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Old March 1st, 2010, 03:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Best Bar Songs for 21-35 Age Group

I need some help here. I am in a “classic rock” band—talented players and great singers. We like what we do, but every year, the audience gets younger. We need to update our songlist so that about 40% is current, semi-current or at least no more than 15 years old. LOL!

In short, we want to have a bunch of songs that the younger audience can relate to.

Now, there are tons of songs to choose from in that category, but what I am asking is which songs are the tried and true bar songs that “work?” In other words, I’m looking for the standards of the current generation of club goers. For about twenty years, stuff like Brown Eyed Girl, Mustang Sally, You Shook Me All Night Long, All Right Now, etc, were all you needed. While these songs still (unbelievably) seem to still work, I’m looking for songs that include a younger demographic.

What songs would you suggest—especially you “younger” folks who like to go to clubs? Also, those of you who play rock clubs. What are the tried and true songs these days?

Your guidance and help will be appreciated immensely…

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Old March 1st, 2010, 03:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Foggy Mountain Breakdown, for the encore.

I would love to hear Sittin' On the Top Of The World or Working Man Blues
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Old March 1st, 2010, 07:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't really know but these could work, especially Song 2.

Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby
Kaiser Chiefs - I predict a riot
Blur - Song 2 (woo hoo)
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Old March 1st, 2010, 07:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Nirvana - Smells like... would also be on the list.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 07:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Nirvana - Smells like... would also be on the list.
Heck, Nirvana ANYTHING. They've got a fairly big catalogue of very well known, well written and (thankfully for any band trying to learn a bunch of songs) EASY songs. That should be your first port of call. After Nirvana work o ntheir contemporaries, Pearl Jam, etc.

This one's a must too....sure it's sort of a cheap trick but you will get the bar moving EVERY SINGLE TIME:

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Old March 1st, 2010, 08:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
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You still can not go wrong with AC/DC ( if you singers don't mind dusting their voices ).
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Old March 1st, 2010, 08:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Ask women...you'll get some awful suggestions that you would never play, but you may find a few things that work. Find the compromise of playing stuff that 'chicks' dig but are still cool songs.

Sorry I don't have any suggestion of my own. I'll get back if/when any come to me.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 08:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Built To Spill - Big Dipper, Distopian Dream Girl, Conventional Wisdom
The Raconteurs - Steady As She Goes
Modest Mouse - Float On
Kings Of Leon - The Bucket, Spiral Staircase, True Love Way, Someone Like You
Guided By Voices - Glad Girls
Cold War Kids - Hospital Beds
Beck - Gamma Ray
Arctic Monkeys - Flourescent Adolescent
Incubus - Pistola
Liam Finn - Second Chance
Peter Bjorn & John - Writer's Block
Ryan Adams - Halloween Head
Spoon - Underdog
Stephen Malkmus - Real Emotional Trash
Wild Light - California On My Mind

Any of these would please the college-age crowd, I'd say. If you guys are really old, no offense, it would be really entertaining to me if you played The Strokes - Last Night. I'm smiling just thinking about it. The hipsters would be so confused.

Last edited by vanklomk; March 1st, 2010 at 08:44 AM. Reason: Spelling!
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Old March 1st, 2010, 08:26 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm don't play in bars, but here are some suggestions based on what many of my students in that age group seem to like.

Green Day - Holiday (and many more...)

Foo Fighters - Times Like These

Maroon 5 - Makes Me Wonder

Jason Mraz - I'm Yours

John Mayer - Neon
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Old March 1st, 2010, 08:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I play some clubs with my cover band. We keep a couple of club dates in the mix, so potential clients can check us out.

We are a dance band, period. We play music from all decades. And they know the songs regardless of age. If it's danceable, it will always work. We recently played a gig for a large private high school here in Memphis. I was worried, but they knew the words to every song and stayed on the dance floor all night. You can check out our songlist at www.theplaintiffs.com.

Over the years I have heard from a lot of musicians about this subject. Some of them say they would be appalled if they had to play some of this music. The bottom line--it's not about you. If you want to work, you play what people want to hear, not what you want to play. And the truth is--this stuff is really a lot of fun to play and sing.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 09:02 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by vanklomk View Post
Built To Spill - Big Dipper, Distopian Dream Girl, Conventional Wisdom
The Raconteurs - Steady As She Goes
Modest Mouse - Float On
Kings Of Leon - The Bucket, Spiral Staircase, True Love Way, Someone Like You
Guided By Voices - Glad Girls
Cold War Kids - Hospital Beds
Beck - Gamma Ray
Arctic Monkeys - Flourescent Adolescent
Incubus - Pistola
Liam Finn - Second Chance
Peter Bjorn & John - Writer's Block
Ryan Adams - Halloween Head
Spoon - Underdog
Stephen Malkmus - Real Emotional Trash
Wild Light - California On My Mind

Any of these would please the college-age crowd, I'd say. If you guys are really old, no offense, it would be really entertaining to me if you played The Strokes - Last Night. I'm smiling just thinking about it. The hipsters would be so confused.
This is an interesting list, and I personally would like a lot of it.... but as far as a mainstream bar crowd, I don't know about most of these tunes. If you setup as the cover band for the night at a normal bar HERE and played these tunes, you would have to deal with some serious flack from the locals. A college campus possibly, but not any bar within 50 miles of where I live.

I'll just list a few tunes that I have seen go over well in the bars around here. And I am 33 for reference.

Ramones - I wanna be sedated (seems to be timeless, and people dance to it)

AC/DC - Same deal with ACDC. The hits seems to go over well with any age group. Timeless.

Green Day - Some of the earlier hits seem to go over really well

Weezer - they are on and off the radar when it comes to mainstream stuff, but their earlier hits seem to go over well. Most people in the age group know them because their hits span across a couple of generations (as with Green Day at this point).

My other suggestion, though it will make some people cringe, is to look through the tunes on the ROCK STAR and ROCK BAND video games. The amount of people in the age group you listed that play these games is ridiculous. It's not just teens. They know, and love these songs.

I personally think Hal's comments are on the ball. With the bars in this town, it's all about FUN and keeping people dancing. No offense to some of the suggestions listed, but too heavy, too dark, or too slow just doesn't go over well in that atmosphere. Not everyone would want as much of a 'dance' oriented setlist, but their mix of 'timeless' tunes is a great approach and could be applied to a more Rock formatted list.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 09:37 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I play in a dance band that mainly does weddings/functions, but we also do the occasional club gig so clients can check us out.

A few songs that have really gone over well in clubs with that demographic around here lately are:

Hot & Cold - Katy Perry
Please Don't Stop the Music - Rhiana
Just Dance - Lady Ga Ga
All Summer Long - Kid Rock

And the 80s seems to be making a huge comeback. Can't go wrong with

Billie Jean
Mony Mony
Don't Stop Believing - Journey
Anything big song by Bon Jovi

We play all of these songs in clubs with just 1 guitar, bass, drums and a vocalist, so it can be done.

The biggest thing I feel is that what ever you play - try to make sure it's danceable. I'd much rather see the dance floor packed with girls dancing the night away than have a bunch of dudes sitting down merely thinking that we are a great band. If you can get the girls dancing EVERYONE has a good time.

As much as the demographic you mentioned might like Nirvana, Kings of Leon, Incubus, the White Stripes, etc... my experience is that most of their songs aren't really dancable, and don't elicit a lot of dancing. If you are looking at those bands, pick your songs carefully.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 09:44 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I don't think the OP means "club clubs." Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but I think he wants rock music, not necessarily dance, but just for a younger crowd.

My suggestions might have too narrow of a scope (but not Kings of Leon, they'll appeal to anyone), but most of them are fun songs to play and I think they would get a good reaction from the 20-somethings.

For less hipster music, I suggest Better Than Ezra and Gin Blossoms. I still love those bands, and the 20-35 crowd should know all the words to songs like Good and Desperately Wanting (Better Than Ezra) and Hey Jealousy and Found Out About You (Gin Blossoms).
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Old March 1st, 2010, 10:02 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I don't think the OP means "club clubs." Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but I think he wants rock music, not necessarily dance, but just for a younger crowd.
I didn't think he meant "club clubs" either. But even when I've played bars (around my part of the world, anyway), I've found that if people don't know how to dance to it (or, at least, jump around to it), it'll often fall kind of flat IN COMPARISON to songs people can dance to. People may well enjoy other songs, but nothing sets the room off than getting a bunch of 21-30 year old girls dancing. That's all I'm saying.

oh - and we do really rock on the songs I listed - despite being keyboard songs originally. You'd might be suprised how much fun they are as guitar rock songs!
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Old March 1st, 2010, 10:32 AM   #15 (permalink)
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How about:

Jet - Are you gonna be my girl (good uptempo rock song, should be on the list)
U2 - Vertigo
U2 - Beautiful Day
The Hold Steady - Stuck between stations (lots of other songs by them).
Darkness - I believe in a thing called love (crazy falsetto)
Nickelback - Rockstar (this one definitely will go down well)
White Stripes - Seven Nation Army
Johnny Cash - Hurt (perhaps for a quiet moment, bring the crazy kids down, well known and they love it).
Artic Monkeys - I bet you look good on the dancefloor
The Strokes - Last nite
Cold Play - Yellow or Clocks
Franz Ferdinand - Take me out
Bon Iver - Skinny Love (could work?)

Probably need to do stuff by The Killers, Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire (maybe)
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Old March 1st, 2010, 10:32 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I didn't think he meant "club clubs" either. But even when I've played bars (around my part of the world, anyway), I've found that if people don't know how to dance to it (or, at least, jump around to it), it'll often fall kind of flat IN COMPARISON to songs people can dance to. People may well enjoy other songs, but nothing sets the room off than getting a bunch of 21-30 year old girls dancing. That's all I'm saying.

oh - and we do really rock on the songs I listed - despite being keyboard songs originally. You'd might be suprised how much fun they are as guitar rock songs!
I agree. In bars you have to play what the crowd wants, not what you want. At the bars around here on a Saturday night they want people up dancing. That doesn't mean 'dance music' but music people can dance to. They want everyone up dancing and drinking.

It could be a regional thing, but (no offense vanklomk) songs by Better Than Ezra or Gin Blossoms would sink like a stone in a bar here on on a Saturday night. Even stuff like a lot of Pearl Jam hits would sink even though they were huge radio hits because they aren't the right vibe.

Again, all of this is based on playing a busy, 'jumping' bar or club. The type of place where people party. Which from the OP, I think he's referring to. The recommendations would not apply to a quieter bar where people sit around and drink.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 11:19 AM   #17 (permalink)
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How about (not all that recent):

Lenny Kravitz - Are You Gonna Go My Way
Primal Scream - Rocks
The Zutons - Valerie
Aerosmith - Walk this way
Black Crows - Hard to handle
Chilli Peppers - Give it away or Californication
Fun Loving Criminals - Scooby Snacks

Something by Weezer, Razorlight, Evanescence.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 11:37 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Jet-Are You Gonna Be My Girl
&
Buckcherry-Crazy Bitch
&
STP-Dead and Bloated

These three are absolute musts at the clubs I go to if you want to get people dancing. All 3 are fun to play, too.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 11:37 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Listen to some radio stations that cater to the crowd you are playing to. Normal working people want to hear what's on the radio. It's been that way since radio started. Check the local Arbitron ratings for the radio stations in your area. Approach it like someone buying radio time for the demographics you want to target and spend some time listing to those stations. Pick out the songs you like and will work with your group and you should be golden!
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Old March 1st, 2010, 11:37 AM   #20 (permalink)
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No offense guys, but I'm glad I don't have to play most of these songs.
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