Jump to content
Bluewine

How To Avoid Bad Gigs

Recommended Posts

Open for discussion.

I think we have to define what a bad gig is before we can start thinking about ways to avoid them.

Keep in mind we all might have different definitions on what a bad gig is 

Blue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bad gigs for me are where the promoter does nothing other than book the gig, where the headline band lose their heads in their own back-passages and won’t move their drums off stage but won’t allow the other band(s) to use it, multi band gigs in venues where there isn’t enough storage for all the gear, and where the promoters don’t get in a set backline to make changeovers/storage easier.

Also gigs where bands think of the gig more as a party and bring all their friends in the dressing room who then drink the whole rider and stay sat in the chairs that are there for the bands to relax in.  Said bands are often  the types that overrun on set times. Again the promoters should have a better handle on this and just stop both of these happening.

Lastly gigs where there is no parking - makes things just that little bit more frustrating.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I could class a bad gig perhaps as one where we don’t play well, or something goes wrong with equipment / personnel / some other ‘out of our hands’ circumstance.

But really, a bad gig is one with no audience. We’re a pub band, and we social media the hell out of our upcoming gigs, as well as word of mouth, so locally we always get a good crowd. 
 

But further afield, you’re really at the mercy of the pub owner / landlord and how well they promote the gig. Our regulars won’t travel fifty miles on a Saturday night to see us so a lot of the time it’s pot luck whether or not the venue has bothered to promote the gig, but that’s another thread.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm currently in a pub covers band, so while I don't have to worry about multi-band nights and the associated trials and tribulations, I do have to lug and set up a bit more gear than I used to.

A long load-in, especially if the only possible route is directly through the midst of a throng of tipsy punter with very little spatial awareness, can be a bit annoying and contributes to making a gig "bad". But the main factor is the audience - sometimes you have a crowd that likes music, and sometimes you have a crowd who would rather be watching the sport, or doing something that doesn't involve having a live band in the room.

S.P.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't like the transient places where the punters couldn't give a toss about the band , they're just going from place to place. Usually the reason being the place only gets an alcohol licence because they agreed to put entertainment on so the management ( the 'bar manager' will be no older than 19 and thick as a canteen cup) don't give a toss about music either. They tend to have no decent beer and are often up staircases. The stage will be right in front of the big screen with sky sports on. Some drunken lass 'always wanted a go on the drums' , some whizzed bloke wants to push your mic stand in your face while you're singing to get a laugh from his knuckle dragging mates and to round it off nicely the whole lot of them deliberately stand in your way around the doors while you're loading and unloading.

Pound to a pinch of stinky poo they always fall on the same night that the motorway gets closed for repairs and you have to drive 30 miles through the sticks to get down to the next junction too.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Lozz196 said:

Bad gigs for me are where the promoter does nothing other than book the gig, where the headline band lose their heads in their own back-passages and won’t move their drums off stage but won’t allow the other band(s) to use it, multi band gigs in venues where there isn’t enough storage for all the gear, and where the promoters don’t get in a set backline to make changeovers/storage easier.

Also gigs where bands think of the gig more as a party and bring all their friends in the dressing room who then drink the whole rider and stay sat in the chairs that are there for the bands to relax in.  Said bands are often  the types that overrun on set times. Again the promoters should have a better handle on this and just stop both of these happening.

Lastly gigs where there is no parking - makes things just that little bit more frustrating.

I think of the replies so far this is the one that resonates mostly with me.  The poorly organised / managed multi band bill.

I'll add equipment issues as something that can make a gig 'bad' for me.

Or an arsey in-house engineer.

Edited by LewisK1975

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Dr.Dave said:

I don't like the transient places where the punters couldn't give a toss about the band , they're just going from place to place. Usually the reason being the place only gets an alcohol licence because they agreed to put entertainment on so the management ( the 'bar manager' will be no older than 19 and thick as a canteen cup) don't give a toss about music either. They tend to have no decent beer and are often up staircases. The stage will be right in front of the big screen with sky sports on. Some drunken lass 'always wanted a go on the drums' , some whizzed bloke wants to push your mic stand in your face while you're singing to get a laugh from his knuckle dragging mates and to round it off nicely the whole lot of them deliberately stand in your way around the doors while you're loading and unloading.

Pound to a pinch of stinky poo they always fall on the same night that the motorway gets closed for repairs and you have to drive 30 miles through the sticks to get down to the next junction too.

This is a bit too familiar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Dr.Dave said:

I don't like the transient places where the punters couldn't give a toss about the band , they're just going from place to place. Usually the reason being the place only gets an alcohol licence because they agreed to put entertainment on so the management ( the 'bar manager' will be no older than 19 and thick as a canteen cup) don't give a toss about music either. They tend to have no decent beer and are often up staircases. The stage will be right in front of the big screen with sky sports on. Some drunken lass 'always wanted a go on the drums' , some whizzed bloke wants to push your mic stand in your face while you're singing to get a laugh from his knuckle dragging mates and to round it off nicely the whole lot of them deliberately stand in your way around the doors while you're loading and unloading.

Pound to a pinch of stinky poo they always fall on the same night that the motorway gets closed for repairs and you have to drive 30 miles through the sticks to get down to the next junction too.

This all the way - although the last time we had one of these had a redeeming moment.

1 a.m, just finished, outside trying to de-sweatify myself for 5 mins. 

Very drunk punter:  Hey, mate, did...was yer in there?...did yer see that band what were on? Dead good they were...

Female half of couple walking past:  He's the one on the left, dumbass!

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've played a lot of "bad gigs" as defined above, but the only gigs I'd want to actively avoid are those without audiences. If you take a gig from a venue or promoter you've not worked with before, then it's a gamble, but if it turns out there's no audience there, just remember to never take a gig from that promoter again, and don't believe their excuses!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, cheddatom said:

I've played a lot of "bad gigs" as defined above, but the only gigs I'd want to actively avoid are those without audiences. If you take a gig from a venue or promoter you've not worked with before, then it's a gamble, but if it turns out there's no audience there, just remember to never take a gig from that promoter again, and don't believe their excuses!

If I'm getting paid, I'll play my heart out to an empty room and be happy about it. I used to do lots lots of originals gigs to empty rooms and it is soul crushing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Televised sport of any kind is a killer. Watching a crowd flit between some inconsequential match on the telly and the gig is soul destroying.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, DanOwens said:

If I'm getting paid, I'll play my heart out to an empty room and be happy about it. I used to do lots lots of originals gigs to empty rooms and it is soul crushing.

I've been paid to play to no-one and I find that even more soul crushing. I feel like I shouldn't be paid, taking the money makes me feel like a thief, which just compounds the glumness of the empty gig

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, DanOwens said:

If I'm getting paid, I'll play my heart out to an empty room and be happy about it. I used to do lots lots of originals gigs to empty rooms and it is soul crushing.

I couldn't agree more!

Where did the myth come from that one has to do a slew of these kind of gigs to "make it"? I mean, sure, we all end up doing them, it's probably a bit of a rite of passage in learning how to deal with public rejection and soldier on, but I've met far too many people who seem to think there's something noble in playing to the bar staff for no money. There just seems to be a philosophy - not universal, but certainly widespread - that it's part of the long road to success, that driving from London to Leeds and back again, in the pouring rain, to play to an audience that's smaller than the band, will prove to be "worth it", because there will be "more people next time", because if you're really good, that one distinerested punter and his dog will definitely "tell all their mates."

No, they bloody won't. One of them is alone in a bar for a reason (grateful as you are for their support), and the other one is a dog. It's part of the very short road to exhaustion and cynicism.

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Dr.Dave said:

Pound to a pinch of stinky poo they always fall on the same night that the motorway gets closed for repairs and you have to drive 30 miles through the sticks to get down to the next junction too.

I see you've experiences the M2 after a gig in deepest Kent!

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, cheddatom said:

I've been paid to play to no-one and I find that even more soul crushing. I feel like I shouldn't be paid, taking the money makes me feel like a thief, which just compounds the glumness of the empty gig

We gig a pub in Preston (Vinyl Tap) which has excellent beer, vinyl all around, the gaffer joins us on gobharp or piano and it's a great gig. But we've done it twice to a very empty room; in these conditions where I empathise with the landlord, then I agree. Thankfully very few landlords introduce themselves or try to develop a relationship, so I have no reason to feel guilty!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, MacDaddy said:

Pay-to-play gigs.

That’s not a gig, it’s a public rehearsal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, cheddatom said:

I've been paid to play to no-one and I find that even more soul crushing. I feel like I shouldn't be paid, taking the money makes me feel like a thief, which just compounds the glumness of the empty gig

I disagree, you’ve fulfilled your part of the contract (verbal or otherwise). If venues don’t promote gigs properly then that’s their lookout.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, the bad gigs are the ones with nobody there, so anything that contributes to that is a bad gig.  I can put up with dickheadery from other bands, sitting around, loading out in the wee small hours ahead of a long drive home, etc, but it all comes back to the landlord/promoters who think that they've done their bit by booking you to play and don't think that they need to do so much as put up a poster or add it to their Facebook page because the band will do all of that and bring the punters with them

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, paul_5 said:

I disagree, you’ve fulfilled your part of the contract (verbal or otherwise). If venues don’t promote gigs properly then that’s their lookout.

I'm not judging anyone else for doing it, just explaining how I feel. I don't refuse the money anyway, can't afford!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, chris_b said:

A bad gig for me is when I end up with a drummer who can't play.

The best way to avoid bad gigs is to always play with great drummers. Everything else pales into insignificance.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...