Question for regular giggers, bandleaders and organizers

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davdud101
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2018/06/27 18:11:46 (permalink)

Question for regular giggers, bandleaders and organizers

 Hey guys!!
 
So I run and play in a handful of ‘modular’/ever-changing groups/bands within my church ranging from basically a 3- or 4-piece "pop" group (piano/guitar/bass/drums) to small combo band backing a vocalist, all the way up to full-on big band backing up choir. We perform maybe once every 1 or 2 months.
 
One issue we've had many times is trying to coordinate with our sound/tech people effectively. Especially with making sure the sound guys know who needs to be mic’d where/when (i.e., who is performing).
Another issue we’re facing a little bit now is that I’m leading the planning for about a week of musical performances, but we don’t have a really solid method for making sure all the music is easily made available (like an online database or something). Right now what we’re doing is using the app “Telegram” and simply sending out a multi-page pdf containing essentially a list of who is performing where and when, plus all of the links to Dropbox folders containing their music. It works okay but it can visually be a bit confusing for people who just hop in and glance at it and don’t take a minute to study the information thoroughly.
 
 
It's gotten a LOT better since the 1.5 years since I began, but I know it can be more efficient, because if bigger groups and venues ran stuff this way, there’s no way they’d meet deadlines or hit quality standards.
 
Does anyone have any "things"; tips, documents, templates, methods, that can help make these processes smoother and more streamlined?
 
Dave

 
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11 Replies Related Threads

    Starise
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    Re: Question for regular giggers, bandleaders and organizers 2018/06/27 19:48:49 (permalink)
    I do a similar thing davdud101 but only one group of irregular folks. We have constant problems with the sound techs. I seriously considered throwing in the towel.
     
    I simply send a group text a day or two before the event with the song list on it. Maybe text the sound crew with their info too. Everyone is on cell phones nowadays so it makes sense. I leave it up to them to find the music in the right keys. 
     
    Loop Community.com and multitracks.com  or alternately praisecharts.com are the places I use. The first two can set you up with tracks online for the band so long as they have wifi. They can play to the songs at home before the event. I mostly use the full multi track versions because we are too small to fill all the gaps.

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    #2
    dwardzala
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    Re: Question for regular giggers, bandleaders and organizers 2018/06/28 14:25:22 (permalink)
    Our church uses Planning Center to share the music.  I am actually one of the sound techs there.  Communication with the sound techs is the key.  We have a pretty standard set up so I don't have to move stuff around much.  I think that helps things a lot.

    Dave
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    Check out my original music:
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    #3
    Sixfinger
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    Re: Question for regular giggers, bandleaders and organizers 2018/07/02 14:40:15 (permalink)

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    wst3
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    Re: Question for regular giggers, bandleaders and organizers 2018/07/03 16:41:12 (permalink)
    Stage Designer looks cool, but as a cranky old sound guy, and a gigging guitarist I think the solution to the first issue is simple communications. Talk to the leader responsible for the sound system and ask them what they need.

    It will probably be a simple list:
    Part A: who is playing what?
    Part B: what songs are planned?
    Part C: who is featured on each song?
     
    I'm quite accustomed to getting this sort of list at the start of sound check (when there is a sound check) or maybe 30 minutes before the downbeat. Not ideal, but what is? And if you get me that list a few days out I'm almost happy!

    Not really your job, but if they haven't "color coded" the microphones yet you might suggest it. Not absolutely necessary, but if there is a unexpected guest performer, or an unexpected tune requested it can make life a little easier.

    The rest? I'll leave that for someone else...

    -- Bill
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    #5
    Starise
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    Re: Question for regular giggers, bandleaders and organizers 2018/07/05 14:08:35 (permalink)
    Deleted by me.
     
     
    post edited by Starise - 2018/07/06 12:16:32

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    #6
    Leadfoot
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    Re: Question for regular giggers, bandleaders and organizers 2018/07/07 17:59:50 (permalink)
    dwardzala
    Our church uses Planning Center to share the music.  I am actually one of the sound techs there.  Communication with the sound techs is the key.  We have a pretty standard set up so I don't have to move stuff around much.  I think that helps things a lot.

    We use Planning Center, also. It's a great tool for communicating arrangements to your team, posting mp3s, and staff music as well.
    #7
    Jim Roseberry
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    Re: Question for regular giggers, bandleaders and organizers 2018/08/01 18:38:38 (permalink)
    wst3
    Stage Designer looks cool, but as a cranky old sound guy, and a gigging guitarist I think the solution to the first issue is simple communications. Talk to the leader responsible for the sound system and ask them what they need.

    It will probably be a simple list:
    Part A: who is playing what?
    Part B: what songs are planned?
    Part C: who is featured on each song?
     
    I'm quite accustomed to getting this sort of list at the start of sound check (when there is a sound check) or maybe 30 minutes before the downbeat. Not ideal, but what is? And if you get me that list a few days out I'm almost happy!

    Not really your job, but if they haven't "color coded" the microphones yet you might suggest it. Not absolutely necessary, but if there is a unexpected guest performer, or an unexpected tune requested it can make life a little easier.

    The rest? I'll leave that for someone else...




    Excellent points, Bill.
     
    I play a fair bit in Central Ohio.
    Communication is absolutely key.
    A nice friendly conversation with the Sound Guy/Girl goes a long way.
    Tell the sound engineer what you need.  If you need adjustments, tell them.
     
    At this point, we've played a lot of shows... so I don't feel the need for a full sound-check.
    Extended sound-checks are annoying to patrons... band members... and sound engineers.   
    As long as I have a decent line-check, I'm good-to-go.
    A competent sound engineer can dial-in the mix "on-the-fly".
     
    Get the sound engineer a stage-plot (as mentioned above)… preferably ahead of show day... and make sure they have a Set-List.  You can add details to the Set-List.  This eliminates a lot of unexpected issues.
     
    Simplify your live setup... so that load-in, set-up, and load-out are quick/easy.
    ie:  We use a computer to trigger samples.  If we had to connect everything individually, it would significant time.
    Having the computer and audio interface setup (ready to go) in a Rack makes setup a breeze.
    Connect electric, audio, and the MIDI controllers... and it's ready to go.
    If you're a guitar player, have your wireless, pedals, etc (preconfigured) on a Pedal-Board.
    Connect electric and audio... and you're ready to go.
     
    IMO, Nothing worse than scrambling to get gear setup right before start time.
    You've got pre-show "jitters", folks often want to talk while you're setting up gear, etc.
    Ideally, I like to have all gear set-up and ready to go about an hour before show time.
    That gives me plenty of time to relax, warm-up the voice, and mingle with the crowd.
     
    Mingling with the crowd is important.  Don't be the guy/gal who runs and hides during break.
    Folks want to feel like they're a part of something (your show). 
    Taking time to talk with them before/after show (and during breaks) can help solidify a following.
     
    Back to the sound.
    ALWAYS hire commercial sound!
    Cannot emphasize this enough.
    Some bands think they're saving money (and can charge less) by running sound from stage.
    Running sound from stage will never ever sound great.
    Things will be out of balance, solos will not be properly heard, often vocals are too loud/soft, etc.
    A sound engineer actively mixing the show makes a *profound* difference in the final result.
    That same band that runs sound from stage may be a $500 band.
    With commercial sound, the same exact band is an $800 band.
    The guys make the same money, don't have to schlep PA, and sound significantly better.
    Commercial sound... don't play gigs without it.
     
    When playing the show, don't be the band that takes 30-60 seconds between songs.
    Nothing kills energy quicker than disorganized bands trying to decide what they're playing next.
    Once you've gotten used to a band playing songs boom, boom, boom (little to no stops), there's a huge difference in energy.  Ladies get up and dancing... and you keep them there.
     
    I'm all about the crowd.
    IMO, The show should be a lot more about them... and a lot less about the actual band.
    If there are any (large) egos in the band, this helps keep that in-check.
    Play songs the crowd is going to love to hear.
    They may not be your favorite songs... but when you hear folks singing back to you during performance, you'll suddenly realize why you're playing that song.
     
    If you're in a bar setting, a little bit of booze is ok.
    However, you have a responsibility to yourself, the band, and the crowd to be able to play/perform to the best of your ability.  Sloppy drunk doesn't work on any stage large or small.
    Have fun... but be professional.
     
    Fun... 
    If you're not looking like you're having a good time, chances are your crowd won't be.
    Engage them.  If you're having a good time... giving them energy... they'll give it right back to you.
    That's the amazing "rush" from performing... the back/forth energy.
     
    Be prepared for the show. 
    Be as well rehearsed as possible.
    Plan ahead for potential problems with gear (extra cables, etc).
    Have a backup guitar/instrument... or a backup if your tube-amp decides to die mid-show.
    Don't assume that everything will automatically go as planned.
    If something happens (tube-amp dies mid-show), handle it in a calm-professional manner.
    If you're well-prepared for such things, you can move quickly/smoothly to "Plan B".
     
     
     

    Best Regards,

    Jim Roseberry
    jim@studiocat.com
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    #8
    mettelus
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    Re: Question for regular giggers, bandleaders and organizers 2018/08/02 16:28:40 (permalink)
    Another simple point with communications, especially if this entails (most of) the same folks each run, is to get feedback right after doing things. In all of the hubbub there is no time, but if not gotten while fresh in people's minds afterwards, it is more likely to repeat next go round. Five minutes of postmortem can save an hour of preparation for next time.

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    fireberd
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    Re: Question for regular giggers, bandleaders and organizers 2018/08/04 10:16:17 (permalink)
    I'm the bandleader in our Cowboy Church band.  Its a small church and we don't mic any of the instruments.  We have a board but unfortunately no one "Qualified" to run the board so the mic volumes are not always correct.  I try to help to get them set before church but it seems they get changed during the music portion.
     
     

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    #10
    Starise
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    Re: Question for regular giggers, bandleaders and organizers 2018/08/04 21:11:33 (permalink)
    mettelus
    Another simple point with communications, especially if this entails (most of) the same folks each run, is to get feedback right after doing things. In all of the hubbub there is no time, but if not gotten while fresh in people's minds afterwards, it is more likely to repeat next go round. Five minutes of postmortem can save an hour of preparation for next time.


    Great idea. We recently introduced backing tracks. The feedback from members really helped. We don't use em' all the time but spread them out in sets. This week I probably won't use them at all. For those who have the problem fireberd mentioned, I have found it's easier to control everything from the stage. This doesn't eliminate the problems completely but it minimizes them.
     
    We have the same hardware every week. I simply feed one mono track through a decent D-box to the house board and send the second channel with the click to ONLY a headphone amp sending out multiple monitor outs to the players wearing IEM's. 
     
    I'll admit there were a few bumps in getting to something that worked. Feedback was very helpful. Word of advice- If picking backing tracks, don't pick tracks in high keys or tracks with unusually long fills between verse/chorus if people are following along. 
     
    I buy the  stems so I can better control the individual elements of the mix from my laptop. If you are ok with a basic two track mix you could use any smart phone or an ipad. Loopcommunity.com has a decent iPad app called Prime that allows multi track control from an iPad. I downloaded it but haven't used it because I prefer the laptop. They are soon to release their own interface made especially for this. It has a bunch of monitor out channels.
    What I was trying to tell davedud if he hasn't died is that you can share your selections with everyone on the team using Prime. All they need do is access it. 

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    #11
    davdud101
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    Re: Question for regular giggers, bandleaders and organizers 2018/08/05 13:18:12 (permalink)
    I'm still here, Tim! 
     
    Thanks a lot for the useful feedback so far, guys! Great ideas and good insight from experienced guys, as usual.
     
    What y'all's methods for managing rehearsal time/dates? And what a regular set/show look like for you? These have probably been answered in the past weeks, I'll go back through and have another look later)

     
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