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Does your band constantly change the setlist?

Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by BallisticSquid, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 12, 2016
    Mine does. This time around it's been tweaked over the past couple of weeks. We have a gig on Saturday and today the supposedly final setlist rolled out.

    Each show (which at the moment is about one every other month) 5 or 6 new songs are added. We find out which ones are being replaced maybe a week before the gig. We practice every week.

    Personally, I think it prevents us from becoming really tight. We were getting really tight, but then all this shuffling things around started to happen. It's not going to stop either I've been told. Because I'm spending time learning new songs, I'm not practicing the old ones.

    I don't see how a band can be tight when things are in constant flux regarding the setlist. In my past experience (my duo), we'd shuffle the setlist and it took a while to adjust to it. We did that once. There's a groove you get into.

    What do you think...does a constantly shifting setlist order impact how tight a band is?
    circles, joe_cpwe, Sarnodude and 2 others like this.
  2. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 1, 2009
    My house.
    Yeah, I think there is a right way and a wrong way to do it.

    My band doesnt add new stuff often enough. We are super tight.

    Dont you have a say?
  3. davidKOS

    davidKOS Musical Hermit Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 28, 2012
    Changing a setlist only affect the tightness of a band if they have not really learned the tunes as well as possible to begin with. It shouldn't matter if all the material is equally well known and well played - I like changing a setlist at least enough to allow a group to play all their tunes in rotation.

    Do you guys practice all the repertoire in between gigs or only work on the upcoming set?

    and, do you guys "learn" tunes on the gig?

    BTW, this is the kind of think I enjoy NOT thinking about since I semi-retired from gigging.
  4. s5tuart

    s5tuart My Dad used to say.... Strat-Talk Supporter

    I love a constantly changing set list. It keeps everyone fresh and on their toes.
    To illustrate what I mean, go to see a band that has been playing the same numbers for years. You might find they are boring!
  5. PatoLoco

    PatoLoco Strat-Talker

    Aug 21, 2015
    Fullerton, CA
    I prefer to keep it the same, that way cool transitions can be made to connect each song without ever stopping the music. I don’t get care if I get bored of playing the songs in a certain order, I’m there to entertain and entertaining is fun to me.
    abnormaltoy and BallisticSquid like this.
  6. Electgumbo

    Electgumbo Lost Planet Airman Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 26, 2010
    Scott La.
    We change the list every gig. It’s geared more to the type of gig it is. If it’s a private thing like a wedding we front load it with old classic Soul and R’B. From experience we know nobody will dance right off the bat. They all saying “Hi” to family and friends and raiding the buffet! So we really don’t want to disturb them much at first. Just nice tunes like Motown, Aretha ... Staple Singers ... if they dance great but if they don’t no big deal. We don’t panic. The second half of the set becomes more funky and modern cause now they done ate had a few drinks and are getting in the mood to party.

    The second set is all Classic Rock, Big Dance Tunes and Hippity Hop. If they still there by then they are lit and too drunk to care. The party is ON!

    Club gigs we go for the throat right off the bat and don’t let up until it’s break time... the Second set is the same way. Only a few slow songs in each set. We just pound them!

    We’ve been learning a lot of new material also. We’ll see what sticks and what falls by the way side. But we know a ton of tunes so tossing in a few new ones doesn’t upset the Apple cart to much. We have the meat and potatoes of the show down so a few new ones don’t effect it much.
  7. DickBanks

    DickBanks Strat-Talker

    May 2, 2017
    Olathe, KS
    Changes every week. We don't do the same song in 6 months to a year. Often we add/delete on the fly. Yell out the title and the key, and away we go. I love it!
  8. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 12, 2016
    What we do is we focus on only new stuff for about 5 weeks. 3 weeks out from a gig, we'll start "running sets" where we'll run through one set at a practice and then get back to new stuff. We play 3 sets at a gig.

    "Running sets" is done based on the setlist from the previous gig. So once gig time comes, it's all different...different order, some songs replaced, etc.

    Through repetition I hone in on certain ways of playing a song...I may change chord voicings at certain points, add some overdrive at a certain point. They are seemingly minor things, but to me it's how I really "own" a song. Enough time will go by that I'll forget some of these things and remember them once the song is done, or in the middle of the song I'll think "oh, I forgot to do <whatever it was>".

    The songs that are added are almost always things the others have played before. So for them it's easy...not so for me. So I'm the weak link here. Not being allowed to become comfortable with the sets perpetuates this and I don't like it. Who wants to constantly feel like the weakest link? :)

    Part of the problem is that we aren't gigging very frequently. That's not by choice...we are having a hard time getting gigs.

    And no, I don't really have a say. They slough off my concerns and say "oh, you'll be fine".
    davidKOS and abnormaltoy like this.
  9. Electgumbo

    Electgumbo Lost Planet Airman Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 26, 2010
    Scott La.

    We call it the “Shoot From The Hip” if we don’t use a list at all and run it all together
    abnormaltoy likes this.
  10. mw13068

    mw13068 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 29, 2009
    Ithaca, NY
    Most of the projects I work with come up with a list at most a couple of days before the show. One of the frontmen decides just before a gig what the list will be.

    That's now how I would do it, but I roll with it. Beats not having bands to gig with at all.

    There are a couple of gigs each year that I get invited to play (drums), and I have no idea what the songs are going to be. I (and the lead and bass guitarists) just let the rhythm guitar/singer start, and then we jump in. The audience doesn't mind. Those gigs are actually pretty fun, because there IS such a thing as songs being "practiced to death."

    Being in a band is an exercise in "roll with it" in many different ways.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  11. abnormaltoy

    abnormaltoy BushBaby Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 28, 2013

    Y'all have a big band, how often is practice? Are some better than others about keeping up with practices?
  12. Wrighty

    Wrighty Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 7, 2013
    Harlow, Essex, UK
    I agree, get a bass gig list really tight then add numbers that can be added or substituted as and when.
    Vary these when you play a return gig. Most established bands I’ve played with use a core list but go with the audience reaction. If a ‘slowy’ falls flat and the next in the list is a slowy, pull it. If two up tempo numbers fill the floor, throw in a third.
  13. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 1, 2009
    My house.
    I guess it depends on the individual and how much you gig. I tend to need review a lot when we havent gigged in a while. Some guys, once they know it, they know it. I literally have stuff going in in one ear and pushing things out the other.
  14. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 1, 2009
    My house.
    Youre drummming right? I know there are signature drum parts but, drummers can get away with a lot if they are good. And I would guess they are songs everyone has done together before?
    abnormaltoy and BallisticSquid like this.
  15. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 1, 2009
    My house.
    I guess you guys are either very good or very bad.
  16. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 12, 2016
    That's where I'm at...not the way I would do things but this situation is better than not being in a band at all. I'm learning to roll with it and I do what I can. Sometimes though I hate thinking about how much better my contribution would be if things were less chaotic. It's not about me...far from it :). As a side note, I'm not a perfectionist, but I feel strongly about doing something to the best of my given ability.

    In my previous bands, there were other issues I had to "roll with". The nature of the beast.
  17. mw13068

    mw13068 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 29, 2009
    Ithaca, NY
    Yes. Most of the songs we've done at least once before, although a new one gets thrown in here and there. It's all rock and roll, and easy to make sound decent.

    Yes, I'm almost entirely drumming these days. Turns out I'm a better drummer than a guitar player. And much more in-demand, definitely.

    I've found that if I keep it simple (pocket), keep the groove going, and don't play too loud, I can fit in anywhere. Because one of the basic tenets of the drumming world is: nobody pays attention to a drummer, unless he is terrible. :)
  18. carolinaeasy

    carolinaeasy Senior Stratmaster

    My band will start each night out with a set list of about 45 tunes over three sets that we will play. But more often than not, we start going into songs that aren't on the list depending on the crowd. So what we have started doing is having the "dancy time" list of songs that we will break into if the crowd is rolling. These are typically five to six songs we play in succession to get people on the dance floor and gets them to boogie.
  19. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 21, 2010
    We used to shuffle the set list 3 times a week, sometimes we shuffled the band members just as often. It depends how well each member of the band knows his parts.
    BallisticSquid likes this.
  20. carolinaeasy

    carolinaeasy Senior Stratmaster

    Yeah, we never use the same set list twice. We play about 100 different tunes, and the combos are endless, and we are adding new songs all the time. American Girl and You and Me by Petty were our latest additions.