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Help - Recommendations for Some Dance Rock!

Sal

Member
Messages
353
I'm in a basic 5 piece local bar band, 2 guitars, drums, bass, vox. We lean heavily on classic rock, lots of Zep, Eagles, Allmans and we get a good crowd reaction - people cheer and sway and move, but they don't dance per se. When we do "Play that Funky Music" the crowd goes crazy (especially the ladies) and people are dancing. We're having a problem following up that song with something people want to move to. Any suggestions for some dance rock tunes that get people on the dance floor that a 2 guitar band can cover? Please keep in mind some limitations - our singer sounds like Chris Robinson, so not a high tenor voice. The band does not want to play disco or even try to fake it (much to my frustration), and when I say dance music I don't mean tunes like Allmans-esque boogie rock a la "One Way Out". I'm talking about ones that will get the ladies bumping and grinding and will get the guys interested. The only other tune off the top of my head that gets the same reaction is "You Shook Me All Night Long" but that closes the set. Thanks!
 

stevel

Member
Messages
14,741
I'm in a basic 5 piece local bar band, 2 guitars, drums, bass, vox. We lean heavily on classic rock, lots of Zep, Eagles, Allmans and we get a good crowd reaction - people cheer and sway and move, but they don't dance per se.
Been there.
When we do "Play that Funky Music" the crowd goes crazy (especially the ladies) and people are dancing.
Done that.

And what have we learned :)


The band does not want to play disco or even try to fake it (much to my frustration),
They need some more convincing. The two best convincers I have found is that bands that play up-tempo dance music (and pack the dance floor) get lots more money that bands that play Bad Company songs (in general, your market may vary). The other one is breasts. Exposed breasts tend to make bands want to play songs that produce even more breast exposure.
I'm talking about ones that will get the ladies bumping and grinding and will get the guys interested.
Right.

Sorry to tell you, but generally, Disco.

The only other tune off the top of my head that gets the same reaction is "You Shook Me All Night Long" but that closes the set. Thanks!
Yes that one works too.

Here are our all-time dance floor packers:

Funky Music has to be number 1.
Brown-Eyed Girl. Yes, I know, everyone plays it. There's a reason they do (big brown eyes if you know what I mean).

Mustang Sally. Even worse, I know. If you play a good uptempo version of it though, it will pack the floor.

(both are easy on the voice by the way)

Here's a nice trick - Ballads - a good ballad will pack the floor, and you have to remember that guys will actually slow dance. Any other up tempo song is designed to get girls to dance.

Two best Ballads:

Wonderful Tonight (Clapton - your guys should go for this - also singable)
Let's Get it On (Marvin Gaye)

If you play a ballad, and get the floor packed, and then you go right into an up tempo dance number, more people will stay on the floor

it's like "build it and they will come"

Once you get them out on the floor - they tend to stay.

Out other best songs were discos tunes. Sorry, they were.

Celebration - kool and the gang.

We used to do Get Down Tonight, Shake Your Bootie, and there's another popular KC song I'm forgetting, but any of those were guaranteed floor packers when well-placed in the set.

The other ones we "rap" type songs (that's we used to call them a long time ago).

Guaranteed Killer (well, maybe not in a Country, or Biker bar, but then again...) - Bust-A-Move - Young MC.

Also Tone Loc - Funky Cold Medina, and Wild Thing.

All of those are easily singable by non-Steve Perry types. Kool and the gang is probably the hardest there. In fact, for Bust a move, and the Tone Loc stuff, we used to have our "non-lead singers" of the group - the drummer or the bass player sing them. Added to the fun.

By the way, those songs are FUN to play. I think if your guys give them a chance, they'll enjoy playing them more than they would listening to them (and then there's nipular exposure and other fringe benefits to consider).

The other big thing that worked for us was 80s tunes:

Should I stay or should I go - Clash
What I like about you - Romantics (a little played now though)
Blister in the Sun - Violent Femmes
(all easily singable)

We also did some "euro" 80s music that did well (I always hated this genre):

Let's Dance - David Bowie (SRV guitar parts - that ought to entice your guys)
West End Girls - Pet Shop Boys. Man, I hated this song, but had to end up buying our lead singer a shot when he proved to me that it would pack the floor - we played it, and it did.

I haven't tried songs like "You Spin Me Right Round", "Tainted Love", "Blinded Me with Science", "Der Komissar" "Goody Two Shoes" but I bet they would do well with the right crowd.

Don't forget oldies either - a lot of these appeal to older audiences and younger folks alike, are easy to sing, and easy to play!

The Twist - people always dance to this - even guys who want to be silly (high singing though)
We always had good luck with a rocked up guitar version of "Great Balls of Fire".

Johhny B. Goode is a must do as well - often it will work when nothing else does.

You can also look into motown, funk, etc.:

Good Love by the Rascals was a good one (singable)
Low Rider - War
Shout - Isley Bros. (I think - tougher vox)


Beatles - Saw her Standing There and Twist and Shout (harder to sing though)

Our best Stones songs have been Jumpin Jack Flash (best beat, and singable) and Satisfaction.

The key is to get people on the floor, and then mix up the set so you get people coming and going all night long.

I've found that when people are moving around like this, it makes the bar staff seem to think that there's more "activity" and that there's more people in the bar than there really is. It looks like you're "packing" the place when you may be doing no better than any other band.

But people will also talk you up, and come back - which you can use to barter for higher pay.

At the end of the day though - bar receipts matter - and people who are up and down dancing tend to be able to handle more alcohol - the adrenalin helps them out - they get hot, they drink more, they buy drinks, go dance, forget where they set their drink, so they order another one, etc. etc.

There are also good classic rock tunes too:
Keep Your Hands to Yourself
Even "La Grange" or - gasp - the 80s ZZTop.

Another good resource is covers - we did I'm A Believer by the Monkees and when Smahsmouth's version came out, we suddenly had twice as many people liking the song.

Sweet Home Alabama with Kid Rock has breathed some new life into that.

Mony Mony by Billy Idol (Tommy James) did a similar thing back in the 80s.

I'll give you my take on this - every time I get into a band, not only do they want to play what I call "mopey" songs, but want to play the most obscure song by that band.

I'm sorry, that's stupid. I'm in a band now and they want to play "beer drinkers and hell raisers" by ZZTop. I have NEVER heard that song in my life. And I've listened to a LOT of music, including a substantial amount of classic rock.

I can see where that song might appeal to a certain set (namely beer drinkers and hell raisers), but good-lookin chicks with all their teeth intact are not going to get up and dance to it!

If you're going to play ANY ZZTop song, it had better be La Grange, or Sharp-Dressed Man. At the very least, the right type of band can get by with Tube Snake Boogie, or Pearl Necklace, or maybe Legs, but "Heard it on the X" is probably not going to be a floor-packer.

Hope you're able to turn your guys to the dark side. Let me know if you convince them to play YMCA. Despite everything, it kills.

Steve
 

Solomon

Member
Messages
2,937
I bet a rocked up version of 99 Red Balloons would go over. Just take a bunch of fun dance tunes, even if originally sung with a female lead, and play them in your style.

You Dropped the Bomb on Me

Let It Whip

Guaranteed to get them up.
 

Bankston

Member
Messages
16,142
These are total cliches but everyone plays them because they are guaranteed to pack the dance floor:

Sweet Home Alabama
Blister in the Sun
Brown Eyed Girl
Tush
Jessie's Girl
I Love Rock n' Roll
Keep Your Hands to Yourself
Pride n' Joy
Brickhouse
Santeria
Every Rose Has Its Thorn (for a slow dance)
Dancing With Myself
Another One Bites the Dust
Kiss
What I Like About You
Sweet Child Of Mine
Just Like Heaven
Man in the Box (believe it or not, people will dance to this if your singer can sing it well)

Other ones that are hit and miss but sometimes go over:

Hungry Like the Wolf
Hump de Bump (RHCP)
Give It Away (RHCP)
Mary Jane's Last Dance
Basket Case
Rain (The Cult)
She Sells Sanctuary (The Cult)
Hard to Handle
And if you want to incite a riot:

Killing in the Name
Sober
 

GCDEF

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,035
Much as I hate to say it, the one that packs the floor for us more than any other right now is "Crazy Bitch".
 

Roark

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,055
Keep Your Hands to Yourself
Mony Mony
Standin' on Shakey Ground
Chain of Fools

have worked for us in the past, no doubt Brickhouse would too.
 

Phil M

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,642
These are total cliches but everyone plays them because they are guaranteed to pack the dance floor:

Sweet Home Alabama
Blister in the Sun
Brown Eyed Girl
Tush
Jessie's Girl
I Love Rock n' Roll
Keep Your Hands to Yourself
Pride n' Joy
Brickhouse
Santeria
Every Rose Has Its Thorn (for a slow dance)
Dancing With Myself
Another One Bites the Dust
Kiss
What I Like About You
Sweet Child Of Mine
Just Like Heaven
Man in the Box (believe it or not, people will dance to this if your singer can sing it well)

Other ones that are hit and miss but sometimes go over:

Hungry Like the Wolf
Hump de Bump (RHCP)
Give It Away (RHCP)
Mary Jane's Last Dance
Basket Case
Rain (The Cult)
She Sells Sanctuary (The Cult)
Hard to Handle
And if you want to incite a riot:

Killing in the Name
Sober
I like your list but I find it REALLY hard to believe anyone dances to Sober. WTF? I assume you mean the Tool song.
 

Phil M

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,642
Someone mentioned Crazy B*tch. Is there any additional stuff that you guys are finding that works? I play in an alt rock band and the set list is a little heavy on the testosterone stuff. We need some more upbeat danceable material. Just Like Heaven and She Sells Sanctuary are on the "up next" list. What else.

Hi, Jack! (...sorry for the hijack...)
 

dumbell78

Member
Messages
4,957
Some of the Chic stuff like "Good Times" should go over well. If any of the band mates dont care for it remind them how badass Nile Rodgers is!!
 

stratman89

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,023
Anything by AC/DC!
Our last gig, the crowd would not stop yelling "more AC/DC " the rest of the night after we played 'Whole Lotta Rosie'
 

Bankston

Member
Messages
16,142
I like your list but I find it REALLY hard to believe anyone dances to Sober. WTF? I assume you mean the Tool song.
Women love that song and they dance to it in a sort hypnotic trance kinda way.

Weird, I know, but it happens.
 

tone4days

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,680
investigate the catalogue of INXS ... whenever we bust out some of their tunes, the floor gets packed and we hear "wow, no bands play that stuff - those tunes ROCK!"
 

tone4days

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,680
at various times, we've done : devil inside, the one thing, mystify, what you need, and need you tonight
 




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