Who The Hell Cares What Other Bands Are On The Bill? (as a performer)

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by vilk, Jul 26, 2019.

Do you even care?

  1. I care a lot

    16 vote(s)
    36.4%
  2. I care a little

    17 vote(s)
    38.6%
  3. I don't care (barring something totally offensive or racist or political etc)

    11 vote(s)
    25.0%
  1. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Only if this is an entirely new venue for you, and even then it's a stretch - or at best a generalization that can't apply all the time. The mix of genres or not aren't reaaaally going to make a difference as to which one presents a better networking opportunity. But more faces can sometimes mean a better show overall. But again, it's all generalization.
     
  2. McKay

    McKay ʎɐʞɔW

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    See my above post. Say you're the metal band at a big funk gig. You win over all the bands on the bill. You win over half the audience. They all go buy £££ worth of merch and plaster themselves in stickers. That merch and those stickers are less likely to be going in front of people who'll be receptive to your music. You'll make sales, it'll be great, but you're not getting the most out of those sales in reach.

    Honestly if you have the time and money to do both kinds of gigs that's great, but my experience has been that being careful which gigs you play pays off really well. There are exceptions, sometimes being the odd band out works to your favour HARD, but it's circumstantial. I was in a metalcore band and a hardcore band at the same time a few years ago and both bands played to each other's crowds a few times. Generally the hardcore band won over the metalcore crowd but the reverse was almost never the case.

    Another example would be deathcore and death metal 2008-12. One way receptiveness: death metal bands would win over deathcore fans, deathcore bands would very rarely win over death metal fans. I say this as a death metal guy who absolutely loved deathcore. I feel like the exception that proves the rule. :lol:
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019
  3. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. My argument was against the idea that playing to a variety of just other bands in an otherwise practically-empty venue is more valuable than any crowd at all (regardless of genre matching) on the basis of the other bands being "influencers". Be picky about shows, sure. Sometimes you need to match up genres strategically, sure. But a venue with zero audience outside of the other bands members and their girlfriends is not a successful show in my books, even if you've impressed everyone involved. If they were THAT worth impressing, they'd have brought a crowd with them, no?
     
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  4. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    I'm pretty sure this is what I was trying to say earlier.
    Nobody moans about this unless the other bands/promoters are the only people in the room, and if they're the only ones in the room, they're not influencers or otherwise they wouldn't be the only ones in the room.
    My theory is only play shows you would go to. Mixed bill, stacked genre bill, whatever. If you're not interested in the show because the artists on it, there's a good chance your audience won't be there (in theory, anyways).
     
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  5. McKay

    McKay ʎɐʞɔW

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    We just disagree on the basic principle here man, I think that playing to a smaller crowd with better networking opportunities is better than the reverse. Respect to you but we just feel differently about this one. I've been in bands that have landed fantastic shows in places we wouldn't have been able to from playing with bands in pretty small shows, who knew other bands/promoters/managers etc and word of mouth spreading. If we'd chosen larger, mixed bill shows instead those opportunities would be much less likely to come up so my experience biases me pretty strongly to one side on this one.

    I don't think I ever said about playing to totally empty venues, it kinda goes without saying that doing that isn't exactly desirable but I'd still say there are gigs where doing that is better than playing a busier show with no networking opportunities in the long run. Again, all in the context of mixed bills vs curated bills. Nobody aims for empty shows.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019
  6. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    I am probably mistaken here, but I like to hope that the production company/booker appreciates the effort from the Monday night opener band playing in front of an empty room and might make a moderate effort to get them on a better bill the next time?
     
  7. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    We're getting further from the original topic, but IME a promoter is probably thinking that opening band didn't do shit to try and get people there on a Monday night and will ask them to handle presales the next time around before they book them again.
     
  8. Humbuck

    Humbuck Can't stop, won't stop

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    Of course I care!
     
  9. xwmucradiox

    xwmucradiox sweep.tap.sweep

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    If you're in an instrumental prog/doom/whatever band you may not realize this but an instrumental band will clear a room faster than the most extreme band. Extreme is better. It usually captures folks' attention. An instrumental band on a bill with bands that all have vocals will almost always be the band people go outside for. Unless you're Chon and everyone is there to see you. But that's never the case.

    My experience with all of this is that its very difficult to get away with being 'interesting' but out of context for the bill if you don't grab folks' attention within the first 5 seconds. I used to be in a tech metal/post rock band that had two sets. One started with an 8 minute instrumental post rock song and the other started with a 2 minute shred fest. If we played the first set the room cleared within 30 seconds. If we played the second set people stayed for the whole 25 minutes. I've spent the first 10 years of my playing clear being out of place and clearing the room. Sure one or two people would be stoked on the music but we cleared the room and some of those people didn't come back for the rest of the bands. Its better to play a show where the people coming to see bands are likely to be into the baseline style all the bands are playing.
     
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  10. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    Playing in an instrumental band that gets booked on everything from random prog to death metal and grindcore, I think the key is as you mentioned, getting them right off the bat. We have a short creepy soundscape and then a song that just a barrage of riffs, and we rarely clear a room (unless we're playing with mostly core-type bands, they don't have the patience without someone telling them what to do at all times, lol)
     
  11. McKay

    McKay ʎɐʞɔW

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    There's so much cross-taste in metal that unless you're matching power metal with grindcore it'll probably go over just fine as long as people are expecting something mixed.
     
  12. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    One might think Chicago has a pretty decent instrumental metal scene, with bands like Bongripper, Russian Circles, and Pelican all being local. That's the kind of bill I would want to get on... it's just I'm sure those are the bills everyone instrumental or otherwise wants to get on, too. The other day this pretty small-time local band that we played with before got to open for Conan. I'm like, damn, how did they get on that bill. It's because the dude from the band is friends with the promoter. So I guess some of the stuff that McKay is saying rings true.
     
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  13. KailM

    KailM SS.org Regular

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    To play the devil's advocate to some of the comments in this thread, I recently attended the Fire in the Mountains festival near Jackson, Wyoming, which was predominantly black metal and death metal bands (Saor, Ruins of Beverast, Wolves in the Throne Room, Blood Incantation/Spectral Voice). There were a couple acts on the bill that were questionable at first; Munly and the Lupercalians and Slim Cessna's Auto Club (share some members). I don't know quite what to call those bands, but they certainly weren't metal at all. Maybe psychedelic country/bluegrass rockabilly Americana?

    Anyway, when they went onstage I was kinda like "what do we have here?" But once they started playing, people got into it, were dancing and grooving, drinking beers to it, applauding, etc. I saw nobody just walking away in disrespect. And these were black metal fans.

    I guess my point is, even us extreme metalheads are not necessarily as closed-minded as some might think. I definitely have my preferences as far as albums I'll purchase and listen to, but in a live setting I can appreciate the efforts of just about any type of act. I've even enjoyed most of the country shows I've attended, yet I'd never purchase a country album made after 1985.
     
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  14. xwmucradiox

    xwmucradiox sweep.tap.sweep

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    Big markets can be worse because there are so many bands that people can afford to be picky. In a small market people are just happy to have steady shows, especially metal shows. In a bigger city there is so much to do and see on a given night that people are less likely to indulge a band they dont already like. The “how did THEY get on that bill” happens everywhere and its always a genre mismatch comedy.
     
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  15. MerlinTKD

    MerlinTKD EIght.Fold.Path / Hinge Theory Contributor

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    First off, I wanna know where the hell some of y’all are at where you can afford to turn down gigs :rofl:

    Secondly... unless I’m the one creating the bill, no, I don’t care. Put me on stage. Other acts suck? Makes me look better. Other acts are awesome? Worst case scenario is I learn how and why they’re better. Some odd-fitting act loses the crowd? It’s my job to entertain, it’s up to me to bring ‘em back. My band is the odd fit? We kick ass and win some converts.

    My band is a half-cover/half-original 90’s/00’s style; the bands around here I most want to play gigs with are an emo/shoegaze act, a couple melodic metal groups, and solo act that’s kinda half Tori Amos, half Contortionist. But if the local 80’s throwback band said “come play” my ass would be there. If some teenagers I’d never met said “we’ve got a paying gig, cone open for us” my ass would be there (I might get the $$ upfront in that case, but still :lol:)

    Maybe one day I’ll be at a point where it’s more important to protect my brand than take every gig (like I imagine @Fred the Shred is, for example), but until then, every gig is an opportunity to learn something, make contacts, and win people over. :D
     
  16. Zombie13

    Zombie13 XIII

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    From 2012 to 2014, I had a 4-5 piece Black Metal band and played a handful of shows, all mostly with Black Metal bands.

    From 2015 to early 2019, I performed as a One Man Band (now playing a Black/Post/Gaze metal? style sans paint/spikes) and took every single gig that was offered to me, from 10 minutes away to 3 hours away, at house parties or corporate gigs, I played as much as I could everywhere I could.

    The only time I remember being put on a vastly mixed bill was in 2016, mostly Punk and Hardcore Metal bands.

    When I started playing my first song, the 30 or so people that were there all took a smoke break, only one girl at the bar stayed and actually watched, because she was the bartender.
     
  17. Fred the Shred

    Fred the Shred Shrederick

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    Well, that point can be sooner than one might think - the whole point I'm making is that a gig needs to be worth playing. If you're going to have expenses (which you obviously are, since gear and crew don't teleport yet :lol: ), then you want to at least break even while the absence of profit can be mitigated by gaining traction within a given scene or whatever collateral gains, but if you're playing to a crowd that's not going to be receptive, will buy no merch / CDs / whatever, and is obviously not going to have a non-negligible amount of people interested in what you do, you're wasting time and money, basically. This sort of thing is obviously up to each and every band - if dudes want to get together at the weekend and have a blast on stage no matter what, it's obviously their prerogative, but in my position, that would be very silly at the moment.
     
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  18. MerlinTKD

    MerlinTKD EIght.Fold.Path / Hinge Theory Contributor

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    I hear what you’re saying. I realized as I read that you’re approaching it from financial position (I assume because your music career is your primary or only source of income), which of course is totally legitimate. Neither my band nor my solo work are anywhere near being able to create income, so I’m seeing any chance to get in front of people as an investment; I don’t have to be as concerned with the ROI since I have a day job that pays the bills (which has pros and cons; less long term progress, but I can pay my internet bill and buy groceries :lol:)

    Also, we live in a relatively economically depressed area of the US, where just finding gigs can be tough, let alone picking and choosing. So I know that’s playing into my mindset as well.

    So... I guess the best answer to the original post is actually “It depends” :shrug: :)
     
  19. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    Well, if just played my "home" area a few weeks ago and someone asks us to play there again, I'm saying no for two reasons. One being that our handful fans are a lot less likely to come out if they just saw us and there is nothing else on the bill that interests them and the second being that 9/10 out of ten we're being asked to bring a crowd for a small touring act and we won't be able to do that as successfully if we JUST played. We'll also turn down gigs where a promoter is asking us to drive 4-5 hours to a place we haven't been to open a festival at 1pm for no guarantee. Sorry, but if you're asking a band to come that far because you enjoy the music, why would want to put them in front of NOBODY without offering something. As someone in two bands that ONLY play original music (OK, one of the bands has done a cover of Bastard Set of Dreams), we're obviously not in this for the money, so if we're not being given the opportunity to play for new faces, or at least enough faces to move some merch, its a pointless endeavor. I've never had any problem networking with other bands without having to be on a show with them.


    I'm guessing if you're half original/half cover you guys probably can play anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, which will put you in a position to make something of a wide range of shows.

    It's not so much about protecting a brand as it is NOT EVERY SHOW IS AN OPPORTUNITY. As much as promoters and other bands would like to think so, playing to the same people you did last week is not an opportunity, playing in front of no-one but the other bands is not an opportunity, driving six hours without a guarantee at the request of a promoter is not an opportunity (most of the time, driving six hours without a guarantee because you booked yourself on a show is different, IMO)
     
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