First Gig


hdoran
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hdoran
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01/09/2013 2:56 pm
My band is doing our first club gig in a few weeks and I'm hoping to learn from other experienced players.

We've done parties, coffee houses etc and we are well-rehearsed and have our song list well organized to create mood, transitions, and breaks.

I'm hoping to get advice on things to make sure we do/don't do etc. Advice like "don't play drunk" or "play through mistakes" is not what I'm looking for. Instead, maybe a bit more of the meaty stuff.

I'm renting a soundboard and speakers and we will do a full rehearsal using the soundboard the night before the gig.

I appreciate any advice your would offer.

Thanks.
# 1
caponi14
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caponi14
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01/09/2013 9:54 pm
What kind of music do you play? If it's a place with a little slippery and bad acoustics. Make sure that your don't play with to much Mids on the gear. You should turn mid down a bit and try walk around the room to soundcheck to get it just right. Remember that if you can't bear the sound yourself, there is a big chance that the others won't bear with it either.
People that aint used to listening to loud music often gets their ears killed by mid frequency's.
At least this is my experience.

Thats my 2 cents :) Have fun dude!
# 2
hunter1801
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hunter1801
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01/10/2013 1:48 am
What do you mean by "club gig"? What type of club and what type of music?
# 3
JeffS65
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JeffS65
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01/10/2013 11:58 am
Seriously, have a good soundman or if 'from the stage', make sure the sound is solid.

You could be the best band ever but if it isn't coming out of the fronts, you're DOA.
# 4
hdoran
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hdoran
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01/10/2013 3:54 pm
Seriously awesome advice, much appreciated. By club gig, I just mean it's the first time we're playing outside a coffee house and in a bar setting. It's a little blues joint in the DC area with a restaurant upstairs and the bar and dance floor downstairs.

I'm renting a soundboard and it is the first time we're using this. I have it rented for the night before the gig so we can practice with it. But, I could get it for longer so we could test it out longer.

In your experiences, is one night practicing with a sound board enough or should I practice with it more?

It's a very simple board with inputs for each instrument and the mics and doesn't have too many knobs.
# 5
hdoran
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hdoran
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01/10/2013 3:55 pm
Oh, and the music type is more contemporary rock. We will mainly do covers for this first gig, things like Black Keys, Neil Young, Foo Fighters, Lumineers. We have about 2 full hours of music.
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LisaMcC
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LisaMcC
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01/10/2013 5:50 pm
Dear hdoran,

Congrats on your gig - and have a blast!

Rooting for you and your band,
Lisa
Lisa McCormick, GT Instructor
Acoustic, Folk, Pop, Blues

Full Catalog of Lisa's Guitar Tricks Tutorials
Find Lisa on Facebook!
# 7
hdoran
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hdoran
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01/10/2013 5:52 pm
Thanks, Lisa. And thanks to you, many of my acoustic skills have come from you!
# 8
compart1
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compart1
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01/10/2013 9:03 pm
try to get us a video..
# 9
haghj500
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haghj500
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01/11/2013 2:47 am
Some songs just seem to get people up and dancing. Pay attention to what songs get them on their feet.
If you have people request songs remember the names of the songs so if you hear them at more than one gig you can think about learning them. Even if you do not really like them, they are popular and will get people on their feet. Try to work a few of the songs into your first set. The faster you get them up, the faster the band will start feeding off their energy, making a more enjoyable night for all.

Make sure everyone is tuned up “before” you hit the stage. That way you can walk up on stage, get behind your instruments, someone counts 1 2 3 and you’re off rocking the place looking like pros.

The acoustics of the place will change when it fills up, another sound check may be a good idea if you can.

Above all remember to enjoy the gig, ignore others mistakes you’re a team. Mistakes happen.
# 10
Slipin Lizard
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Slipin Lizard
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01/11/2013 7:52 am
Great advice being given here... I'll throw in some as well:

-be professional... start on time, don't go up on stage and stand around talking to each other trying to figure stuff out. Be all setup in advance, and try to keep the time from when you take the stage to when you start playing as short as possible.

-don't introduce "the band" before you play... instead, start with a solid, upbeat number, and if you can, transition from your first song right into your second. If you want, you can quickly throw out a "hey folks we're such and such, thanks for being here tonight..." but whatever you do, don't stop the music and start talking about each and every member and how it was hell to find a parking spot before the show. Keep your momentum going right to the end of your set.

-be yourselves... have fun, don't try to be "rockstars" but if your "frontman" (or front-woman) has an excess of personality, it won't hurt.

-never turn your back on your audience; don't turn to each other and start doing the Bon Jovi "inside joke" thing where you start talking in each other's ear and laughing... your audience won't like it.

-if its in your nature, be flamboyant. One story I really liked was about the lead singer of "Mother Love Bone"... he used to perform like it was a huge concert hall every time, even if it was just a small club with just a few people... "let me hear ya out there...! ok, now just all the guys in the back!!" stuff like that.

-uh oh, SOMETHING HAS GONE WRONG!!! Is it still going wrong and the song is a disaster? If not, just keep playing and let everyone get back on track, even if it means improvising. On the other hand, if something is really wacked (none of the mics are working), then just stop, smile to the audience and say "sorry guys, technical difficulties" and fix it calmly and quickly. Stay calm. Don't panic, don't get worked up. Just solve the problem and get going again.

-lastly, HAVE FUN! If you enjoy performing, your audience will likely enjoy the performance.

Good luck guys!
# 11
hdoran
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hdoran
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01/11/2013 1:38 pm
All the advice offered above is exactly what I needed, good stuff. Thanks for such thorough replies and shoot of more if anyone thinks of anything.

Just some background for anyone who cares, I've seen a few posts on "am I too old to learn, ...etc"

Well, I'm 40, starting playing only 3 - 4 years ago. Since then, I've learned around 100 songs, played open mics and coffee houses, parties for friends, started a band, and now playing a small place for what I think is our first "real" gig.

So, anyone who asks, "am I too old", I'd answer with your limits are only what you set on yourself, nothing else matters.

And, I'm not a "natural" musician either. Seriously, I'm a former elementary school principal and now I'm a statistician, married with kids. So, I'm a plain old, normal nerd who likes heavy metal and rock music.

Life has no boundaries, only people perceive boundaries.
# 12
JeffS65
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JeffS65
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01/11/2013 8:26 pm
Originally Posted by: hdoranI'm renting a soundboard and it is the first time we're using this. I have it rented for the night before the gig so we can practice with it. But, I could get it for longer so we could test it out longer.

In your experiences, is one night practicing with a sound board enough or should I practice with it more?

It's a very simple board with inputs for each instrument and the mics and doesn't have too many knobs.


Well, it's better than not having it for a spare day...

Literally, it's not enough time but the first time I ever ran sound, that's what I did too. One night. But I got pretty good after time. No your luxury. Still, you will probably do reasonably well.

A few things:
- Mixing is about frequencies and specifically competing frequencies. If they all overlap too much it gets muddy and dull. More below...

- Using a delay with the set up. If you are placing a delay in the chain that will apply to all instruments, set the decay by ear. If your doing the standard mic test of saying 'check', it should sound like: CHECK (check > check)....Just the word with a fast decaying repeat of two more checks.

- Reverb. be careful. If the room is empty and echo-y...Don't need much. Full room and not much echo going on, just a little more. Still less is better more so than having too much.

- Mixing: No matter how awesome your guitar tone is, you may need to sacrifice that in the final front mix to ensure the mix is clear and has punch. Most rock people tend to like hearing all guitar tone not realizing that the bass guitar is more prominent than they think it is. Listen to the bass placement in Alice in Chains bass placement, it illustrates how important bass guitar is to guitar tone. You should feel the bass guitar but also just ever so slightly hear it within the guitar mix.

- Mixing: Bass guitar and bass drums can overlap in frequency. Better to feel the bass drum and hear the bass guitar.

- Drum mixes are a pain. Watch this > Click

- To balance the above bass vs guitar vs bass drum etc, use the channel strip Lo/Mid/Hi to balance these frequencies. Don't know if you have an outboard EQ, but this should be a way to draw out the details you need. Watch this video , it speaks to this.

- If they don't hear the vocals well enough, you're DOA. No one sings along to a guitar solo. (usually...). Make sure the vocals are prominent and clear.

Those are few things. It's not easy or great but be mindful that what sounds good on any one instrument solo might not be that great when mixed together. Great mixes are a shared sacrifice and a great end result.
# 13
caponi14
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caponi14
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01/16/2013 9:39 pm
Have fun man. Im glad i could help you :)
# 14
hdoran
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hdoran
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01/26/2013 5:10 pm
I want to say thanks to all of you who offered advice; it was perfect. Someone asked for video and so here is my band playing our first gig in Alexandria, VA last night.

This is us finishing the night. We played for a few hours and had great feedback. Love to hear any advice on this to help us improve.

In the video, I'm the guy holding the acoustic.

Thank you,
Harold

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guGe1ZG1Tlk
# 15
haghj500
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haghj500
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01/26/2013 6:03 pm
Looks like a Great first gig.

Band sounded tight and the crowd yelled like they enjoyed it. That is the energy I was talking about, the difference between 3 or 4 couples dancing compared to say 15+ couples on the dance floor just seems to change the whole mood of the room and performance of the band.

Maybe it is only me, but your lead vocalist does not do it for me and made it a bit tuff to finish the clip. That really does not mean much as I’m sure there are others who enjoyed the singing. But you are looking for honesty. Maybe if others feel the same way you should listen. Lead singers make or break bands as you have to listen to them all night.

I will always remember the first gig I played at, I wish they had video cams back then to have captured it like you got to.
# 16

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