When you choose your gig's songs,

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by RoscoeElegante, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    How much, if any, of a role is the overall pattern, mood-wise? Especially when you play brief sets.

    For the past six months or so, I've been playing three-song opening sets for a monthly show here in town. For each, I've borne in mind how the three songs work together. For example, I'll start with a get-the-big-hearted-feelings-going song (might be wistful forgiveness or a still-love-you bluegrassy thing, or a fun stomper). Then I'll do something that's low-key, slower, reflective, and somber. And then I'll end with a threw-my-soul-to-the-wind kinda thing. (Wow, do these self-assessments sound pretentious! Sorry about that. But you get my drift.)

    Is this over-thinking it, even for a quite astute and close-listening (small) crowd, and for the gents organizing this, to whom I'm still trying to prove my show-worthy variety-chops? Should I just choose good songs of whatever kind/mood and play 'em in whatever random sequence I want? Or does the sequence matter, especially in a small, opening set, in an intimate space (a converted old church)?

    Thanks for your thoughts about this.
     
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  2. dickey

    dickey Tele-Afflicted

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    What??!
     
  3. El Marin

    El Marin Tele-Afflicted

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    We do it this way...

    -Opening... one, two, three, four ( a la Ramones) first songs must be like a cyclone to engage people. Fast, maybe funny but not to complicated... your fingers are still cold, public is cold
    -Mid, some mid temp, some blues, just to rest a bit. Let people get you a beer ( :lol:)
    -Ending... you must finish like a angry hurricane giving it all and making blood in your fingers and breaking strings, sticks and drum patches
    -Encore... Encore? we have been playing for two hours, mate. Come on, if you want more, come to our next show

    If the show is a small one, one hour or so, avoid the mid part
     
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  4. HoodieMcFoodie

    HoodieMcFoodie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    For three songs I guess I'd pick something that gets the crowd in the mood for the act to follow.

    But then again I've never been in the position to have exclusive choosing rights to the songs so what do I know?
     
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  5. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    Ease them in with something catchy and easy to get their attention and then look to keep it. Yep. We think about it. Even more reason too with three or four.

    If they are up dancing, we want them to stay up dancing. Gets us the repeat bookings.

    We look to the energy levels but not so much the tunes. Complicated stuff we leave till later in the night when we are in gear and the adrenaline and focus is high and then its like playing in slow motion. Latest popular tunes we do at end and then they are shouting for an encore which we keep to one.

    We played three hours of tunes last night at a club and had 4 laid back numbers out of 30 or so - a couple early in each set.
     
  6. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Friend of Leo's

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    I don't think you're overthinking it. Song selection and order is important. I'm not sure how to approach a short set but generally the opening and ending songs are the most important (engage the audience, then leave them wanting more). In between it needs to flow.
     
  7. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Something that’s upbeat and that the band does well to start. If it’s a house sound guy, he’s going to dial you in on that tune, bear that in mind. Close each set with something up beat and catchy. Everything in between will be using your judgement. Whatever “panny-dropper” you have that gets the women on the dance floor is good way to go early on. Depends on venue too. If it gets a later crowd, then maybe save the livelier stuff for set 2/3..
     
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  8. Fretting out

    Fretting out Tele-Afflicted

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    I learned one thing reading the worst concert you’ve been to thread

    And that’s momentum

    You need songs that keep whatever mood you are establishing goin

    And keep it going forward

    Like maybe start on a medium tempo number and bring it to a climax
    It all depends the mood you wish to establish for the occasion
     
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  9. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    This is important : is this a gig where the only thing the audience has to pay attention to/has to occupy themselves with - is you ?

    Meaning, they’re just sitting there with their hands in their laps watching you ? :eek:

    God I hate those.

    No drinking, walking around, talking with folks they haven’t seen for awhile, bidding on items for a silent auction, eating things, etc ?

    Just everybody faced in your direction - all watching you ?
     
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  10. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Yep.
     
  11. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, it is. Just me + guitar and sometimes harmonica. An accompanying violin, guitar, cello, keyboards when I can get 'em.
     
  12. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I’m lucky.
    I have an excellent memory for music.
    I know lots of songs.
    I don’t make lists.
    I just get a feel for who’s in the room and what they might want.
    Dancers are my primary consideration.
    On most of my gigs, if I am the leader, or one of the principal singers, i choose a variety of sure fire dance songs.
    I also play a decent amout of my own songs, or songs written by friends.
    I avoid slow, boring and overplayed stuff.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2019
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  13. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Only three songs ... First song grab their attention with uptempo energetic material ... Second song slow it down some for contrast... Third song more energy than the first ... something that will make them remember you ...
     
  14. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Reading the original post... Band plays three songs ... 10-15 minutes ... Not two three hours ... Tear it up ...
     
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  15. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I make a set list for every show in Excel. I try to separate songs that have a similar beat, similar chording etc. Try to mix up genre's etc. Throw in a slow one/tear jerker here or there, or often just insert one where we feel it. It's a PITA but I hate having band meetings on stage!
    On top of that I mix an occasional one by the drummer or myself but mostly we use our female vocalist.
    Of course, sometimes it just goes out the window fast if we dont know the club. I just start naming songs or starting songs.
     
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