Drawing a Crowd

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by Bob Sushko, Mar 17, 2019.

  1. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    Some of it depends on the venue. There is a small bar/restaurant near me in a rural place. Blues bands (incl a blues jam) play there all the time and it’s packed. Some might stem from the fact it holds about 40 people. All crammed in

    The band has to move to let people in and out of the door.

    Might have to do with nothing else going on in the area.

    Blues has older crowds. People still dance to it. Just have to play the right places for your music.
     
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  2. Martin R

    Martin R Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    We tried Free Cocaine Night. It worked! Big crowd and we got to meet a lot of nice cops.
     
  3. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Friend of Leo's

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    Crossroads, cool movie.
     
  4. Bob Sushko

    Bob Sushko TDPRI Member

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    Don't laugh, many years ago the band I was in were good friends with a huge coke dealer, every place we played was packed . . . because of him!
     
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  5. Fret Wilkes

    Fret Wilkes Friend of Leo's

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    Reminds me of a time in the mid 80s. The place would be packed, we'd be rocking. A certain gent would enter the club...ALL heads turned to the door, both crowd & band. "We're going to take a short break, we'll be right back!". Lol Glad those days are behind us.
     
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  6. P-Nutz

    P-Nutz Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Ad nauseum, but here goes ...

    I play in a ten-piece, all-teacher, horn-driven '70s funk cover band, and we never lack for gigs ... partially it's 'cuz we're OK, but partially it's because a lot of rap, hip-hop, modern R&B and other recent genres have sampled from Earth, Wind & Fire, Kool & the Gang, Commodores, etc., and so many of the younger folks who see us at festivals, etc., KNOW the music ...

    Plus, both of the lead singers are SUPER dynamic, and work the crowd by going into the crowd, getting them to dance, sing, etc. ... the rest of us on stage look like we have fun (we are!) and choreograph a few dance moves here and there ...

    We don't play many bars anymore (don't have to) but no matter where we play it is ALWAYS a party ... purposefully ... if'n we ain't having fun, THEY ain't having fun ... Jess Sane, here ...

    Peace.
     
  7. ricardo1912

    ricardo1912 Tele-Afflicted

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    I wish I knew the answer.
    The set list that will get people to leave their houses, come to your gig and then come again, is like some kind of musical holy grail.
     
  8. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    I think it’s worth examining why a Band can be less entertaining than Karaoke where people expect a bad performance.
     
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  9. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Blues are a niche interest at best. And as others note, even that niche is unlikely to want to watch a band play someone else's blues songs (or for that matter, play their own blues songs) for 2+ hours. And, here's another one with three 7th chords and a turnaround . . .
     
  10. vgallagher

    vgallagher Tele-Meister

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    As an older guy, I would go to a lot more shows if they started at 7 instead of 9 or 10. I don't know how man times my wife and have planned on going out to see someone then come 8 or so look at each other and say nah. Probably not practical for a bar but this is the main reason we don't go to live music.
     
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  11. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

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    All teh other bloozemen who are looking to talk about pups and petal boreds!
     
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  12. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    There is on small club (original music only) in town that is open only F/S/S and has two bands and a vinyl DJ each night. The first band starts at 8 sharp, the second 9 or 9:10, and the DJ is on by 10:30. Far easier to draw there that the other clubs we headline and go on at midnight or 1 am . . .
     
  13. joealso

    joealso Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I have no gigging experience but I do have a lot of experience watching bar bands. I will go see the same band week after week, and I will buy plenty of beer and maybe even a burger if ...

    Please don't give me the exact same setlist week after week. Put some surprises in there. Also, my ears get fatigued after a while. Every song doesn't have to be fast, or loud. Change it up. Give me something different to listen to. Think about any great classic album. Some rockers, some ballads, some loud and fast, some laid back and quieter. Every track a little different. That is, until you get people dancing. I've seen too many bands ruin the mood by sticking to their setlist.

    There was a band in my hometown of Richmond, VA called the Piedmont Souprize. They evolved out of another (great) band and they had a regular 7pm Thursday night gig at a small bar in the city. They packed the place every Thursday night for several years. So much so that many people arrived really early just so they wouldn't have to stand all night (which meant they spent even more money). The band's secret was that a) they were all superb musicians, and b) they played everything from Chuck Berry to Patsy Cline to Nat King Cole - more of a stew than a soup. Their renditions had a feel of reverence with a smirk. They often had other local and visiting musicians dropping by to sit in. Oftentimes, the drummer didn't even bring a full set, just a snare, hi-hat and kick. If you've ever seen NRBQ, you know what it's like for musicians to have fun onstage. It was always a fun, party atmosphere. Always different, always an event not to be missed. Week after week. Year after year.

    Those players are special and that band was special. Not everyone is capable of that and that's not intended to insult anyone. My point is, don't be so predictable. If you can make it fun for the audience, the audience will make it fun for you. And they'll come back to see what you're gonna do next week.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
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  14. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

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    I agree about this—and it’s not just the “older blues crowd” that disappears around 11:30-12:00...the same is true at rock clubs, jazz clubs and (to a certain extent) smaller c&w clubs...I know, because I’ve played many of them.

    I suggested this to a several bar owners and managers:

    Book me on a Friday one week at your normal “band” hours (10:00PM-2:00AM); count your receipts, and look how big (or small) the crowd is during those later hours, especially at 2:00AM.

    Book me the following week (same night) from 7:00PM-11:00PM or 8:00PM-12:00 midnight; count the receipts, and also see how many people are still in the bar at 2:00AM, when you close...


    My theory was, you’ll make more money at 7:00-11:00, because there’s a lot of people who want to hear some music but aren’t leaving the house (or the previous bar/club/restaurant) to go see a band start playing at 10:00PM...especially on a Friday, because audience has been up since early morning (for work or school or whatever). The audience will be far more likely to go out after dinner or even directly after work, knowing they can still get home at a reasonable time.

    This is even more true for a weekday/workday like a Wednesday or Thursday—I have to get up at 4:30AM to get my workday started on time—I’m definitely not gonna go out past 10:00PM during the workweek.

    Also, a lot of folks have kids/grandkids who have soccer or baseball or whatever early Saturday morning (I personally do volunteer work with my congregation) and getting home at 3:00AM is not conducive to enjoying a functional Saturday morning.

    (PERSONAL ASIDE: the last time I pulled an all-nighter to go see a band in a bar I was useless the entire next DAY, not just the next morning...but I digress...often).

    Two of the club managers finally tried it my way—and sure enough, the place was packed from 7:00PM to midnight...whereas the previous week (10:00-2:00), it was sparsely attended...because MOST PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO GET THE NIGHT STARTED AT 10:00PM!

    (with the exception of the douche, erm, dance club kids who aren’t going to hear live music anyway—they’re going to DJ-driven clubs, and they bring a different set of issues—namely, club drugs and guys wearing Axe Body Spray).

    I added to my argument, “How many of the people there at 2:00AM do you feel comfortable about driving home at that point, knowing you’ll be liable if they kill someone—even themselves—driving home?”

    The only problem, all the managers had fallen prey to the “but we’ve always done it this way!” line of thinking.

    By refusing to change, they’re killing the live music scene as much as any other single thing, at least around here (in D/FW).

    One other thing—there’s a live music venue/restaurant/bar in Fort Worth called “Fred’s TX”...(great burgers, excellent coffee, cold beer, good sides). They have free live music 4-5 nights a week at both their locations...and the music starts early evening—5:00 on weekdays and 12 noon on weekends.

    The early bands aren’t playing for much money (new to the scene, generally) but they get paid and get tips and sell merchandise and get exposure...and Fred’s promotes these smaller bands just as heavily as they promote the bigger ones...(as an aside, Leon Bridges used to play there, early in his career)...the later-in-the-evening “headlining” bands still start at a reasonable time (and get paid better)...the place stays crowded...the early bands often have the opportunity to jam with the headliner (again, more exposure) or to go play a second gig across town...

    And the place stays crowded until...yep, you guessed it...12:00 to 12:30AM
     
  15. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

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    A whole host of issues in this thread. Here are some of my thoughts:
    a). Only guitar players want to see another SRV clone. The main one around here is great looking, 30 years old, and his bass player is his 25 year old, incredibly hot wife. Even they have started adding some country songs.
    b). I'm 66 years old, with white hair and a bit of a paunch. Let's be for real here - Hot young girls, who will attract guys to the club, are not going to come out to see me. Hot young girls didn't want to go out to see senior citizens playing Glenn Miller charts back in the 80's and 90's. Maybe it's time to face the facts.
    c.) Look at how little money the local clubs are paying bands these days. I'd rather play for free at a local fair, church, concert in the park, etc. than go out late at night to fight for $50. Maybe it's time to grow older gracefully.
     
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  16. Bob Sushko

    Bob Sushko TDPRI Member

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    So you're basically saying it's time for me to hang it up? :cry:
     
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  17. Bob Sushko

    Bob Sushko TDPRI Member

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    That venue must be doing alright if they can pay three acts a night . . .
     
  18. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Holic

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    If you are dead set on trying to nurture the blues, you might wanna find the main hangouts for the local blues societies and start getting to know them. Blues scenes and blues jams are often symbiotic. If you go to a few jams, you’ll meet a few of the biggest blues enthusiasts in your area. Those kinda folks are who ya want at your gigs. You might find more band mates in the process.

    How many people are in your band? Your vocalist will likely contribute the most to your bands authenticity (or lack of). Inauthentic/uninformed blues is hard to listen to for any amount of time. It helps to have a genuine character fronting the band. Ya wanna have some swagger when you play blues. Ya don’t wanna wear anything that feels like a costume, though. =)

    How long are these gigs? If it’s a long gig could you do some split bill gigs with another band?

    If there is a dance floor, be sure to consider that in building your set lists. You wanna keep people dancing so the time between tunes needs to be like 5-7 seconds.

    I agree with the suggestion of not playing strictly only old school blues. Maybe try listening to some modern blues radio stations for ideas. Lots of modern blues sounds like an amalgamation of different styles.

    Rock is the first option for a lot of people looking to diversify. Blues rock is arguably overdone but it still blends well. Kinda depends on the demographics of the crowd have and the crowd you want.

    You wanna be sure the owner is on the same page as you. If he does give a crap about blues, ya might be fighting an uphill battle.

    Are you doing any marketing? List out as many local music calendars as you can find, and get on them.
     
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  19. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    They provide sound and pay 1/2 the door + 2 drinks. Decent deal to play original music to an engaged crowd.
     
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  20. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

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    For me, it was time to quit going after the gigs I played when I was in my 20's, 30's, 40's, and even 50's, and leave those for the younger dudes. It's more fun for me to play shorter gigs, earlier hours, and realize that the hot young girls could be my daughters, or granddaughters, and that's how they look at me. I can't speak for you, Bob, but for me, I'm okay with being an old guy.
     
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