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Author Topic: Performance Issues  (Read 9700 times)

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Chris Brimley

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #40 on: October 15, 2009, 04:12:21 PM »

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We always like to leave plenty of time for set-up in case there are any problems (like no suitable power available),

I played at a posh wedding at a country mansion, in a huge garden marquee, once.  The bride's father had forgotten to provide any electricity for the band, and after his second bottle of champagne suggested we could perhaps plug into a temporary light socket.  A quick trial demonstrated that having no earth and minimal power was completely impractical, as well as absurdly dangerous.  Luckily his brother, an electrical engineer, saved the day because in his car boot he just happened to have a 50m length of sturdy electrical cable, which was just long enough to reach to our extension cable.  He got his morning suit a little grubby while ferreting around in the garden shed for a plug and socket, but seemed happy to have been of service.  I have often wondered afterwards whether he knew his brother well, and thought it might be a good idea to pop the cable in the boot, just in case. 

We now cover electrical supply and setting-up time in the contract much more firmly!
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ganderbox

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #41 on: October 15, 2009, 04:56:58 PM »


We now cover electrical supply and setting-up time in the contract much more firmly!

We will be doing that too, after a couple of almost consecutive gigs just a few weeks ago. The first was outside, on a little patch of grass in front of a row of terraced houses overlooking the sea. There was no power laid on at all, and we had to borrow extra extension leads and plug into a socket in someone's living room.

Before that, we were in a barn (with calves in it!) which had a ropey looking socket on the wall with a mass of cables and extension leads hanging off it. When we started plugging in, our chief soundman (my husband!) kept getting electric shocks. Fortunately, we managed to trace the fault to one of their extension leads, and replace it with our own, before any serious injury was sustained. He now uses a little gadget which plugs into the mains socket to test whether it has an adequate earth, and if it ever says it hasn't then we'll play acoustic!
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Lester

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #42 on: October 15, 2009, 05:06:42 PM »

We now cover electrical supply and setting-up time in the contract much more firmly!

Contract - luxury - we do it all by phone and good will 

Owen Woods

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #43 on: October 15, 2009, 05:15:39 PM »

We do May Balls by contract, which is a nightmare! Necessary though, or they tend to provide us with a single microphone and stand and think that we will provide everything else...
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Pete of Ebor

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #44 on: October 15, 2009, 08:09:22 PM »

We got double booked with a mobile DJ disco once... no idea how they failed to notice that they had booked two entertainments for the same evening.

We had one like this once as well. A wedding again, but they put us on parallel so to speak with the disco. They asked us to alternate 45 mins each way - we'd do 45 mins then the disco would do 45 mins, or that was the idea... We struggled to get some dancers up, danced them for half an hour - we stopped then the disco started and all the young'uns were up. Half an hour later, the disco stops and they're all too knackered to get up.. complete fiasco, but it's what they wanted and they paid us quite well I recall !
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Ebor_fiddler

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #45 on: October 15, 2009, 08:25:21 PM »

Yes, I remember it well   . ... I missed that one, thank goodness!  ;D
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #46 on: October 16, 2009, 01:45:26 AM »

We got double booked with a mobile DJ disco once... no idea how they failed to notice that they had booked two entertainments for the same evening.

We had one like this once as well. A wedding again, but they put us on parallel so to speak with the disco. They asked us to alternate 45 mins each way - we'd do 45 mins then the disco would do 45 mins, or that was the idea... We struggled to get some dancers up, danced them for half an hour - we stopped then the disco started and all the young'uns were up. Half an hour later, the disco stops and they're all too knackered to get up.. complete fiasco, but it's what they wanted and they paid us quite well I recall !
I absolutely hate playing a gig when there is a disco following the ceilidh. In my experience at these events, no-one is particularly bothered about ceilidh dancing; they all seem to be hanging back waiting for the disco to start.

Usually what happens is that the disco has been set up ready to go, so the instant we've finished, the stage/hall is plunged into near-darkness with flashing lights and a god-awful bloody racket which some people mistakenly think is music but is really cunningly promoted by companies which make hearing aids to ensure a steady supply of customers in the future. Packing up your instruments and sound gear under those conditions is a nightmare and I get extremely distressed and bad-tempered doing it. So much so that if I happen to receive an enquiry for the band I now always check to see if there is a disco planned as well. If there is, I refuse the booking there and then, regardless of how much money is involved. I won't do it.  >:(
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Theo

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #47 on: October 16, 2009, 09:00:24 AM »

I've had a few good experiences working with discos, one in particular, who was on before us for some reason, for the last tune played something we could join in, he just faded out and left us playing a seamless changeover.  That is the exception.  The dumbest I recall was where the disco was to play something recorded for the first dance.  The disco guy arrived late, rushed his setup then called the newlyweds on for the first dance while the groom was out of the room!


Oh, and why is it that DJs always have their vocal mic eq'ed with all bass and no top so its almost impossible to understand their words, and then they rabbit on for ages?  One of life's great mysteries.
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Howard Jones

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #48 on: October 16, 2009, 10:17:46 AM »

Some DJs seem to think that they're the real entertainment for the evening, and that the ceilidh band is just filling time until they get started (I suppose there are also some bands who think the opposite).  However others are very professional and we can work well together to achieve a smooth handover. 

My experience of weddings is that often the ceilidh will have got everyone from all generations up and dancing.  When the disco starts up, the floor empties - to begin with only a few people (mostly women) will dance, and the DJ will have to work quite hard to get a crowd back on the floor.

I carry earplugs in my band kit just for those occasions when we're trying to pack up while the disco's at full blast.

To get back on topic, performing is a very different experience from playing in your bedroom, or even rehearsing with your band in private.  The key to it is gaining experience. If you can recognise what aspects of live performance give you problems, whether its simply nerves or more technical issues, you can then find ways to deal with them.  There are plenty of very experienced performers here who will be more than happy to help with advice.

LJC

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #49 on: October 16, 2009, 01:36:29 PM »

I had a bride fall out of her top mid dance at one too. No one told me how to prepare for that one. Grin and carry on seemed to work.
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stevejay

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #50 on: October 16, 2009, 04:15:29 PM »


Oh, and why is it that DJs always have their vocal mic eq'ed with all bass and no top so its almost impossible to understand their words, and then they rabbit on for ages?  One of life's great mysteries.

Because some DJs or masters of ceremonies totally forget their relative unimportance in a situation like that. They are traffic director, but they want to be a celebrity.
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Morrisbox

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #51 on: October 16, 2009, 09:31:53 PM »

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Contract - luxury - we do it all by phone and good will 

Hate to be a party pooper, but it is always a good idea to have a simple contract to use. Of preference, always use one you have drafted yourself. the terms will be better!.  You can use the same proforma, and just change the details of customer dates etc.  This allows you to stipulate things such as set up time, length of time you will play, breaks, whether you will get food/drink, and a safe stage and electricity supply within a fixed distance of where you are going to perform.   

Goodwill is great until something goes wrong, then a contract is very useful to have.  We have shamelessly borrowed the content from another band's contract, and seems to work well.

99% of the time everything goes well for all parties, but it's the 1% you need to be prepared for

Trevor
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Lester

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #52 on: October 16, 2009, 10:34:39 PM »

Quote
Contract - luxury - we do it all by phone and good will 

Hate to be a party pooper, but it is always a good idea to have a simple contract to use. Of preference, always use one you have drafted yourself. the terms will be better!.  You can use the same proforma, and just change the details of customer dates etc.  This allows you to stipulate things such as set up time, length of time you will play, breaks, whether you will get food/drink, and a safe stage and electricity supply within a fixed distance of where you are going to perform.   

Goodwill is great until something goes wrong, then a contract is very useful to have.  We have shamelessly borrowed the content from another band's contract, and seems to work well.

99% of the time everything goes well for all parties, but it's the 1% you need to be prepared for

Trevor

I've only been with the band ~3 years but it has run in this unorganised manner for 30 years so I guess I will not be changing them.

LJC

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #53 on: October 16, 2009, 10:39:29 PM »

I agree Trevor, a casual, oral contract is just not good enough, especially in the 'something for nothing' age.
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EeeJay

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #54 on: October 16, 2009, 10:41:41 PM »

Trying to combine a Disco and a Ceilidh is like serving Kippers with Custard. Bleargh! :P

OK, if someone's got it in another room I 'spose, but combo bookings - avoid at all costs. For any money. Only happened to me once... which was more than enough... >:(

Like Steve said, the breakdown is a nightmare...

As well as the bleedin' row... the implication (from the snotty buttonpushing eejit himself, no less) you've got to leave the floor clear (whilst dismantling PA... and using the exit across the blasted room...), and somehow dissolve all your stuff into thin air... so (once the money was sorted , naturellment) we promptly told 'im to get knotted... and carried on... with added intentional obtrusiveness... >:E

Of course, the dancefloor was actually empty - 'cept for a few female handbag dancers... ::)

The so-called MC seemed to have utterly no concept of reading the situation. Or of diplomacy.

Mind you it's always funny when someone starts acting like a little Hitler... and ends up looking like Blakey... ;D

Ed J

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Howard Jones

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #55 on: October 17, 2009, 10:34:21 AM »

Trying to combine a Disco and a Ceilidh is like serving Kippers with Custard. Bleargh! :P

...combo bookings - avoid at all costs. For any money.


I wouldn't go that far, although we always try to discourage them.  If they're worried the ceilidh may not be sufficient our soundman will offer to stay on and play their iPod through the PA - he charges extra, but it's less than a separate disco and they often prefer to have their own choice of music.  If they're really set on having both, we'll do it but won't allow ourselves to be bullied by the DJ or anyone else.

It helps to establish a relationship with the DJ at the beginning and agree how we're each going to set up and manage the hand-over.  Most are actually very professional, but you do get a few a**eholes - no doubt they say the same about ceilidh bands.

My (probably biased) perception is that the ceilidh always goes down better with the audience as a whole, which at a wedding is usually very mixed, whereas the disco only appeals to a small proportion.  But it's up to the clients to say what they want, we'll just do our best to provide our part of it.

As for contracts, 99% of the time you don't need them. However you never know which gig is going to be the 1%, so it's worth having one for every gig.

Rob2Hook

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #56 on: October 17, 2009, 11:33:04 AM »

Our band's experience of weddings - our fiddler's wedding being an exception, of course - is that it requires a very different approach.  Usually asked to start at say 8pm, but the hall is not cleared ntil 9, everyone is catching up on family gossip til 10:30 so we play quietly.  Around 11pm, the floor suddenly fills as the happy couple remember that they booked a band!  It's good to agree amongst your selves beforehand just how long you are willing to overrun.  For this reason alone, we only do weddings for people we know and don't mind playing into the small hours.

Weddings can bring enough headaches.  Why do people pay some dumbarse "DJ" to give them another one?

Rob.
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Pete of Ebor

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #57 on: October 17, 2009, 07:54:18 PM »

Quote
Contract - luxury - we do it all by phone and good will 

Hate to be a party pooper, but it is always a good idea to have a simple contract to use. Of preference, always use one you have drafted yourself. the terms will be better!.  You can use the same proforma, and just change the details of customer dates etc.  This allows you to stipulate things such as set up time, length of time you will play, breaks, whether you will get food/drink, and a safe stage and electricity supply within a fixed distance of where you are going to perform.   

Goodwill is great until something goes wrong, then a contract is very useful to have.  We have shamelessly borrowed the content from another band's contract, and seems to work well.

99% of the time everything goes well for all parties, but it's the 1% you need to be prepared for

Trevor

I've only been with the band ~3 years but it has run in this unorganised manner for 30 years so I guess I will not be changing them.

I agree absoultely. It's basically for your own protection (sad to say it may be necessary these days) It simply lays out precisely what you will do, when you will do it, how long you will do it for and how much they are going to pay you for doing it. It also lays out precisely what we require of them, such as vehicle access, tables, chairs and a power supply etc. We also charge a non-returnable
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Ebor_fiddler

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #58 on: October 17, 2009, 09:04:42 PM »

No, Sirree!!  ::) :-* :||: :|glug :|bl
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I'm a Yorkie!
My other melodeon's a fiddle, but one of my Hohners has six strings! I also play a very red Hawkins Bazaar in C and a generic Klingenthaler spoon bass in F.!! My other pets (played) are gobirons - Hohner Marine Band in C, Hohner Tremolo in D and a Chinese Thingy Tremolo in G.

Chris Brimley

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Re: Performance Issues
« Reply #59 on: October 19, 2009, 08:26:27 PM »

I think it is actually a pretty encouraging sign that brides and grooms are not entirely stupid, and so often want a ceilidh to celebrate their important event.  It's as if they do really understand that there are some sort of roots behind it all, even if they don't really understand much about the traditions involved.  And they sometimes want both ceilidh and disco because they think that will cover everybody.

The DJ's are trying to do the same thing, by desperately playing stuff they think will appeal to most of the guests, while all the time they know full well that it won't really work (unless the bride and groom and all their mates happen to be dedicated clubbers!)  The big advantage we dance bands have of course is having a caller, who if he or she knows his trade can bring all the guests together in a way that no one else can (and that probably includes the vicar!)

It's just a very strange thing that English people so often poo-poo the heritage we share, and which we actually, but of course very secretly, admire!
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