Songs that don't work...when do you pull the plug?

2HBStrat

Senior Member
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41,244
How long do you try a particular song before deciding that it doesn't work and drop it?
 

stevel

Member
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15,055
I'd say you need to give it a fair chance: just because it doesn't work at one venue, with one demographic, doesn't mean it won't work at some other venue.

We used to do a set of guaranteed floor packers but there were also some songs we liked and wanted to play, but they wouldn't go over in certain venues (for some reason, the rednecks didn't like the rap songs). So we had some songs we'd swap out depending on the venue.

But I'd give a song at least 2 chances, no more than 3 though unless you really don't have anything to replace it with.

I should add though, sometimes a weaker song can benefit from placing it in the set well. For example, many times, in a dance band, people aren't ready to get up and dance right away, especially if you're doing a gig where there's a "dinner crowd". For a dance band, you can do your "listening" type songs early in the night to get you and the audience warmed up. Likewise, if you've got something that's not so strong, put it close to the very end when everyone's wasted and they won't care.

Steve
 

Orm-D

Member
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678
We have a Three Strikes rule,and we stick to it. I HATED losing one of my favorite tunes recently,but it had to go as it never put people on the floor
 
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1,871
Define "doesn't work"...
You don't like it, the rest of the band doesn't like it, or the crowd up front takes a bathroom break?

In my cover band days, (or was it "covered wagon" days?), we had a pretty broad set list so if something wasn't moving the crowd, we could sub something for the next night pretty easily.
In the bigger picture though, if we just couldn't get behind something but the crowd liked it, we played it and were glad they enjoyed it. OTOH, if the crowd didn't care for it but we liked it, we'd try a different arrangement; sometimes just a little change, sometimes completely rearranging it, either way though, a well thought out rearrangement, not just a different key. Then we'd try that out a couple of times. Sometimes it was a great cure, sometimes it just kept 'em moving, and sometimes it died anyway. Three or four times of that behavior and it got replaced.
 

B Money

Member
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5,954
If a song flops twice we drop it. Sometimes it hurts because it's a song you actually really like, but there is no room in our setlist for momentum killers.
 

StompBoxBlues

Member
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19,974
We have probably been hanging on too long to songs that don't work. But of course, it depends on WHY they don't work, if the some member of the band comes in week after week and doesn't know their part, or even seem to have heard the song....not much of a fair chance for that song. That pisses me off, seriously, and I know the chorus will be "so fire them" but it just isn't a solution in this band.

So there is that. But given that all members either learned their part or came up with something good to do, or we arrange it or play as is, it seems like we drop some quicker than others. Some songs we very much want to play them so we give it more chances.

Also, not always to all agree whether it "works" or not. W do also go by audiences reactions, but those can also vary from time to time.
 

Fatboy666

Silver Supporting Member
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2,709
two gigs usually

but sometimes they might rear their ugly head if the situation/crowd is right
 

27sauce

Member
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36,955
We don't write our sets, the club manager does, and the trend I've seen is he'll give us a week(4 gigs) before we never see it again. That said, if he really likes a song he'll have it in the set every night, even if it bombs. A couple of those come to mind...
 

2HBStrat

Senior Member
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41,244
If we can't actually play a particular song, in other words if it's too high for the singer to sing, or a too difficult guitar part, or something like that, or if a song just doesn't sound right, it won't make the song list in the first place, so.....to me a song that "doesn't work" is one that the crowd doesn't really respond to, either by dancing to it, or by their applause. We have maybe ten songs on our list that fit that description, and they are all songs that the band really likes.
 

Guitar Josh

Resident Curmudgeon
Gold Supporting Member
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19,261
There's a song I loved to play but the crowd never seemed into. After two shows with it basically becoming a bathroom song, it was moved out of the lineup.
 

BadAssBill

Gold Supporting Member
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7,500
We learned Christmas is the time to say I love you for an xmas gig, and we killed it. Got to the gig...you would have thought someone farted on the dance floor, bad.
 

shredtrash

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
10,032
The "3 Strikes" rule works for me as well. Doesn't matter how much I like it, if it doesn't work, I'm fine with getting rid of it.
 

27sauce

Member
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36,955
Please explain?
House band...club manager picks the songs, writes the sets. It's been going on for about a year now. Before our singer and bandleader would chose songs and write sets, like a regular band would.

It's been interesting, to say the least. As long as the checks don't bounce I don't care if the beer tub girls write the sets. The singers don't like it much, though.
 

Simon

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,161
If it doesn't feel right, dump it right away, if it feels good but you get limited response a few times should answer your question, but don't judge it if you only play it first set.
Try it when the joints hoping a bit more, if still not much response, bail.
 

Simon

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,161
House band...club manager picks the songs, writes the sets. It's been going on for about a year now. Before our singer and bandleader would chose songs and write sets, like a regular band would.

It's been interesting, to say the least. As long as the checks don't bounce I don't care if the beer tub girls write the sets. The singers don't like it much, though.
Is He good at writing the list? What type of music?
 

Fu Schnickens

Senior Member
Messages
3,148
We tried out a couple of Nirvana songs for a while (NOT Teen Spirit!) and each time we played them the floor cleared in seconds. The minute the song was over the chicks came back wiggling. Now, this was a good band playing rock covers, and we nailed the tunes, but nobody wanted to hear Nirvana. We figured Nirvana was just too depressing for a bar crowd, but who knows? Dropped after three gigs.
 

27sauce

Member
Messages
36,955
Is He good at writing the list? What type of music?
He's good at writing the list, although it stays pretty similar throughout the week. In the old days, our set was different every night. It works.
His song choices are odd, to me, sometimes. I haven't quite figured him out yet. It's a country bar.
 






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