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DoubleOhStephan

How does your cover band choose the set list?

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Interested in hearing how everyone chooses their set list.

Is it a general consensus thing? Do you vote? Do you have a BL who had final say? What if someone really hates a particular song? 

Edit: I should say, I'm in the process of setting up a band so am looking for options. 

Cheers

 

Edited by DoubleOhStephan

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I find that being the bass player I'm totally ignored, so I gave up suggesting songs years ago and go with what I'm told (even though I usually would never listen to the songs I'm told to play in real life but I'm fine playing them :)

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1 minute ago, 6feet7 said:

I find that being the bass player I'm totally ignored, so I gave up suggesting songs years ago and go with what I'm told (even though I usually would never listen to the songs I'm told to play in real life but I'm fine playing them :)

So much truth! 😬

So who in the band makes the decision and how? 

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I was until a couple of weeks ago in a Banshees covers band, we just did the Scream (first album) with some hits thrown in for good measure. Just kept it simple

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5 minutes ago, DoubleOhStephan said:

So much truth! 😬

So who in the band makes the decision and how? 

We are a 90's function band, so it's whatever gets people up and dancing.

Drums (it's his band), guitar (who is also singer) and keys decide. I must say that it keep my life easy. I stick to root notes (which is about as far as my ability takes me anyway unless the song calls for an occasional pentatonic or blues scale thrown in), turn up, play, get paid, go home. 

Edited by 6feet7
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When first coming up with songs, I think we all chucked about 10 into the hat each and then voted on what we liked the best and went from there. However, the ultimate decisions were made when working the songs up (if they worked for us or not; often quite surprising). As an ongoing process, if anyone really fancies doing something, then we’ll try it out and see what occurs. As the band’s organiser of running orders for gigs, I’ll always check for approval before a gig, which sometimes spurs folks into suggestion mode and we’ll sometimes try something new out as a sound check (everyone is very good with their homework). In short, everyone has a voice and is encouraged to speak up.

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It just evolved really, it was pretty much what we decided we'd learn for our first gig and we just added to it or subtracted depending on how much time we had. It was a bit of a no brainer as we played just the one bands material and it was all the most popular stuff.

The only thing we ever argued about was the order of the first 3 songs, I wanted to play the same ones every time as I could do them on automatic pilot otherwise I'd freeze and flamingo up. After the first time I did that they let me have my way :laugh1:

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We all chip in with ideas but the singer (female) has the final say.

Everyone seems happy with that.

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We tend to group the set on 'who plays what'!

(Mostly two guitars/bass/drums lineup, but lead and rhythm gits both also play keys, and we even swap drummers on a couple of songs.......)

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Our singer does the list and he generally get's it right. He does always pass it by us though, just in case there's one or two which maybe are wrong 'uns for the gig.
This works well for us.

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We all chip in and just decide what we fancy doing next every now and then at rehearsal - just happens when we realize we haven't got anything new to learn.

Helps that we can get stuff to a 'jam it out' stage quickly and at that point we decide if it's worth gigging or not - all songs are liable to getting dropped if they don't deliver and no-one gets too precious about 'their songs.'

Think it helps doing it at rehearsal so you can play the source material through a pa with all of you there - I'd been talking about doing a particular song for a bit and not getting much uptake recently, mentioned it at rehearsal then just played it over the PA and suddenly after hearing it loud it's declared a Banger and scheduled for the set. (Top Tip - play a live version!)

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2 minutes ago, redbandit599 said:

all songs are liable to getting dropped if they don't deliver and no-one gets too precious about 'their songs.'

This is the problem I've encountered in the past and it ultimately broke the band up. Keen to try to avoid that again 

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3 minutes ago, redbandit599 said:

Top Tip - play a live version

Great tip. 

Our drummer is an ex pro, toured for 15 years etc so had a good ideo of what works live, hadn't thought of covering a live version though. 

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Ultimately the singers have to be comfortable singing them. We put a lot of thought into choosing songs, normally trying to stay just on the right side of cheese, if indeed there is one.

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2 minutes ago, DoubleOhStephan said:

This is the problem I've encountered in the past and it ultimately broke the band up. Keen to try to avoid that again 

That's a personality thing and can be hard to fix - ultimately your set list has to give people a good night out ( of whatever flavour is appropriate) and if you have songs that don't cut it but they are someone's favourite then they need to find some new favourites 😉

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We all chip in with suggestions on an equal footing. Then we end up doing whatever songs the BL and guitarist want to do. Same thing with dropping songs that don't work. If the BL and guitarist still like them, they stay in. I've given up making suggestions now which works perfectly for everyone. 

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We all chip in suggestions and if noone really hates it strongly enough, we try it, and if it works it stays in. As we all have very different ideas of what works, we come up with a very odd collection.

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In our old punk covers band our theory was if it had been in the Top 30, been on Top of The Pops, or was considered a classic. Loads of great songs on albums that loads of people don’t know so we never bothered with any of those.

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16 minutes ago, Lozz196 said:

In our old punk covers band our theory was if it had been in the Top 30, been on Top of The Pops, or was considered a classic. Loads of great songs on albums that loads of people don’t know so we never bothered with any of those.

You've got to play stuff that people know for sure - the holy grail for us is if we can find a 'forgotten gem' - that is good, everyone knows it but not many play it. Or we can do a job on it and make it something fresh.

Plus you always have to have some standard cheese up your sleeve....

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Mainly the singer says what songs he can sing and we toss about a list of songs that we agree on. If anyone wants to do a song, they have to agree to sing it. 😂

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Simple. If it fits our style or can easily be changed to fit, and no band member finds it so awful they cant bear to play it, then we give it a go.

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We have a google sheet which we can all add suggestions for songs and the plan is that we look at that and agree what the next couple of songs to add should be. We all have a veto of we really hate something. 

However, what actually happens is that the singer will whatsapp a couple of comletely inappropriate songs   As a singer she fails to understand that the instrumentation on some tracks just isn't possible with one guitar and one bass but that doesn't stop her.  She will also suggest songs which are completely irrelevant to our band (we are an indie 90s/00s band and she'll suggest things like Tom Petty or Crowded House).

And then she will message a choice of several equally crap suggestions and expect me to avoid hurting her feelings by telling her that I'm not playing any of them.  It hasn't worked so far.

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First thing is to establish your target audience

If this is weddings for example then you will need numbers from the 50's to the 2020's as you will be playing to Grans and Gramps as well as 3 year olds staring at you from 3 feet away. 

So we would make sure we start with a balance of 50's rock n roll - 60's pop - 70 disco hits - favorite  80's and 90's chart hits and so on.

choose say five numbers from each era to start and work up from there, Don't fall into the trap of what band members like - its not about you.

But of course if the band is playing local pups only and not family parties then I wouldn't bother with Steps or Agadoo 😕

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2 hours ago, redbandit599 said:

You've got to play stuff that people know for sure - the holy grail for us is if we can find a 'forgotten gem' - that is good, everyone knows it but not many play it. Or we can do a job on it and make it something fresh.

Plus you always have to have some standard cheese up your sleeve....

This, every day of the week, although the BL/Singer/guitarist has the final say, which is perfectly fine by me, because he's the one who has to sing it...although this doesn't explain the number of time we get asked for Tina Freaking Turner songs...

Oh, and put a couple of Oasis songs in if you want a singalong. Works every time.

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