• Set Change Over

    When rock stars stroll out on stage there isn’t an eye in the crowd that isn’t glued on them, and when they ask their audience to scream with them, there isn’t a soul that doesn’t scream ‘til their throats bleed.  One thing that all musicians have in common is a larger-than-life stage presence. Another thing is that no stage performance happens without the artists and their team adhering to the general rules pertaining to set changeovers. Everyone’s time is of equal value; the promoters, the venue owners, and your fellow artists, included. In this article we will offer several tips that will help you to master the art of the “set changeover”.

    1. Preparation: As noted in our recent article, “Event Promo Checklist” (http://musicadvice101.com/eventpromochecklist/), if the band is not already familiar with the venue, a thorough walk-through of the venue and a meeting with the sound tech is recommended as part of the preparation for an efficient set changeover and a great show. The band should have as much information as possible in advance; i.e. stage diagram, direction the stage faces, pre-staging area, load-in area, etc. Having a stage plot for your band’s set up to share with the sound tech and venue manager can be a valuable tool in getting set up quickly.

    2. Organization: Every band should be ready at least 15 minutes before their set time. Make sure band members are not hanging out at the bar, in the parking lot, or in the bathroom.

    Sarge Tip

     

    Before going on stage make sure all instruments are tuned and have all outboard gear pre-wired and functioning. Also, be sure to change out all batteries.

    It is a wise idea for the drummer to have as much of the drum kit assembled as possible in the pre-staging area. The drummer should get all gear on stage first. If any of the band members have extra equipment or if the band has their own props or lighting, make sure there are extra hands to help.

    Sarge Tip

     

    Sometimes the backline is provided or is rented. If so, do not assume all is working properly. Make sure you allow time to test the equipment.

    3. Pre-wire all equipment and outboard gear, so they can be plugged into one outlet. This not only saves time, but it eliminates loose wires and gives the artists more room to move around on stage.

    Do not overload outlets, most are 20 amp. Know how many amps your equipment requires. This is especially important if you have additional lighting. Be sure to check with the sound tech before adding equipment that may be unnecessary. You definitely don’t want to be popping breakers in the middle of you set.

    Sarge Tip

     

    It also saves a lot of time if you have used the restroom, applied your make up and have your drinks ready and waiting for set up along with your equipment.

    4. Have a game plan for moving everything off the stage in a timely manner so you don’t hold up the band behind you. Make it a habit to show your professionalism and courtesy by offering to assist the band before and after you in moving their gear.

    Toward the end of your set invite your fans to meet you at your merch table after you have finished striking your equipment. This will encourage them not to rush the stage to talk with you, and it also feels more like a personal invitation to meet you and buy some merch.

    5. So now that you have mastered the art of the changeover, you’ve got more time for the critical sound check, and more time to pay attention to the sound guy, leading up to a lot better set all the way around.

    Compiled by Rose’s Damned Opinion

  • Gig Bag Checklist

    Sarge_jokersPAYattention How frustrating is it to get to a big show and then realize that you forgot to bring an essential item you need? It happens all the time with bands on the road. Below is a list of items that you should bring along with you that can help you get through any venture away from home. Fell free to print this so you can check off the items as you build your own gig bag. Don’t forget: its better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

    - AAA card (or some kind of road-side assistance information)

    - Batteries

    - Credit Card(s)

    - ID (always) and Passport (if traveling outside the U.S.)

    - Phone number of a friend in the city you are in

    - Gas money

    - Altoids

    - Hand sanitizer

    - Sweat-proof sunscreen and lip balm.

    - Grooming items (include deodorant, toothbrush/paste/mouthwash)

    - Condoms (if you’re going to play, play nice)

    - Extra change of clothes in case you get stuck somewhere and need to stay overnight.

    - Natural baby wipes (great for makeup removal, freshening up, and removing stains from clothing)

    - Lint roller

    - Safety pins

    - A few paperclips of various sizes (you’d be amazed what you can clean or repair with a bent paperclip)

    - A few protein bars (Power Bar, Soy Joy, etc.)

    - Watch/travel clock

    Sarge Tip

    Keep your ID, wallet, cash, etc. on you at all times.

     

    Below are more items for individual members of your band:

     

    Sales/Promo/Business Items- CDs- Promo items- Mailing lists- Merchandise- Sharpies

    - Business cards

    - Performance Rights Affiliation Card

    - Cell phone (please turn to silent during the show!)

    - Makeup

    - Hair products

    - Directions to the venue

    - Name and number of venue contact

    - Duct tape and/or Gaffers Tape

    - Itinerary/Tour Book/Call Sheet

    - The show file, containing your copy of the contract

    - Important phone numbers

    - Laptop accessories (if applicable)

    - Set lists

    - Wallet or vinyl zip ouch to keep receipts in

    Acoustic Guitar- Capo- Cloth- Finger-ease, if you use it- Picks (lots of ‘em)

    - Pickup- Slide

    - Strap

    - Tuning pegs/keys

    - Wood conditioner

    Drums- Adjunct rack percussion items- Carpet or blanket.- Drum key- Fingerless gloves or stick grips

    -Kick drum pillow or blanket or dampener item-Kick pedal

    -Tone control rings

    -Your drum throne

    -Your own cymbals

    -Your own high hat and clutch

    -Your own snare

    -Your own sticks and brushes (plus extras)

     

     

    Electric Guitar-Capo-Cloth-Effects Pedals (neat and readily daisy-chained)-Extra strings

    -Finger

    -ease, if you use it

    -Picks (lots of ‘em)

    -Slide

    -Strap

    -Tuning pegs

    -Wood conditioner

    -Your amplifier

     

    Electric Bass Guitar- Bass head and cabinet- Effects pedals- Extra strings- Strap

    - Picks (lots of ‘em)

    - Tuning pegs

     

     

    Horns/Brass- All the pieces of your horn- Clip-on mics- Clip-on sound reflectors

    - Cloth to clear out spit valves

    -Mouthpieces

    -Music stand clip-on light

    -Music stand or clip-on chart cards

    -Mutes

    -Polish

    -Spare valve pads

    -Strap/Harness

    Keyboards- Digital in/out box- Keyboard stands- Laptop rig and appropriate connectors

    - Sample bank and appropriate connectors

    - Sound module

    - Sustain pedal

    Saxophones/Woodwinds- Cleaning cloths- Clip on Mics- Mouthpiece- Reeds

    - Saxophone strap/baritone harness

     

    Strings- Bow resin- Cables if using acoustic/electric- Clip-on music stand light

    - Cloth

    - Music Stand

    - Pickup

    - Your bow

    Voice- A water clip and sheet music clip accessory for the mic stand.- Lozenges, Throat Coat tea, or other vocal care product- Microphone and cable- Personal in-ear monitor

    - Personal steamer / pocket sauna

    - Water (not cold – lukewarm is best)

    - Honey


    Compiled by Chris Erwin

  • Wardrobe Tips

    Sarge_jokersPAYattention Got a big gig coming up? Planning on throwing on your favorite outfit complete with all the little accessories that identify your personality and make you unique as a person? Well, before you make a final decision on your attire, maybe you should keep the below tips in mind:

    1. Test drive new clothes with the shoes you’ll be wearing. Stretch, crouch, stand, sit, cross your legs, bend over, and jump up and down.

    Sarge Tip

    If you have to tug at your clothing to put it back in place or make it more comfortable, it’s the wrong outfit.

    2. Keep it non-constrictive. If you can’t breathe, you can’t sing.

    3. Always try clothing on with the undergarments you’ll be wearing onstage (highly recommended, even if you usually go commando).

    4. If you sweat profusely during your performance or utilize any other type of messy fluids (fake blood, paints, etc.), consider bringing an extra outfit to change into so you can meet and greet your fans after the performance.

    5. Short skirts and elevated stages don’t mix, unless you’re actually trying to give the people in the first 2 rows an extra show. Test this with the shoes you’ll be wearing onstage–higher shoes can make it worse.

    6. Choose clothing that has good “memory” after it stretches. Stretched-out clothing is an invitation to disaster.

    7. Beware of cheap dyes that run when you sweat. Navy blue, red, and black are often the worst offenders.

    Sarge Tip

    If you wear dark clothing, travel with a sticky lint roller and use it right before you step out onstage.

    8. Double spaghetti straps or ties are safer than single strands. Double hooks on halter necklines are also safer.

    Sarge Tip

    Have a brutally honest friend with a critical eye look for potential problems with your wardrobe choice.

    9. Be aware of T-shits that contain offensive words or images on them (unless you’re going for that). This is especially true at “all-ages” shows.

    10. Consider a choreographed theme for your band to stand out. Wear similar colors or accessories so it looks like all your members are actually apart of the same band. Costumes always turns heads.

    Sarge Tip

    Don’t wear your own band T-shirts you egomaniac! Have your eye candy of a merch girl/guy do that for you!

     

    Compiled by Chris Erwin