Etiquette Thread.

Who's making noise in and around Madison? What's new in the business of making music around town? Review shows and CDs here. Please keep all hype in Hype Exchange.
Helliphant
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Etiquette Thread.

Postby Helliphant » Sat Feb 17, 2007 1:30 pm

Let's start composing a good list of things newbs and fresh young artists can utilize to everyone's benefit, shall we?

I'll start with a shining example of what NOT to do.

Last night we played a show with 2 other bands. We were slated to be 2nd in the lineup but when we arrived the lineup had been changed without consulting any of our band members prior to our arrival. Nice guys that we are, we rolled with it. No biggie, we'd played this venue before and felt comfortable playing 3rd. The first band played at 10:30, short set of 30 minutes. Excellent, things are going smoothly. The next band (who shall remain nameless as I think they truly were just kinda green, very nice folks and an interesting band) takes 35 minutes to set up. I didn't notice it happening while they were setting up, but this band had brought their own stands and mics. So, the sound guy had to tear down the house stuff for this band and wait for them to set up. What made this situation even weirder is that this band wouldn't let the house soundguy touch their stands and mics. It made teardown even more unbearable because the poor soundman had to sit there and wait for them to finally tear down their PA stuff as well as their amps and shit. Exacerbating this situation was the fact that a member of their band jumped offstage immediately when done playing and started pimping their mailing list and CD while her gear sat onstage untouched by herself or her band members. For 15 minutes. While the soundman could and perhaps should have taken a bit more control of the situation the band should also know not to pull that kind of shit, especially when the bill was maneuvered in their favor.

That's a bare minimum of 50+ minutes in setup and teardown time. I've never approached another band about their professionalism but I damn near did last night.

Share your horror stories and advice!

citizen
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Postby citizen » Sat Feb 17, 2007 2:16 pm

was this at a bar/club?

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Postby Michael Patrick » Sat Feb 17, 2007 3:33 pm

That's lame... I've got my rig configured in such a way that I can set it up and take it down in 10 minutes, tops. Give me a couple more minutes to tune up, and I'm ready to roll... And save the schmoozing for after the gear is dealt with.

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Postby Helliphant » Sat Feb 17, 2007 5:37 pm

citizen wrote:was this at a bar/club?


Yes.

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Postby Spoken Word » Sat Feb 17, 2007 5:45 pm

Assuming and making an ass out of you and me and dealing with young green bands probably ain't a good idea as you found out Helliphant. Ounce of prevention, pound of cure etc

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Postby droidsattack » Sat Feb 17, 2007 8:56 pm

Shitty, bro. I'll share some advice. Always monitor the flow of the show yourself. You've played tons of shows, and you know the drill. First band on at 10-10:30ish, off a half hour to 45 minutes later. Second band on at 11:15-11:30ish, off 45 to an hour later. The last band should be able to get things started around 12:30-45ish with all the set up and tear down times included. Keep an eye on the clock, and do not be afraid to go up and give the band the "one more" or the good ol' "throat cut" hand gesture if things are running late. That is not a dick move. It is a dick move for any of the bands sharing the bill with you to not pay attention and force you into that position. Usually the sound guy is responsible for maintaining the flow, but we've had a couple shows recently where we had to step up. No biggie... unless you feel like the sound guy should be earning that chunk the bar gives him off the top.

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Postby lil bunny fufu » Sun Feb 18, 2007 9:00 am

1) Any stage or makeshift stage area is a limited-use area intended ONLY for setting up quick, briefly but thoroughly verifying your rig is 9x9, tuning your chosen implement of destruction, rocking- or jazzing- or bluesing- or countrying- or whatever-out and then clearing off of as if your hair was on fire and your ass was catching (all as has been mentioned already). What this means is that there is to be no noodling, no sctupin' groupies, no figuring out that tune playin' on the juke box that isn't in your set anyway, no changing your strings, no doin' your nails, no sellin' merch, no interviews, no deconstructing your rig or drum kit, no studying, no practicing scales or patterns, or any of things like these here on stage. If the bar doesn't have a green room, find a table or a corner.

2) Use soundcheck (even if its just a quickie right before your set) to figure out what you need in the wedges. Have the group play through a verse or a chorus or something and actually verify that you've got your monitoring shit shorted. Then promptly forget that the goddamned things OR the sound guy exist. After you start playing, nobody gives a shit whether you can hear the floor tom - and they're probably thinking that you're a dumb-ass because you didn't have the good sense to stow your feces in an orderly fashion when you had the chance. Here's something to think about; the Beatles played gigs where Ringo literally could not hear the bass or either guitar or the vocal AT ALL because of all the screaming from the audience and had to play off body language cues and watching fingers. You're probably NEVER going to be in a situation THAT bad.

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Postby Michael Patrick » Sun Feb 18, 2007 10:58 am

Spoken Word wrote:Assuming and making an ass out of you and me and dealing with young green bands probably ain't a good idea as you found out Helliphant. Ounce of prevention, pound of cure etc


You don't always have control over who else is on the bill with you. Plus, their greeness may not be apparent until after they show up and waste twenty or thirty minutes.

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Postby Spoken Word » Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:14 pm

Good point, Michael.

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Postby DrAwkward » Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:28 pm

droidsattack wrote:Shitty, bro. I'll share some advice. Always monitor the flow of the show yourself. You've played tons of shows, and you know the drill. First band on at 10-10:30ish, off a half hour to 45 minutes later. Second band on at 11:15-11:30ish, off 45 to an hour later. The last band should be able to get things started around 12:30-45ish with all the set up and tear down times included.


Let me modify this slightly for you:

Whenever playing in a new town or club, do your best to check with the sound man, doorman, the local bands, whoever, to make sure you know how long sets at the club usually last. I've been to a number of clubs where even the second and last bands would get the "throat cut" motion after 35 minutes, depending on how late shows at that club start,how many bands per night they book, and how long it takes in that town for the clientele to get bored with a band.

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Postby lil bunny fufu » Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:28 pm

Michael Patrick wrote:
Spoken Word wrote:Assuming and making an ass out of you and me and dealing with young green bands probably ain't a good idea as you found out Helliphant. Ounce of prevention, pound of cure etc


You don't always have control over who else is on the bill with you. Plus, their greeness may not be apparent until after they show up and waste twenty or thirty minutes.


Yeah, it IS a good point; but that's no reason that whoever is running the gig shouldn't or can't communicate the expectation that each band gets X minutes to set up & soundcheck, X minutes to play, and X minutes to clear out and if they're found to be in gross violation they're gonna have to run around the block naked screaming "SET UP FAST, TEAR DOWN FASTER!" while being savagely whipped by the other musos on the bill and then buy the whole bar a round after they get back from their jaunt. :D

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Postby DrAwkward » Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:31 pm

Another good rule of etiquette that our guitarist Yale came up with:

If you have free drink tickets, always pay for your first drink. This ingratiates you to the bartender. For that matter, when you're out of town, try to be friendly toward and strike of conversations with as many club staff as possible. It only leads to good things, unless the club staff are dicks.

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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Sun Feb 18, 2007 2:42 pm

DrAwkward wrote:If you have free drink tickets, always pay for your first drink. This ingratiates you to the bartender.

???

Hmmm ... gonna have to say "Wha...?" to this one.
Bartenders? Any out there wanna comment on this, 'cuz it seems pretty silly to me.
Seems to me, all that's important to remember about drink tickets is that they don't include a tip. If you tip the bartender with the drink ticket they provided, they not only have no cause to be anything but friendly, I've never seen one act any other way. Why would a bartender care if you bought your first drink, your third drink or your tenth drink instead of using the tickets which you're earning by performing?

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Postby juanton » Sun Feb 18, 2007 3:13 pm

I have actually watched a drummer take his eleventy billion piece drumset off of a drum riser, only to place it immediately in front of the stage to tear down.

I always dig it when clubs have their own helper person to speed up setup/tear down.

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Postby Helliphant » Sun Feb 18, 2007 3:44 pm

Spoken Word wrote:Assuming and making an ass out of you and me and dealing with young green bands probably ain't a good idea as you found out Helliphant. Ounce of prevention, pound of cure etc


Totally agreed, but the prevention portion was taken out of our hands when the bill was changed around while we weren't there. I don't assume a ton at shows anymore because I've played enough of them to know that things rarely stay consistent, even at places we've played a few times.

Next time I'll say something to the sound engineer first, then lob flaming matchbooks at the band if that doesn't work.

The whole drummer tearing their stuff down onstage is another no-no, at least the drummer in my example was on his game. Any time I see a rack mount kit I tend to get that funny little feeling in my stomach.

The positive end of the spectrum is that I've seen bands with big setups that are really quick to get their things on and offstage.


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