Bar Band Show Timeline


Dive Bar, Plate 2

Here again?

So, I recently posted a link to Guitar Squid’s quite humorous timeline of a bar gig.  Whether in a band, or going to see a band, we’ve all been through similar situations.  Here’s how it usually goes IMHO…

  • 8:00pm | Arrive at gig early to load-in because the flyer says 9:00pm.  (Assuming your GPS/Phone/Google Maps has brought you to the right place.)
  • 8:30pm | Finally get into the bar, because all the lights have been off & no one has been there.  Bartender looks at you like you’re a vagrant.
  • 8:32pm | Notice that there are no posters or marquees at the bar telling of the gig.*
  • 9:15pm | Band wives/girlfriends begin to get annoyed that no one’s there.
  • 9:30pm | Promoter comes in looking quite rushed, says that they want to start bands at 10:00pm.
  • 9:32pm | Start setting up.
  • 9:47pm | Get told some other band is playing 1st, so & so in 3rd band has to go work night shift, so you’re playing cleanup.
  • 10:00pm | Hear bartender or promoter tell band #1 to hold off, to wait for more people to arrive.
  • 10:03pm | Band wives/girlfriends have perfected the stink eye.
  • 10:23pm | Band #1 plugs in, and tunes… at full volume, no pedals/tuners.
  • 10:32pm | Band #1 gets the go ahead.  Vocals inaudible.
  • 10:41pm | Equipment malfunction on 3rd song.  Someone scrambles to change a string, get a new amp head, get a new kick pedal, or borrow a guitar.
  • 10:50pm | Band #1 resumes after finding a solution while someone form the band or the crowd sees the chance for an open-mic night comedy routine.
  • 10:51pm | Vocals now audible.  Wish they were inaudible.
  • 11:15pm | Band rocks on, stopping after the 3rd “OK this is our last song” song, to remark “oh, we didn’t play ‘such & such’ yet!”
  • 11:23pm | Band #1 on 37th verse of “such & such”, heading into extended solos.
  • 11:35pm | Band #1 is done, starts “tearing down”.
  • 11:52pm | Band #1 finally off stage.
  • 12:15am | Band #2 up & ready to go.  Inexplicably sets stuff down & walks off stage.
  • 12:16am | People who have come to see you have asked for the 497th time what time you’re going on.  Wives/girlfriends give them the stink eye.
  • 12:29am | Band #2 comes back, double-fisting beers… ready to apparently rock.
  • 12:35am | Band #2 has successfully cleared the room, they bill themselves as “performance art” and “experimental”.
  • 12:42am | Despite the experiment gone horribly awry, you realize so & so that was supposed to leave for work hasn’t done so yet.
  • 12:51am | “This is our last song…” starts out, with a story about the last song.
  • 1:01am | Last “song” finally ends & tear-down begins as your band is placing stuff on the stage.
  • 1:10am | Sound guy yells at you for taking too long to set up, bar owner says you have to be done by 2:00am.
  • 1:15am | You’re set up, plugged in, & playing.
  • 1:16am | Realize no one from band #1 or band #2 is in the room.
  • 1:30am | People looking at their watches… except the old guy who is almost on stage with you & is so drunk he thinks you’re his favorite band from the 70’s.
  • 1:45am | Old guy professes his smelly drunken love for your band as you decide which songs to cut from the set list & what to end on.
  • 1:55am | Tear down/clean-up.
  • 1:59am | If you can find promoter, he tells you he gave all door cash to band #1 or band #2  because they “drove in from B.F.E.”
  • 2:15am | Head to a diner to get some breakfast… because you sure won’t be awake during normal breakfast hours.

*This being said… it is not the bar’s job to promote your show.  Bands need to learn to advertise.  Promoters need to advertise too.  Take posters to the bar, I bet they’ll let you put them up, or even do it for you… but a marquee or dry erase board would be nice.

So, what does your timeline look like?

One response to “Bar Band Show Timeline

  1. Pingback: The path is clear | World (and Lunar) Domination

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