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Phil Starr

Pub Gigs, where is it all going?

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Happy Jack I'm a Harrow lad. Last gig I played there (driving all the way from north of Cambridge) I turned up and discovered that rather than a solo singer guitarist I was billed as "the hilarious comedy stylings of Ivan"

Cue clenched buttocks.

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Live rock music whether pubs or larger venues. Look at the audience in footage from rock shows from the 60s & 70s. A much more gender diverse crowd. Lots of women at those shows, it was great.

Now it's mostly dudes.

Blue Edited by blue

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Lots of women in the audience at Tyketto's gig I was at last night. But then I almost fancy Danny Vaughan myself and I'm straight.

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Depressing gig on Friday night. Pretty empty pub, audience that was there was all male, 55/65 age group.

Only time the crowd reacted was a retread of Mustang Sally. This place was rammed before 2010....recent years, the crowds have shrunk.

I really don't know how much more of this I can take! :(

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[quote name='ivansc' timestamp='1485036038' post='3220694']Cue clenched buttocks.
[/quote]

Excellent! I was looking for a name for my new band and I think that about nails it! B)

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[quote name='TimR' timestamp='1485275215' post='3222706']
What is your set list?
[/quote]

Ours? We play a mixture of classic rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll, interspersed with a few originals and a smattering of the obvious (Sally, Sweet Home, Nutbush).

We've got a repertoire of about 50 songs, so setlist is always done on the fly - band leader gauges the feel, and we play as such.

However, on a night like Friday, there was nothing anyone could do! :(

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If there is noone there there is nothing you can do.

We seem to be doing ok at the moment, but ours is a lot more new stuff than previous bands, and that seems to help with the crowd in most places.

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[quote name='Woodinblack' timestamp='1485277871' post='3222746']
If there is noone there there is nothing you can do.

We seem to be doing ok at the moment, but ours is a lot more new stuff than previous bands, and that seems to help with the crowd in most places.
[/quote]

Good for you, I don't think decline is inevitable but we have to adapt if we want audiences. I admire bands that love their music and won't compromise but if it's ageing music it's going to only appeal to a diminishing audience. My worry is that without variety some venues are almost guaranteeing a smaller audience for live music and people will decide an evening with a band is not for them.

What's your band called, I guess you must play round here?

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[quote name='Phil Starr' timestamp='1485348174' post='3223279']
What's your band called, I guess you must play round here?
[/quote]

Rexes hollow. We are mostly in Yeovil at the moment, but starting to spread out, Bridport at the weekend, always looking for interesting new crowds to play to!

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[quote name='spongebob' timestamp='1485276845' post='3222737']


Ours? We play a mixture of classic rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll, interspersed with a few originals and a smattering of the obvious (Sally, Sweet Home, Nutbush).

We've got a repertoire of about 50 songs, so setlist is always done on the fly - band leader gauges the feel, and we play as such.

However, on a night like Friday, there was nothing anyone could do! :(
[/quote]

I think that you have to be partly responsible for drawing a crowd and that means having a fan base who will come to see you.

I think the problem with classic rock and rhythm and blues is it appeals to a certain generation who may not be too Facebook savvy so dragging them out requires a bit of effort, although at least they're less likely to stay in to watch XFactor etc.

Certainly we played a gig last year that emptied the pub after 3 songs, but by the second set the audience had been replaced with people who'd specifically come to see us.

If you're trying to build an audience from people already in the pub you have to find out what they want to listen to and play it. We've also tailored a heavier set for rock pubs and a more 70s set for lighter/older pubs, just need to add a few more 90/00s songs to the setlist which is a struggle as the singer is mid 50s and stuck in the 70s. We are getting there slowly.

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[quote name='TimR' timestamp='1485367875' post='3223462']
just need to add a few more 90/00s songs to the setlist which is a struggle as the singer is mid 50s and stuck in the 70s. We are getting there slowly.
[/quote]

Same here, except i'm in my 50s, they are in their 30s and stuck in the 70s!

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We find it hard to keep up with what folk want to hear. I mean we know all the brown eyed girl type stuff, but hate playing it. Sometimes , that's the crowd you have in and then other nights, they want current stuff. We have tried to become diverse, but it usually comes at the expense of selling your soul. I would love to just play what I wanted . What I would like to hear myself.

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I love playing the Reel big fish version of brown eyed girl. Wouldn't want to do the other one.

Mind you we have started playing sex on fire that the guitarist wanted to do. I think its a bad idea, rushing towards mediocrity. But it has to be said the crowd love it, for reasons that completely escape me.

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At the risk of offending, I'm not sure that the demise of the pub band (as I see them, anyway) is necessarily a bad thing.

Most of the "pub covers" bands that I see are, frankly, pretty dreadful. Too loud, no sense of dynamics, singing songs that are inappropriate for the singer's range, lurching from one style to another as little more than karaoke with instruments. Yes there are exceptions but I'm not sure there are enough exceptions to sustain it.

All of the best cover bands that I've seen in recent years are those that put their own identity into the music - a duo of acoustic guitar and singer with cajon that had the dance floor at a mate's wedding filled all night playing everything from Abba to Bruno Mars to The Clash and another covers bands doing all the usual stuff but using their own arrangements in a soul style.

So yeah, rock karaoke might be dying but great live music is still out there, you just need to try a little harder to find it. For those of us who have never been into "mainstream" music (try finding a band down the dog and duck who'll play Sonic Youth or Sun Ra) this is nothing new. You just have to look harder to find your fix. :-)

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I agree. Too many bands trying to recreate the original exactly and failing, or not trying tunes because they can't exactly recreate the original.

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[quote name='uncle psychosis' timestamp='1487016677' post='3236307']
At the risk of offending, I'm not sure that the demise of the pub band (as I see them, anyway) is necessarily a bad thing.

Most of the "pub covers" bands that I see are, frankly, pretty dreadful. Too loud, no sense of dynamics, singing songs that are inappropriate for the singer's range, lurching from one style to another as little more than karaoke with instruments. Yes there are exceptions but I'm not sure there are enough exceptions to sustain it.

All of the best cover bands that I've seen in recent years are those that put their own identity into the music - a duo of acoustic guitar and singer with cajon that had the dance floor at a mate's wedding filled all night playing everything from Abba to Bruno Mars to The Clash and another covers bands doing all the usual stuff but using their own arrangements in a soul style.

So yeah, rock karaoke might be dying but great live music is still out there, you just need to try a little harder to find it. For those of us who have never been into "mainstream" music (try finding a band down the dog and duck who'll play Sonic Youth or Sun Ra) this is nothing new. You just have to look harder to find your fix. :-)
[/quote]
I don't disagree about what you say about a lot of bands approach to their repertoire but there is a knock on effect I believe. If their act is predictable and ultimately dull then it creates a shrinking audience for the venue and ultimately for the next band in. People decide that pub bands aren't for them and eventually the venue will close to music if they cant make a profit on the deal. An exceptional band may be bucking the trend on a particular night or for a one off gig, but we operate within a 'scene' which is beginning to atrophy.

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