success & some not so much.
    I also gig in a duo with a looper...starting to do that sure was a humbling experience. I’m happy to say I am pretty ok with a looper now, but the ‘trial by fire’ learning curve-period had some not-so-fresh moments on gigs.
    If you aren’t making some mistakes, you’re too comfortable & not learning.
    Thx-1138 and Me Again like this.
  4. gennation

    gennation Member

    Feb 25, 2006
    Grand Rapids, MI
    The only time I’ve had flawless gigs is being on the road. Playing the same setlist every night in a different city for weeks/months will make you a machine.

    There is a phenomenon that happens, similar to when you have listened to an album forever, when you “hear” the next song start after a song but before it starts. It’s like you recognize the album as a whole as opposed to just one song at time. The setlist can be like that, and you react to it like that too...your hands know where they are going. Muscle memory probably, like having a trust worthy auto-pilot.

    it’s hard to explain, but once you do it you’ll know exactly what I mean.
    Me Again and Johnny Ninefingers like this.
  5. DRS

    DRS Member

    Jul 24, 2011
    British Columbia
    I remember watching a documentary about a producer scoring music for a film. He used some big city Philharmonic orchestra and he said he was somewhat intimidated working with them as he didn't have that much formal musical education and these were people who have never played a wrong note in their entire careers.
  6. squeally dan

    squeally dan Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Our keyboardist always tells me if I don’t screw up, it means I’m playing it too safe.
  7. DrumBob

    DrumBob Gold Supporting Member

    May 25, 2008
    NW NJ
    Last Saturday night, we played to a very small, but loyal audience. The band was on fire all night and I was having a great night. Everything I played clicked, my time was perfect and the grooves were solid. I can recall one fill-in went a tad awry, but not so much that anyone but me noticed. Then, at the end of the last song, we botched it somehow, and I still don't know whose fault it was. I got the death ray from the leader, but I think it was the bass player, who has made mistakes on this song previously. And yes, the leader hit a couple of clams himself that night.

    The point is, I think it's nearly impossible to have a perfect night. There will always be clams, hopefully, not big ones or train wrecks. The goal is to strive for a perfect performance and keep clams to a minimum.
    RG7X likes this.
  8. Calebz

    Calebz Member

    Jan 2, 2019
    Souf Central France
    Started the show with a mistake last weekend.

    I'm supposed to start the first song. Looked at the setlist and my brain skates right past the first song to the second, which is started by the drummer.

    So I stood there like a dumbass with everyone looking at me for about 25 seconds before the lightbulb in my brain went on.
  9. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

    May 15, 2006
    Living In The Palace Of The King, Big D of DFW
    First a proverb: All jugglers drop pins; The good ones make it look like part of the act.

    And then an observation: If the wheels don't start to come off a little, consider pushing yourself harder until they do.
    Sam Sherry and TravisE like this.
  10. NamaEnsou

    NamaEnsou Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2015
    I think my ex may have done it, but not me. Lots of fun though and sometimes the mistakes are just the beginning of the fun. :)
  11. magdream

    magdream Member

    Feb 27, 2009
    Oceanside, NY
    Audiences listen with their eyes. If it seems like things are going well and YOU'RE (as a band) having a good time, they will too.
  12. TravisE

    TravisE Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2009
    I think the perspective on this is going to vary based on what type of music and approach you and/or your band take to your shows. I used to play in bands that wanted everything picture perfect like the record every time. That’s certainly one way to go about things.

    I haven’t played that type of gig in a long time. Everything now, I’ll know the chord progressions and go from there. No show is ever the same and sometimes they’re stinkers. But when they’re good, they’re REAL good. As a spectator, if I pay to see a band that played everything the exact same way the night before, that’s a bummer for me. Music, to me, should be beautiful and natural and spontaneous. It’s art! The magic of the whole thing is getting up there with other musicians and making something that makes someone else happy...or sad...or whatever you’re trying to convey with your “painting”
  13. SlapHand

    SlapHand Member

    Dec 9, 2018
    I was at a concert a few years back and the vocalist/guitarist messed up the intro to a song. This was early in the concert.. second or third somg.

    The band kept playing but he turned the back to the audience and waved the rest of the band off until the music stopped. Total trainwreck.
    He then turned back to the audience saying: «We gotta make this right» He did three or four attempts while the audience clapped and shouted things like «you can do it»... He finally nailed it and they played the song fluently.

    it turned out to be a total ice breaker and ended up as one of the best concerts I’ve been at.

    Not something I would advice people to do when s**t happends but an example on what you can get away with... if you have b***s for it!
  14. Thx-1138

    Thx-1138 Member

    Aug 30, 2019
    I don't believe it's the mistakes as much as how someone deals with them.

    I mean, arguably someone is making mistakes every time they've ever played to some degree.

    But we had an "understanding" in our band, if someone makes a mistake no one compounds it by making a face.

    Perhaps by doing that people feel they will gain some sympathy with the audience by a facial expression of their pain, it doesn't work that way.

    If we get out of sync which can quickly escalate into a song-stopper: everyone syncs to the drummer, even if they feel the drummer was the one off, we guitars can change our timing much faster, with less trouble and with it being much less noticeable.

    Thx :)
  15. tubedude

    tubedude Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    I'm more prone to mistakes the first set and the fourth set. I definitely would rather do three sets. The first is due to not warming up. The guys like to set up and play. I like to set up and relax and get my mind out of soundman into guitarist mode.
    The fourth set, especially if I'm playing three piece, fatigue sets in and the possibility of mistakes increases. How I played four and half sets 5 nights a week is hard to believe now that I'm nearly 62.
  16. jimijimmyjeffy

    jimijimmyjeffy Member

    Nov 16, 2015
    This doesn't fit how I think when playing, what to me is musical thinking. In improvisation I have very little idea how ANY notes are even going to come out, until they do. I get very general ideas and let my hands do something, whatever, and I meet my hands halfway, listening to them as much as pretending to control them. In this case there cannot be a mistake. It's all mistakes, lol. So none of this makes sense. If I think too exactly what to play, I purposely sabotage myself, in fact! Screw even my own cliches! Yes, I really am constantly throwing monkey wrenches in my playing. I am purposely making mistakes, by one definition. Whatever "boring thing" you are thinking of doing, don't do it! Anything that isn't a mistake is boring.

    That doesn't mean there isn't a solid musical idea behind it. (An example of a player who might well have thought like this somewhat is Hendrix). There are always ideas and general templates.

    But when learning a set piece, I'm not making mistakes per se either. Instead I have my head totally up my ass and don't even know the music, to where the concept of mistakes is even relevant. Then once I know it, I have it memorized and cannot contemplate mistakes, but instead the thoughts are about attacking the piece aggressively. You are worried about playing with lame expression perhaps. Like playing too mechanically, not maximizing your expression of the piece. But it's not about literal mistakes, but rather playing with substandard musicianship somehow that is the primary danger. Because until you learn the piece, you're not going to play it at all. You're going over and over a measure, etc.

    Trying to explain why mistake consciousness is not a thing, even though I could well play crappy. A simple mistake wouldn't disturb me anywhere near what poor musicality would. Nine times out of ten you can recover from a simple mistake by working around it in the most musical way you can manage. So again the real challenge is the musicality.

    If you are playing notes on a page mechanically, so as to play all the notes, you are stuck in a lame place, since the notes are just the beginning of playing it. I'm just learning the piece in that case, not yet performing some actual music based on the score and/or record. Executing the notes to me is on the way to being music at best. So that cannot be the goal.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2019
  17. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    under the stars
    I said it before upstream, but put a different way, a fail-free gig also sounds too sterile to me. I’d rather hope at the beginning for “good mistakes”.

    some of my best stuff happens while I’m planning to do one thing, but do another or different timing, but it then leads me out into something way better than I planned.
    Sometimes it is just sustaining the feeling you fell into.
  18. michael patrick

    michael patrick Supporting Member

    Jul 17, 2004
    Madison, WI
    Yep, happens to pros too. One of the times I saw Rush, Geddy Lee stepped up to his keyboard to play a part. When he took his hands off the bass he was wearing it banged against the keyboard and made this loud noise. He had to stop playing keys to turn the volume on his bass off, and it took him a few measures to recover and play the keyboard bit.

    Another time I was seeing Queen at the Chicago Stadium. They got to through the head-banging part of Bohemian Rhapsody. Brian May was doing the ascending runs at the end of that section. And.... he whiffed on the last power chord. He swung to hit it, but missed.

    There's always little clams in every show I've ever played, and I've been involved in at least a couple of complete trainwrecks. The sun still came up the next day.
  19. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

    May 15, 2006
    Living In The Palace Of The King, Big D of DFW
    Oh, we make a face alright - we laugh our asses off when someone steps in it. Usually crowd has no idea why we're laughing, only that we're having fun.
    Thx-1138 likes this.
  20. Trebor Renkluaf

    Trebor Renkluaf I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse? Silver Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2006
    I'm happy to make it through a song with no mistakes!

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