Taking That Next Step..cover Bands

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by MONSTER ZERO, May 19, 2015.

  1. MONSTER ZERO

    MONSTER ZERO Member

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    So I thought I'd make a post about a gig I did this past weekend at a large venue and how we were booked for future gigs immediately afterwards. Seems my band is getting a good reputation around these parts and looks like we are taking that next step. We played out of our minds on Sunday and it wasn't a conscious thing where we said let's do our best or anything like that we just went up there and killed it! Every single one of us was clicking on all 8 cylinders like we never have.

    Even our 2 members that are new to the band thing just automatically went into high gear mode. Of course it helped that the crowd was going nutso and the stage we were on was a real stage and not a glorified drum riser. Of course all of our gigs wont be at like places because there are very few around that size but what a rush it was.

    I'm wondering what people think we should ask for money wise? I know top acts around here bet north of 1200 and we normally get between 400-500. Just to bring it down a notch it's not like we were booked for the busy season (It's beach club) but I'm thinking asking for 800 isn't overly conservative or overly pricey. I know it depends on the region. Around here AFAIK most 4-5 pc cover bands bring in between 300-500.

    Other stuff.. Cues, banter, stage moves. I think this is something every band should work on whether it's a cafe' or a Pavilion. What do you do to cue songs other than the typical high hat or stick count?

    A click is out of the question for now but I'm thinking the ol' internal clock after a certain thing is said.

    Some of my band mates don't believe in some of this stuff so I'm trying to convince them. Simple stuff like coordinated movements.

    I just feel like we need to act and look like entertainers on stage and not just like we walked in off the street.
     
    GuitarGuy66 likes this.
  2. CGrisamore

    CGrisamore Member

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    Long time cover band guy here. Never wanted to do any of that "show band" choreography or matching outfits but every time we ever videoed a gig there was consensus that we needed some focus on presentation. Try shooting some footage to show at the next rehearsal and bet your non believers change their tune.
     
  3. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    Don't stress over count-ins, every band on earth uses them.

    An agent once gave me some great advice - "You want your act to be seen as an event, instead of "live music tonight."

    Here are some very simple things you can do to up the professionalism of your show:

    No one on stage for at least a half hour before show time - the stage should be set, all instruments tuned and in place, and the lights dimly on.

    Take, and leave the stage at the same time. Meet at a pre-designated spot, have them kill the house music and then all hit the stage. Don't mess around, right into the first tune. At the end of the set, put your instruments down, and get off. Grab a drink and then you can slide back up to retune, etc.

    Take a rehearsal and arrange your songs into groups of three, with seamless transitions between them. We did this in a Top 40 band I was in, and the impact was shocking - people went nuts at gigs, several club owners asked us if we'd learned a bunch of new tunes, we got better gigs, etc. All from one simple change.

    Also, using the same sets, and being comfortable with them will improve the flow.

    Look at the audience - simple eye contact can really help you put on a performance, instead of just playing songs.

    Having someone who can stage banter, etc. is critical, but it's also something hat can't be forced. I've been in bands where the lead singer would literally not say one word to the audience in an entire gig. I've also been in bands where the singer wasn't as good, but had charisma and the gift of gab. Guess which one was more successful?

    Get a few specialty lights that provide some action - they're cheap, you can set them up yourself and they can make a big difference, as opposed to some floods on each side of the band.
     
    MONSTER ZERO and Tone_Terrific like this.
  4. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    How much you get paid has nothing to do with how good you are and everything to do with how big your following is. I don't know what number is right for you or your area, but you'll only get a lot of money if you're guaranteed to pack the place.
     
  5. GuitarGuy66

    GuitarGuy66 Member

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    If you're getting $500, maybe go $750. That's an extra $50 per person with a 5 way split.
     
  6. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    Try asking what their budget is. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprise. Sometimes not. If they start coming up with trouble finding a date or other excuses, you know you are askng too much. It seems they will never say it's too much... just come up with other issues.
    Being professional is a good thing.... but you don't need to be like a Las Vegas act.
    Decent clothes, no noodling between songs, keeping in touch with the crowd are good things. Be on time, have backup equipment, Don't take long breaks.
    Everyone counts songs in, with cliks or voice. Don't worry about that.
     
  7. Paleolith54

    Paleolith54 Member

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    Agree. I think you should be real careful on pre-arranging moves, banter, and so forth. I watched a local band of excellent players who had obviously done that, and I swear from that point on all I could think of was those hillbilly bears at Chuckee Cheese.
     
  8. radicool

    radicool Member

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    I like loudboy's list - pretty much all of it. I've done every one of those things at different times in different bands, and those things work. And the beauty is, it's all very simple stuff - nothing new to learn, no money has to be spent. The number one difference-maker on his list, in my experience, is grouping your tunes into groups of 3. A band I was in in the '80s did this, and I still do it to this day whenever possible. I don't know why, but the audience seems to perceive the band as really polished when you segue one tune into another like that. And by all means, engage the audience! Make them feel like you are one of them, not some aloof bunch of musicians to be listened to and adored.
     
  9. Heinz57Pep

    Heinz57Pep Member

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    In terms of coordinated movements, I think it's less about choreography and more about the right person drawing attention to themselves. You don't want the bass player or anyone else mugging excessively at the front of the stage when the spotlight should be on the singer. Think Cliff and Malcolm in AC/DC stepping forward in tandem to do their backing vocals and then stepping back to keep the visual focus on Bon/Brian and Angus.
     
  10. MONSTER ZERO

    MONSTER ZERO Member

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    Some great info there thanks!
     
  11. MONSTER ZERO

    MONSTER ZERO Member

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    Thats a good point. We do have a small group of folks that go to every show and that would most likely bore the piss out of every one of them.
     
  12. mattball826

    mattball826 Member

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    Like everything else, don't overdo the show choreography unless you are a show band. Having good stage moves and stage presence however will make a great band look even better from a visual perception pov. If you stand there like trees then don't expect a whole lot of energy from the audience. Even just walking around and occasionally raising the guitar up or down is good enough. Just don't stare at the neck all night and stand in one spot. That is as boring as it gets.

    Record video of your shows so you can see what the audience sees, what songs they react to, what songs they do not. Part of what you will find are likely to be related to how well you present that song. If patrons wanted jukeboxes they would hire dj's. They like live music for the entertainment value. Once you lose that value, venue may just go full on dj.
     

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