Tag Archives: gig

Gig Checklists


Jim Dunlop Tortex Fin PicksInspired by a post called Gig Preparation, I thought I’d make some checklists.  I think we’ll need one (and a half) for our stuff, one for setting up the gig, and one for doing stuff at the gig.  The lists would change depending on who’s working the gig or who set it up, but you should be able to help with the flow of things even if you’re not the organizer.  This is also from the point of view of a guitar player, because that’s all I’ve ever been.  I’m guessing it would be the same for a bass player & quite similar for a drummer.

Gig Checklists…

-·♠·-

Before the gig:

☐ Get all the details in order:

☐ The bands
☐ The place
☐ The time
☐ The price
☐ All ages or 21+
☐ Is it a benefit?
☐ Any specials if it’s a bar?
☐ Selling tickets?

.
Promote!

☐ …using social media - Link the crap out of details/event pages.
Flyers - Hang ‘em up, pass ‘em out.
☐ Word of mouth

.
☐ Communicate with the other bands…

☐ Sharing equipment? - Cut down on changeovers between bands.
☐ Playing order?

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☐ Do you need your own door person?

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Stuff to take:

☐ Guitar - In a case or gig bag, I actually saw a guy use a bath-towel once.
☐ Backup guitar(s) - Don’t kill the show when you break a string.
☐ Amp head & cab (or combo)
☐ The merch box(es)
☐ Your gig backpack or briefcase. (“What’s that.” you ask? Keep reading!)

.

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An acoustic guitar string. 0.044-inch (1.117 m...I make sure to have my backpack full o’ stuff with me at every gig.  Over the years, every item in it has proved useful and one time or another.

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In The Gig Backpack or Briefcase:

☐ Tuner (Get a pedal one, so no one can hear you tune.)
Wireless system (Certainly not a necessity, but fun.)
9V battery (Are the lithium ones OK for pedals?)
☐ Guitar cables (1 more than you need)
☐ Speaker cables (1 more than you need)
Strings (At least a full set, …any leftovers you’ve got should be in there.)
☐ Extra power cord
Power Strip (w/ Circuit Breaker)
3-Prong to 2-Prong adapter (or 2)
Duct Tape or Gaff Tape (or both… Gaff doesn’t leave a mess.)
☐ Tablet (Setlists, Merch Prices, Boredom)
☐ A sharpie or 2 (Setlists, Rock Star Autographs)
☐ A Leatherman-type tool. (Crazy or not-so crazy.)
☐ Guitar picks (I use Jim Dunlop Fins.)
☐ An Extra Strap
☐ Flashlight (A really bright one helps)
☐ Extension Cord

[::( )::]

Stuff that I don’t have, but might be a good idea…

☐ Pedal(s) - Wah, Distortion, Foot Switch, Etc.
Mic clip(s)
String Winder
☐ Pick strip or holder
Slide / eBow / Capo
☐ Strap locks
Trem poker
☐ Ear plugs
☐ Nail clippers
☐ acetaminophen / ibuprofen / aspirin
☐ Band-aids
☐ Cloth or towel

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\m/_(-_-)_\m/

At the gig:

☐ Set stuff on the stage for the 1st band & any bands sharing
Backline the “main” act if there is one & set up in front of them.
☐ Tune (Silently! – No one likes the tuning song! – Tune your backup guitar too.)
Let the Sound Technician do their job.
☐ Set up a Merch Table/Corner/Counter/Box.
☐ Put your door person at the door.
☐ Using a setlist? Reach into that backpack & get one made!
☐ Have a drink? Water, Beer, or something harder.
☐ Tune Again (Silently! – No one likes the tuning song!)
☐ Unless you’re awesome & have a tech, get a string-wingman.

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Danelectro Vintage Power Source A cool looking...

I’m sure there’s stuff I’m forgetting, but I think this is a pretty decent start.  What do you think I’m missing from the list?  Do you have an emergency gig kit?  What’s in it?

D'Andrea Gmk1 Guitar Cleaner Maintenance Kit

Psst… It’s a bar, not a stadium.


Sound Mixing deskI’m always amused when I’m out at a bar gig (whether playing or just attending) and I hear bands spitting directions to the person at the soundboard.  Let the sound guy do his or her job.  (Is there a feminine or neutral  form of “Sound Guy” that doesn’t sound dumb?)

Sure you can ask for a level adjustment if something’s drastically off, but don’t demand.  It makes you look like a pompous ass.  Then again it’s rock and roll, and it’s a bar.  There are monitors at all?  What a luxury!  If you can’t plow your way through a set on instinct with your band mates & sound somewhat in-synch, it’s time to find a new band.  So shut up, grab a beer, and play… Rock Star.

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?

Bar Gigs – Are you experienced?


Guitar Squid | Timeline of a Bar Gig
Guitar Squid | Timeline of a Bar Gig

So, I found another amusing Guitar Squid article; Timeline of a Bar Gig. It made me laugh.

Lately, I’m digging all the stuff that I find at Guitar Squid, Guitar Fail, & The Guitarz Blog.

While amusing, their bar gig timeline runs completely different from one that I’d put together.  I’d like to make my own, maybe a little less jaded.  There’s several subsets of bar-gigs, and it depends wholly on the bar, the type of band, and the crowd.

Before I do that, I’d like to see yours.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in a band, just a person who goes to shows… or even the bar, promoter, or the sound guy.  I’d like to see the timeline from all parties involved.  If your drummer can read, is he tired of the drummer-bashing?

Envisage Your Ideal Concert


Okay.  You just found out that you’re secretly related to Oprah, and since she knows you’re a huge music fan… she’s letting you put together the concert of all concerts to celebrate.  Since you have Oprah money, you pretty much have no limit there, but you are limited to bands that are alive and actively together, or that you believe could be reasonably brought back together with a little grea$ing of the wheels.  Example… you’re probably not going to get Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite or (even the Illusions tour) lineup to get on stage together… but you probably could get Steven Tyler & Joe Perry in the same room.

Put together the whole thing…

  • The Venue: A small club?  A stadium or amphitheater?  Your living room?
  • The Run: Is it a one-night-only deal, or is this a 3-day festival?
  • The Name: Every killer show has to have a killer title.  No “w00t-stock”, please.
  • The Bands: Who’s playing & in what order?  Bonus points for linking to ‘em.
  • Added Insanity: Want a 20 minute drum solo with Neil Peart & Lars Ulrich?  Want an unplugged duet with Danzig & Shakira?  Want GWAR to disembowel you on the stage?  A guitar battle between Eric Clapton and Slash?  Want all the bands to do nothing but Black Sabbath covers?  Can’t hurt to throw the idea out there!
  • Micro-Manage: If you really want to get nuts, what do you want to see in each performer’s setlist?  Either highlights or the whole thing.

I’ll think about mine while you post yours in the comments below, and in a few days or so I’ll revisit the whole idea in another blog post.  Links to bands’ websites, videos, and music strongly encouraged!

 

Ernie and the Berts


So, I’m in a band again.  We’ve only been jamming for a short while now, but the chaos is already well underway.  We decided to play an open stage night before we were ready, just because we could.  I dig this momentum/vibe.  Plus, I got to break out the FlipOut guitar for its first show!  I didn’t realize how much I miss gigging out.  It’s addictive.

As far as a style, it’s still taking shape… but right now it’s stripped down punk/rock/pop, and it’s sloppy.  We’ll have some covers, some originals, whatever we feel like as time goes on, I guess.  Most importantly, we’re having fun.  If you’ve seen a handful of local ‘Burgh bands in the past 10 years, chances are you’ll recognize all the players here.

For more about E&tB in the future, keep watching…

To see what you missed, here’s almost our entire 3-song set thanks to Bethany.  Watch your speakers… her camera didn’t like our volume, I guess.

Ernie and the Berts “Suffragette City” (Live) Mon. June 28th, 2010 @ the Thunderbird Cafe

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHX_H9bg4uA

Ernie and the Berts “Radio, Radio”/”Hot N Cold” (Live) Mon. June 28th, 2010 @ the Thunderbird Cafe

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzbwYG0Sa0I

And, there are a few photos (thanks again to Bethany)…

Ernie and the Berts @ the Thunderbird Cafe - Mon. June 28th, 2010 - Lawrenceville (Pittsburgh), PA

Ernie and the Berts @ the Thunderbird Cafe - Mon. June 28th, 2010 - Lawrenceville (Pittsburgh), PA

I also have to say that I also learned that the Thunderbird Cafe in Lawrenceville is awesome.  It’s a great room, it has a menu devoid of shellfish, and the crowd was a nice mellow mix form all walks of life.  While I’m at it, host band Craig King & CBG Connection were awesome dudes.  They were very welcoming, and they rocked the place out with some funk/blues/rock/jazz insanity.

If for some reason you want both videos, you can get a zip of both of them in mp4 format here:  http://drop.io/EatB_06282010_TBC