the venue/volume conversation continued...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by smolder, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    I know there aren't enough places to play these days as bar owners try to make their places restaurants... and anything to make a buck. And I know that bands... and especially guitar players are often forced to play at volumes that facilitate conversation... but isn't this really the bar owners problem?

    Part of it is our choice right... I have zero interest in being a juke box. I don't mind the occasional request, but I'm not interested in sounding just like the record.

    The model I like is being used in Chicago. If you've been to Shubba's or to the Hideout... they have a live music room in the back, and a full bar with tables out front. Double doors to separate the two. They have a way to charge cover for larger acts, and to control the noise in the outer portion. If a bar owners thinks that live music will help the business, shouldn't they buck up and set the room up rather than compromise the entire experience?
     
  2. Frank Speak

    Frank Speak Member

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    Actually, I don't think most bar bands grasp the concept that they are not performing at a concert. They aren't the center of attention. Most patrons (band friends and family excluded) didn't come there specifically to see a concert. They come to have a few drinks, socialize and perhaps dance a bit. It's the bands responsibility to ensure they enhance that atmosphere, not degrade it. Unfortunately, many are more busy trying to live the Rock Star fantasy than focusing on their true role.

    p.s. If you mean the bar owner should ensure they have a place conducive to allowing the band to do their part, then I'm in agreement.
     
  3. Dark Helmet

    Dark Helmet Member

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    +1

    appropriate facilities are a must.
     
  4. Telecaster62

    Telecaster62 Member

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    What Frank Speak said. +1
     
  5. freaksho

    freaksho Member

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    love Schubas! great sound too. what pleasure to play or hear music there.

    and as long as we're talking great bars that separate the lounge from the performance space, let's shout out to Hideout, Beat Kitchen, Lincoln Hall, Bottom Lounge, and Double Door ( and others i'm forgetting right now). what a great town for music, eh?


    ok back on topic. i agree with the above: there are restaurant/bar bands and there are original bands - they are different. one is background (secondary) and one is entertainment/art (primary). you should know which one you are and adjust your approach accordingly.


    back off topic: i also love going to see jazz at Green Mill. it's one room, bar and stage, but the difference is if you're talking too loud during the performance everyone will quickly shut your ass up (staff & patrons alike). definitely all about the music there. awesome.

    and now a joke:

    Q: What did one yuppie (frat girl, etc.) say to the other?
    A: Let's go out and ignore a band tonight.
     
  6. bluesmann8

    bluesmann8 Senior Member

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    When playing in a cover band , I've always seen my job as a guitarist to play the music as close to the orignal as possible. Loud is kool if its clean, not talking guitar amps here. FOH. Every room is different and there's a sweet spot for each when it comes to volume. hopefully the accoustic are good or there alot of people to soak it up. many think way to big when it comes to sound systems. you don't need 30,000 watts to play for 100 people nor do you need a 100 watt marshall. We all learn this or someone else gets the bookings. A balanced mix or a blurred mess where no one hears the vocals. A studio quality mix is possible but you all have to work together and learn to complment one another with your instruments. But then, there's nothing worse than a big ego with a hard head, trying to play an instrument to drawl attention to himself.:hiP justs some thoughts that got stired up,here comes the band:mob
     
  7. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    We choose our gigs based on the music we like to perform and the way we like to perform it.

    Our next gig will be in a large room that holds about 200 people, has a high ceiling, and a bar at the far end of the room.

    Solves that problem! ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012
  8. losergeek

    losergeek Member

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    There's a bunch of clubs with this setup in Toronto (Horseshoe and Clintons come to mind, among others) and I love it whenever I visit - it's really nice to be able to get away from the music for a bit....really wish someone would build a room like that here in Ottawa
     
  9. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

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    If you're playing a gig and they aren't selling tickets with your name printed on them, your job is generally to make a sound of a type and quantity that pleases the staff and audience.

    If that pleases you also, bonus, but it's not really part of the equation. You're a service provider, and your customer is actually the owner/staff.

    Choose your music, equipment and presentation accordingly.
     
  10. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    Actually a bar band's job is to bring people into the place and encourage them to spend money. It really doesn't matter that much how you do it. Some bar bands are background music, others are more concert style. The key is matching the venue to the band. We're more of the concert style and there are plenty of clubs that cater to bands like that.

    Bars that serve a lot of food or restaurants typically have customers, at least earlier in the night, that are there to eat and talk, and don't want to hear a loud band.

    If you're a quieter, mellower kind of band, play the restaurants. If you're a louder, more raucous rock band, play the clubs that want that kind of performance. It's when you have the wrong style band in the place that nobody is happy.
     
  11. rmconner80

    rmconner80 Cantankerous Luddite Silver Supporting Member

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    If your band has a drummer, the guitar on stage has a certain minimal volume which is required for self monitoring.

    Between the guitar and the drums, at this point, you are too loud for conversational levels (unless you are in a room the size of a gym) if you are playing any rock music.

    If that is a problem, then the patrons and bar owner have chosen the wrong approach to entertainment.

    Sure, there are electronic drum kits and PODs, and they may be appropriate for some shows, and may not be appropriate for others.
     
  12. markszabo

    markszabo Member

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    While this is true for 75% of drummers, there are a few individuals who are capable of playing the drumkit quietly *and* sounding great. I've played with a couple and was able to keep my amp(s) at just over TV volume.
     
  13. hanales

    hanales Member

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    :agree
     
  14. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    I'm, at best, a weekend warrior. I deal with enough compromises at my day job. As a result, I have zero interest (as stated) in trying to sound like the record. I'm only marginally interested in the bar owner's specific objectives. If I'm resigned to garage or basement jams in order to play good interesting music, so be it. Not sure I like non-musicians that much anyway ; )

    Edit: That said, I met a nice guy here that lives in my neighborhood. He is a full time musician. He told me that if he has to wear a tux at weddings and play requests for van morrison, he's happy to do so. The net result being he plays guitar for a living. And I totally respect that.





    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  15. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    That doesn't sound like much fun at all.
     
  16. Average Joe

    Average Joe Member

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    I'm there to etertain the patrons. If the owner want me to do so at whisper levels I'll do so. I think the music suffer, generally speaking, and I question the choice to have a live band if it isn't allowed to fill the room properly, but if that is what I'm asked to do I'll comply
     
  17. LowWatt

    LowWatt Member

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    I agree and love those split venues. To add to the Toronto list, The Piston also has the same design. Really fun room to play.

    I think the "only if your name is on the ticket" comment is overstating it though. I've never had my name printed on a ticket, but I've been on enough posters on the front door that I know the crowd is there for my band.

    It's all about intent. If people are there to hang out/drink and music is the by-product, then sure, keep it as non-invasive as possible. But if people are there for music and hanging out/drinking is the by-product, still be understanding of your sound person and the needs of the venue, but make sure you put the musical experience of the crowd first and foremost. Simple I think.
     
  18. rmconner80

    rmconner80 Cantankerous Luddite Silver Supporting Member

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    I understand what you are saying. I won't play with a drummer who isn't dynamic and volume conscious.

    That said, if you can keep up with a drummer with your amp volume at TV levels, well that's not rock music. That's ok, but I did originally frame the argument in the context of rock music.

    Even with a very very light touch and brushes, I don't think I could get away with TV volume and still be heard. Drums just have a minimum floor of SPL and you have to match it with your guitar, bass, etc. in order to perform as an ensemble.

    And if I'm playing at TV volume, I have to ask myself why am I even playing electric guitar? At this point you have no need for the invention or for amplification and you might as well just pull out the acoustic guitar.
     
  19. Simon

    Simon Supporting Member

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    I don't like two room venues, give the typical 23yr old the option of DJ room or live Band?
    You know the answer (It's BS!).
    If someone had told Me 15yrs ago, that would be there choice, I'd say you were crazy!
    I had a Waitress last night at a bar come to me and say, I usually don't like any bands, but I like you Guy's because people can still talk.

    Truth is when people can talk they drink more.
     

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