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The Three to Four Hour Band Gig?

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by MilwMark, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    I'm probably a bad source, as we typically do one to two hour slots. But on the rare occasions where we do 3-4, we have no qualms about making the last set heavily feature the hits from the first 2.

  2. NiceTele

    NiceTele Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 20, 2012
    We occasionally do the long 4 hour gig and still get paid about the same as 20 years ago, we take home around $200+ each. Weddings, corporates etc pay a lot more. Rather do a gig than sit at home and watch TV

  3. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    May 9, 2005
    That's a bit like my approach, though it certainly isn't the norm for most musicians.

    In fact, a local musician at one of my gigs told me I should take breaks instead of playing straight through like I often do.

    Longest solo gig I did was only 7 hours though!

    I suppose I could have done 9 hours, but they didn't ask me. And I don't offer.
    Daddydex likes this.

  4. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Meister

    Dec 20, 2010
    Harrisburg, PA area
    Interesting. Someone told me that recently too- take breaks, but walk around, say hi to people, like I was the chef or something. I tried it and it felt really awkward. If I'm taking a break, it's going to be a break for me, where I sit and have a beverage. Otherwise I think I'd rather just play straight through

  5. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    May 9, 2005
    There's a feeling that by taking a breaks you're letting it "breathe", by giving the crowd a little break as well, so it's not just you, you, you all the time. Then you come back and it's a bit fresher.

    I can kind of see that.

    Just because we might want to play for hours on end and have the stamina and repertoire to do so doesn't mean it's a great idea.

  6. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Meister

    Dec 20, 2010
    Harrisburg, PA area
    @ac15 Makes sense. I don't play those marathon gigs, so probably not as big a deal, but worth a think.

  7. Dr Improbable

    Dr Improbable Tele-Meister

    Aug 14, 2015
    I hate talking on breaks. I never know what to say.

    Also, don't you hate it when on break they fire up the stereo/jukebox and play stuff unrelated to what you're doing? If they wanted to hear classic rock and current country, why didn't they hire a band that does that???

  8. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Holic

    Jun 25, 2016
    Recently I've taken control of this by playing my own selection. I keep it low so patrons can converse. Don't let the beer server take over and play something.

    When booking the gig and they ask for more than two sets I tell them the last set may be a repeat. My purpose is to limit the number of songs we need to be practiced on. If we have time to be on top of 4 hrs worth then we don't repeat. Long gigs get more less risky songs.

  9. Artunes

    Artunes Tele-Meister

    Mar 9, 2016
    Oshkosh, B'gosh
    Four hour gigs are the norm around here for a bar gig. My current band is a three piece, with no sound or lighting techs. It takes half an hour to load in and set up, and half an hour to load out. We never rehearse. We know hundreds of songs, because between the three of us, we've got probably 140 years of experience. We do covers, mostly '50s through the '80s, but we don't play the songs 'just like the record'. I rarely have to drive more than an hour to get to a gig. We're playing a car show on Friday. Outside on a stage at a park. Easy setup. 6:00-9:00. We'll likely do three 50 minute sets with two 15 minute breaks. We usually each take home around $200, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less.
    Chicago Matt likes this.

  10. SamClemons

    SamClemons Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 23, 2011
    Jasper, TN
    I can't imagine now, but when a teenager, 12 hour practices were pretty common on weekends for us and we would keep that playing pretty solid without a lot of breaks.

  11. dougstrum

    dougstrum Tele-Meister

    Oct 6, 2015
    blu ridge mtn cabin
    We usually play 2 or 3 hr gigs. But one vineyard has us play
    for 4 hrs. Pay is all over the place generally $50-$150/person.
    It's always nice to get more~but then it's always fun to play.

    4 hrs sure gets us to play a lot of songs that don't often get

  12. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

    Aug 23, 2014
    Since the 60's, the norm for me has been 3 or 4 hours. Like others have said, pay for the typical bar gig hasn't kept pace with inflation. Around here it's typically $100 per man for a 3 or 4 hour bar gig. I've done everything from 1 hour to 6 hours. In the 70's I did a house gig for a couple of years that was 5 or 6 hours a night, 6 days a week. We got paid $300 each for the week and felt like we were doing pretty well. But I was sharing a house with 4 other guys and was paying $50/month rent. Those days are gone. It was a great gig in that we played with multiple artists and were always learning new things and developing our chops.

    In the 80's I was in a band that did conventions, big weddings and such, where I might make $500 for 3 hours, but that was the exception rather than the rule. On the other hand, I've been in an all-original band that played for a percentage of the door. It was the most fun, but the lowest paying.

    These days my trio still does the 4 hour gig but limit it to places close by, where equipment requirements are minimum. I usually bring my 5E3, one PA cab and a monitor. Pay is the same as it always was, but last Saturday we were able to add $184 in tips. I still love it and look forward to the next one. Not trying to get anywhere with it these days, not trying to live on it, just doing what we love. We play what we like - mostly roots, blues, swing that was written in the 40's, 50's and 60's, and some originals.
    JJAdams1956 likes this.

  13. muudcat

    muudcat Tele-Holic

    Jan 3, 2010
    Fountain City, Wi
    Bar gigs around here are usually 4 hours, meaning 3 one hours sets with a half hour between. My solo gigs are both 3 and 4 hours and better money, although we are playing a small town out door gig this weekend for $800 for the 4 piece and I'll be working in a new guitar player and bass, both well honed. We try to do at least 4 of my songs, sometimes more, along with the eclectic list of covers

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