The "Shared" Gig

Bill Sheehan

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I've been reading a book on the subject of succeeding as a solo musician, and in one chapter the author mentions the concept of the "shared" gig, in which two independent solo performers split the stage time on a single gig (each doing her or his own solo material), in approximately equal portions. The idea strikes me as interesting. Just off hand, I can see how this approach would offer a little more variety for the audience, while reducing "performance fatigue" (especially on vocals) for each of the two solo performers. Have any of you ever done an outing this way?
 

srblue5

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I sometimes do duo gigs with the other guitarist in my band and we take turns leading songs and backing each other up. However, we both do the entire gig together, which I don’t think is what you meant?

I think near the end of their time together, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee were doing something similar to what you’re suggesting (albeit because they weren’t getting along).
 

scelestus

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The best gigs I remember as a kid both as a player and an attendee are the punk rock ones at the town hall in the middle of nowhere, and a lot has to do with this approach. It was like gig sharing on steroids. The organizer would rent the hall for the day and book 8 bands. From 3 to midnight, each band would get an hour including setup and tear down.

This resulted in a lot of variety and kept a lot of interest all evening, and bands didn't have to fill up 3 or 4 hours like a bar gig. Mostly originals and everyone giving their all.
 

Nightclub Dwight

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We are friends with several well known, but underground performers. Four out of the five musicians I am referring to are, or were, the front man in pretty well known bands. They like to perform as solo singer/songwriters during the main band's downtime. One of the guys is just a regular singer/songwriter of some renown.

These guys will often do shared gigs. Sometimes they will come through by themselves, but usually they team up with one of the other guys to share gigs. One of the guys tours in a band van, but the other four usually rent cars with unlimited mileage and tour the country in four to six weeks. The guy with the band van will often have a sidekick along for the ride, but the guys who rent cars usually rent their own car, since they may occasionally play a city where the other guy doesn't want to go.

For the most part there is some overlap with the fan base, so it isn't really like one guy is opening for the other. They will switch it up depending on who landed the gig, or who is more popular in that particular city. They generally play solo sets, but might bring the touring partner on for a song or two, which is usually reciprocated when the other guy takes the stage. They will always plug the touring partner's show on their social media.

We originally were friends with just one guy, but over the years he'd have these other guys as touring partners. My original friend always stays over at our place when he plays, or passes through, Pittsburgh, so we got to know these other guys over the years since one can stay in our spare bedroom and the other guy on the living room couch. Now all five guys stay at our place whenever they pass through. Beats sleeping in the van or paying for a cheap motel.

These guys seem to love the arrangement. By splitting the duties they can book shows in places where one guy might have a relationship with a promoter where the other guy doesn't. They also seem to like the camaraderie.
 

Orpheum

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I've never done a concert of this kind, but I would like to try with an artist (or band) of a different register. It seems to me that it could give something interesting, on the condition of course of associating compatible styles (for example jazz+blues, and maybe not death metal+bossa nova...)! ;)
 

Guitarteach

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Not for us. It would be buisness suicide.. Venues will want to identify one party to ask back and pay and one will be revealed as better or worse. Our venue, our stage, our rules, our audience.

We do enough festivals where everyone gets a slot.

For a solo act, it is little different to being coordinated at an open mic night, I’d have thought.
 

blue metalflake

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I’ve seen it work, but equally flop.
Both need to be in a similar style, ability, genre, to make it with the audience.
Unless the venue is promoting it with several “acts” I’d reckon it’s risky.
 

JL_LI

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Way back when, 1970 plus or minus a few years, college coffee houses operated that way. You'd play a set and go outside and pass the peace pipe while someone else played. Wash, rinse, and repeat until closing. No one got paid, except in the form of something for the pipe for the drive home, or if you did well enough, you didn't have to drive home until the next morning. You gotta love hippie chicks.
 

Kandinskyesque

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I done a shared gig with 2 other musician friends at an event in 2016.

It was at a "charity" (in truth political) dinner in a community hall.
We came up with (stole) the idea from Joolz Holland's BBC TV show. The audience were all seated at their dinner tables and each of us 3 performers, all singer-songwriters were situated at 3 sides of the hall each with 1 mic, 1 stool, 1 Bose L1 and one small spotlight. The MC (a local comedian) wore a lav mic and wandered round the hall between songs conducting the various raffles and auctions and each of us musicians performed 2 songs each 3 times round: a 2 song performance each during the dinner and the others afterwards as the diners' drinking became more "professional".

We thought it all went down really well. I enjoyed the variety as did the audience, who remained uncharacteristically quiet for a hall full of drunk Glaswegians during the performances and reserved their heckling for the MC.
It has been probably the least 'pressure'/nerves I've ever felt at a gig and I'd love to try something similar again.

In hindsight we thought it might have been improved had we sat each performer on a small riser and found a way of interlinking the 3 Bose L1s for a more immersive sound.

I've also played at a few Burns' Suppers where another performer and I sat either side of a lectern and played a Burns song each after each reading. Those evenings were far more riotous affairs; aided and abetted by the fact that I was still partial to a dram or 10 in those days.
 

Flat6Driver

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No , not shared time, but I will only share guitar work ala Keith and Ron Woods. Hate the idea of a dominant guitar player and a " rhythm" guitarist.
Need to find people of similar skills. Which seems hard in the amateur ranks

I've seen song writer circle kind of things. Two or three artists on stage. One plays and sings and the other two patiently sit and wait for their turn. In the case I saw they didn't comp for the person in focus at the time.
 

Call Me Al

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Not exactly, but I’m the bass player in a blues trio. We have about 3 guest singers, and a few Harmonica players/singers where we can play “backing band” for them.

On several occasions we’ve done a set with 2 of the female singers on the same night. They split up the leads, and team up for a few harmony numbers too. Works great! Tons of fun, tunes we don’t usually play, audience loves it 👍
 

Tonetele

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Best band I played in the other guitarist sang and played, so Did I.
He's also made a Thinline Telecaster with a Widerange p/up in the neck and a Mighty Mite in the bridge. Ash body
( Mighty Mite ) and wired it himself. In those days MM and Schecter parts were for improving your Fender.

That was 1980 and I was building guitars soon after. We shared solos , worked well. He went on to teaching at a private school, I went on to teaching Maths/Electronics @ college . Find a buddy like that and you will make great music. We got offered a job after our bands' first rehearsal. Bass player had a Hagstrom, drummer smoked too much dope but was good.
I still play with guys like that- no egos, shared job.
 

Rich_S

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I saw a show years ago where John Hiatt, Lyle Lovett, and two other singer/songwriters toured together. I don’t remember who the other two were, but they were all similar in style. There was no band, just four guys with their guitars.

They each played solo acoustic versions of their songs and sometimes one would back up another on second guitar. Details are fuzzy, but I don’t think they ever played all four at once, they’d just sit and listen to each other as they performed round-robin. It was a great show.

On the electric side, Joe Satriani does something similar on his G3 tours. Each artist does a set of their material, then they get together for a big jam set. Steve Vai is usually on these tours, the 3rd (and sometimes 4th) spots are filled by the likes of Eric Johnson, Yngwie Malmsteen, etc. I have the original G3 CD and IMO, the individual sets are better that the closing free-for-all.
 

dougstrum

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I've done a few singer/songwriter shows where 5-6 people split the time. That works well for that type of music, gives some variety and gets you out meeting new folks.

One time we were double booked, and decided to split the gig. It was fine with the owner, think he felt bad about the mix up.
At least we all got to play.
 

tiktok

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I've been reading a book on the subject of succeeding as a solo musician, and in one chapter the author mentions the concept of the "shared" gig, in which two independent solo performers split the stage time on a single gig (each doing her or his own solo material), in approximately equal portions. The idea strikes me as interesting. Just off hand, I can see how this approach would offer a little more variety for the audience, while reducing "performance fatigue" (especially on vocals) for each of the two solo performers. Have any of you ever done an outing this way?

You mean a bill with two solo acts? Yes, I've done that many, many times.
 




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