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Jambo10

Opinions please.....

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Too many quotes to do here, so I will give you all the heads up.

We had a varied set, well, some people think so, 60's to modern pop, that particular gig was a pub full of 18-20 somethings, hence the setlist, but other gigds are almost exclusively 60's-80's stuff, so we do mix it up.
As for the points where who actually decides what songs the band cover, well i would say about 70% are picks from guitartist and singer, and believe me when I say the singer has picked some songs!, songs that weren't hits, some from bands nobody has even heard of. Also the ones that get binned at studio rehersal level are mostly her picks as she can't sing them!...anyway.
Guitarist has soo many pedals he cant keep up with them, and to be honest, this clip doesn't do him justice. The guitarist does the youtube clips himself as he has the capabilities on a pooter to do so.
As for the speaker in front of me that night, yeh, didn't realise i was gonna be stuck behind it till it was too late!
Feet gazing... guilty, more fret gazing than feet really, but for simple songs I will head bob along with the best of them.
We have encouraged her to interact more with the crowd but she doesn't feel comfortable doing so unless she has had a drink or 3, but then verses are missed, choruses come in late, you get the picture, catch 22 really. We put a booze ban in place some time ago which didn't go down too well with her, but seeing as I drive and the drummer drives and sometimes guitarist drives too, we felt it was only fair nobody drinks on the job.

All in all, the punters come up to us and say that, musically they like us, and the kind of stuff we play...then comes the "but"....and then they go on about the singer, remember that these clips are the good stuff, your not getting to hear the duff stuff!
But, in her defence, she turns up and she is reliable......just a bit wobbly with a mic!

I appreciate fully all your comments, good and bad, I am open to constructive critisism as I want myself and the band to be as good as we can be, and most of you out there will be far more experienced than me, so your words and appreciated.

Cheers

Oh, to prove we do actually play other stuff........

comments on this lot then...and yes, be honest again...cheers.

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[quote name='rOB' post='1207377' date='Apr 21 2011, 06:43 PM']Gotta say I kinda agree with all the above but particularly the people who have said well done for getting out there and playing live.[/quote]
Yep and your by no means the worst band by a mile :)

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Again I've not listened to it, just watched the video.

Looks a lot more lively. This is usually what you will find at weddings, they've had a drink and are ready to be entertained so it is a synch with the right crowd. In turn you feed off their energy and put on a lively show. The problem is when the crowd needs to be warmed up, how do you warm them up? Your confidence will come with experience and the crowd will feed off your confidence and energy. Unfortunately you just have to get out there and play lots before you can master that aspect.

The effect of the lighting is clearer here. I was told that the sun shines from the sky and so that's where you should light a stage from. Get the par cans up and shining down. You have them on the floor shining up and you get hollow eye sockets and unnatural shadows from chins etc.

Edited by TimR

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I'd give the girl a chance to shine, if you can find some songs that work for her. If you can't then you have a decision to make.
I would guess you are all feeliing a little frustrated by the feedback you get but well done for putting the vids up for appraisal

Myself, I don't care what it takes behind closed doors to make something work live and no one needs to know... as long as the end result is good.
Getting the band as a whole to reconcile with that critique takes a bit of maturity and a few diplomatic moves though as no one likes to be taken apart.

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Watched the 2nd vid clip... what's the problem? :)

You come across as a competent covers band and tbh your singer seems to have come in for the most flack yet I wouldn't say that any one of you is better worse than each other, I've seen a lot worse bands doing the rounds! I can appreciate that you want to progress so asking folks for areas to improve on is admirable but there'll be just as much conflicting advice as there will constructive. At the end of the day improvements suggested by BCers re. lights etc is valid but song choices etc is subjective; you are a covers band getting paid to entertain (hopefully), just enjoy doing what you do and do it to the best of all of your abilities.

Good luck. :)

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[quote name='JTUK' post='1207971' date='Apr 22 2011, 09:42 AM']I'd give the girl a chance to shine, if you can find some songs that work for her. If you can't then you have a decision to make.
I would guess you are all feeliing a little frustrated by the feedback you get but well done for putting the vids up for appraisal

Myself, I don't care what it takes behind closed doors to make something work live and no one needs to know... as long as the end result is good.
Getting the band as a whole to reconcile with that critique takes a bit of maturity and a few diplomatic moves though as no one likes to be taken apart.[/quote]

+1. All good advice.
There are definite moments in there, where there's 'potential'. Give her a chance I say!

This is making us all sound like Simon Cowells isn't it?! :)

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Thanks for the words chaps.

Im not looking for critisism or even looking for excuses and scapegoats, I juat wanted to get some honest opinions from you guys who aren't biased or drunk. And who have been there and got the t-shirts so to speak.

All I want is for myself to be a better bassist and the band to grow and be stronger, if it means tweaking the set or changing the line up, so be it. I would even support a move to get a better bassist in!!

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All seems rather good really...

I noticed a few comments about music stands with crib sheets etc. Cant see the problem myself - we use them in our band but our singer can still strut her stuff and interact with the audience no problem - I think it's sometimes unreasonable to expect the singer to know the words to 40 or 50 songs from memory, I remember a friend of mine having to give up singing in a band because it was deemed unprofessional to have crib sheets on stage and yes it is if you are professionals but if like most of the covers bands out there it's a hobby and you have very demanding day jobs/families it isn't always possible and doesn't have to impair the performance.

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Without watching or listening to the video - I'd say ditch the music stand [b]but[/b] print the lyrics in a large font (one song per A4 sheet) and stick 'em on a floor monitor in front of your singer. That way the audience can't see them, they're available to your singer if she needs them but being as they're down low she won't want to use them unnecessarily. To do so she would have to break any eye contact she has with the audience, much more so than using a music stand which is approximately in line-of-sight with them. I suspect she'll naturally stop relying on them so much while her lyric-memory confidence improves, but in the early stages the comfort of knowing they're still available without the audience even knowing will be an ideal compromise.

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[quote name='JTUK' post='1206739' date='Apr 21 2011, 09:04 AM']The band has energy...[/quote]

Really? I got the impression that nobody up there was particularly confident, or there was something up. Like, it wasn't the worst performance I'd ever seen by a long shot, but if I walked into a room with a band playing like that, it wouldn't keep my interest for very long at all. There was little to no stage presense. Even if a band is playing music I hate, if they're giving it beans on stage then I'm a lot more likely to appreciate it for that reason.

No offense buddy, but it was alright.

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Man i have been there so many times. You need to love the songs you play for the most part. The odd sh*tt*r is ok, but to many and every thing suffers. Your singer can clearly sing but her tone does not really change, if that makes sense. Each song is delivered in the same way. its like listening to a monosyllabic voice. its a bit cruise ship. where your playing some classic rock tunes that need drive and energy. keep going though, your so close.

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it didn't sound if anyone was enjoying it (playing I mean)
I wouldn't knock the singer, it sounds like she was playing a load of stuff she wasn't amazed by, and didn't fit her voice.
The drummer i couldn't stand, i didn't feel he helped the music at all

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well done for putting it out there and providing entertainment to the public. Good on you mate. A few ideas... IMHO I think its hard to love all the songs that you play in a cover band. I am sure there are many big artists who squirm inside when they have to do certain songs over and over again. Or even the same song forever (Status Quo).

Its a good idea to look like you enjoy them though. We realised that we were static on stage - the moment we moved around a bit the audience really noticed. Our singer is completely nuts too which is good.

Backing vox would be a help and maybe an instrumental or two to give a break to the singer and the audiences ears.

Does the singer play any instruments? What about doing an acoustic track? Does the guitarist use different sounds?

Sometimes its easy to worry overly about the musical content (yes its important) and forget that you are providing entertainment. Try to think of how things look from the punters perspective.

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Thanks for all your opinions chaps....everything that has been said by all has been taken on board, I have discussed a lot of these with the band and on the whole agree with it.
There is now more movement on stage, less fret watching/more headbanging lol
A bit more backing vox/harmonies been added.
Lighting slightly altered and just a bit more oomph into the performances.
Only drawback so far is the singer still refuses to do anything different!

Once again, thanks chaps.

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[quote name='Truckstop' post='1207361' date='Apr 21 2011, 06:30 PM']Hmmm, I can't put my finger on it. There's something that makes me think you guys could be so much better!
I actually thought your singer was quite good, but the songs don't really flatter her style and timbre. Maybe try slowing the songs down? Everything seems a little rushed and breathless (the music that is, not the singer).
Also, I think the songs you have decided to cover are quite characterless too. Again, as others have mentioned, I know you need to try to cater for everyone by playing songs that everybody knows, but you really don't need to sell out as much as you think to keep customers happy. Try and pick a few songs that are dynamically and musically interesting. I'm sorry to say it, but you all looked a little bored. Covers are supposed to be fun!
It just sounds like an un-mastered CD. The music's there, it's tight and it's ok... just needs finesse!

Truckstop[/quote]Really good analysis.
Great post.
You speak like a musician.

Edited by steve-soar

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I reckon your singer has a good voice for more jazzy stuff, she can hold a tune and does move a little bit to try to entertain folks, so full marks for trying, but on first listening it seems like the entire set has been transposed to suit the singer's range, which in this instance doesn't really work for me. Also you as a bass player and your guitarist could try to move a bit more; if punters just wanted to listen to music then they'd be drinking kestrel super strength in their front gardens on discarded sofas, punters need to be entertained, and it's everyone's responsibility to ensure that that happens.

I know it sounds like I'm being really picky, but I've had similar problems in the past with shoe-gazing musicians who were excellent players but not entertainers. That's a real bug-bear of mine, as if only one of you makes the effort to move around a bit you risk looking like that drummer at the wrong gig (you've probably seen it on here before now...).

Bottom line is to find some songs that your singer can do in the original key, or find a singer who is more versatile. Oh, and move a bit more, even if you have to consciously choreograph everything at first, it'll make a difference in the long run.

Cheers, Paul

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[quote name='paul_5' post='1213403' date='Apr 28 2011, 12:57 AM']I reckon your singer has a good voice for more jazzy stuff, she can hold a tune and does move a little bit to try to entertain folks, so full marks for trying, but on first listening it seems like the entire set has been transposed to suit the singer's range, which in this instance doesn't really work for me. Also you as a bass player and your guitarist could try to move a bit more; if punters just wanted to listen to music then they'd be drinking kestrel super strength in their front gardens on discarded sofas, punters need to be entertained, and it's everyone's responsibility to ensure that that happens.

I know it sounds like I'm being really picky, but I've had similar problems in the past with shoe-gazing musicians who were excellent players but not entertainers. That's a real bug-bear of mine, as if only one of you makes the effort to move around a bit you risk looking like that drummer at the wrong gig (you've probably seen it on here before now...).

Bottom line is to find some songs that your singer can do in the original key, or find a singer who is more versatile. Oh, and move a bit more, even if you have to consciously choreograph everything at first, it'll make a difference in the long run.

Cheers, Paul[/quote]

We actually had a short gig tonight (40 mins) and half of what yourself and others have said has already been put into practice.
The singer also chips in with songs of her choice, which quite often, funnily enough, or not as the case may be, tend to be the ones she can't manage!!

Cheers.

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[quote name='Jambo10' post='1213393' date='Apr 28 2011, 12:36 AM']Only drawback so far is the singer still refuses to do anything different![/quote]

Why? She's not terrible but she's by no means good enough to warrant that attitude! Even if she was amazing, she'd be ignorant to think that it's not possible to better herself through other people's input and advice. Correct me if I'm wrong, but any musician should be continuously striving to get better because the learning process doesn't stop, ever.

It annoys me when people are too ignorant to think they can improve.

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I watched both clips, 2nd one by far the better performance. Not overly keen on singer's voice, but heard much worse! Just think you all need a bit more "presence".
I suffer from the same when we play live, Im improving but it ain't easy!

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Of course all of us, in every band want to strive and make our individual selves better and the group unit as a whole.

In the case of our singer at the moment, there are a lot of murmours coming from the punters that she is stale, same patter after every song, we ask her to change it about a bit, nothing changes. the biggest thing for the rest of us in the band is the lyrics, sure its not easy to learn EVERY song, granted, but it is read almost word for word, no variations to tone, it is basically reading from a book, and there are lines or indeed sections of songs that just get refused, not sung at all, the *anytime anyplace* section of Call Me, the whole mid section of Many Of Horror, there are numerous to mention. It has been subtly suggested that she tries various things, but all to no avail.
We want to be playing better venues, and have already been offered bigger and better things then the local boozer, but, until we iron out these issues, we don't want to be made arses of in bigger venues and laughed out of town so to speak.

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[quote name='Jambo10' post='1214081' date='Apr 28 2011, 06:59 PM']Of course all of us, in every band want to strive and make our individual selves better and the group unit as a whole.

In the case of our singer at the moment, there are a lot of murmours coming from the punters that she is stale, same patter after every song, we ask her to change it about a bit, nothing changes. the biggest thing for the rest of us in the band is the lyrics, sure its not easy to learn EVERY song, granted, but it is read almost word for word, no variations to tone, it is basically reading from a book, and there are lines or indeed sections of songs that just get refused, not sung at all, the *anytime anyplace* section of Call Me, the whole mid section of Many Of Horror, there are numerous to mention. It has been subtly suggested that she tries various things, but all to no avail.
We want to be playing better venues, and have already been offered bigger and better things then the local boozer, but, until we iron out these issues, we don't want to be made arses of in bigger venues and laughed out of town so to speak.[/quote]

Sounds like the three of you have already come to some conclusion as to the problem and you wanted external opinion s for reassurance. Sensible. I've been there before - singers that don't warm up, singers that don't want themselves in the monitors so they can't pitch properly, singers that don't fit in with the rest of the band's image and style, etc...

My suggestion would to take a different approach with your singer. Rather than subtle hints, get into the habit of making specific demands of each member. Step one - lose the music stand, step two - pre-prepare onstage, banter...

Perhaps you need to sit her down and give her an ultimatum.

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Sounds like the singer isn't on the same song sheet as the rest of the band (did you see what I did there? :) )

I was in a band where the singer kept suggesting tunes she (but no one else) liked. Medium tempo ballads. The drummer wanted to play rock. The guitarist didn't care what we played and never made any suggestions and was happy just as long as we got gigs. Myself and the keyboard player thought we knew what the punters wanted but couldn't get the band to agree.

The annoying gthing for us was that we'd get a tune accepted, (say a rock and roll tune), it would get learned, we'd play it at a gig and it would go down a storm. Then at the next practice they'd all want to learn more rock and roll tunes because they saw how well the song had gone down. Apart from the singer and the drummer who wanted to play medium ballads and rock.

You need to get the band all on the same song sheet (I did it again! :) )

Essentially someone needs to drive the band and come up with the songs that you can all relate to and that the audience enjoys. That's the hard bit!

If someone doesn't fit you owe it to them and yourselves to move on or you'll end up a year from here frustrated and burned out. Trust me on that one. (see above)

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[quote name='warwickhunt' post='1206720' date='Apr 21 2011, 08:33 AM']No disrespect to your band or your singer because I applaud (quite literally) anyone prepared to get up and do it live as opposed to the bedroom warriors or those who simply practice/jam with their mates and never commit to actually performing BUT aside from the lyric reading (most bands I've been in for the last 20 yrs have had singers with lyric sheets as it's a crutch) I get the feeling from the short vid that your singer isn't an out-and-out 'Rock Chick'. She can patently sing and does some of that stuff well but (IMHO) I don't think she's comfortable with the whole ROCK/Performing side of things! I can imagine her being very good at Lounge music or even less rocky material but her dress/mannerisms/persona don't give me the impression she's 100% in with what you do... I stress this is simply a snap-shot decision based upon a 2 min vid, so don't go getting the hump with her as it may not be the case and I could quite easily be wrong. :)

Even if she is out of her comfort zone it's not her fault and I'd suggest that you could do far worse for a singer, so maybe look at the whole band package!

Where's my seat on these bliddy talent shows? :)[/quote]


+1 I think it's just a mismatch, your singer is out of her comfort zone, her voice is really a disco, funk 'acid jazz' smooth diva voice, find some middle ground music for all, plenty of choones/ bands that combine both genres check out some betty davis (miles davis's wife, she was supprisingly a hard funk rocker!) janes addiction, chilis, living colour, fishbone, spin doctors, mother's finest or even write some stuff. Would be a fun for you as some great bass lines in this genre. Head over to youtube and check out some of the music. But well played anyways good stuff.

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