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Set list?

Posted: December 10th, 2014, 10:14 am
by Nickguitar800
Just wondering how most people put together a setlist of about 10-15 songs. Would you start out fast, add some slower songs in the middle, then end strong? Or is it better to end with a slow song? I just want to know how you guys do it.

Re: Set list?

Posted: December 10th, 2014, 9:15 pm
by Diceman
It all depends on your audience . If it's primarily a bunch of guys standing watching you play , slow songs aren't much good . In my experience if you only have one set of music to play , you don't want to play too many ballads if any at all . Obviously , if it's a wedding reception or something of that nature then that's different .

Re: Set list?

Posted: December 10th, 2014, 11:06 pm
by Alan Green
Start and end with one or two barnstormers and have a couple of quicker numbers to use at the midpoint so you're not playing too much slow stuff - you don't want your audience getting bored.

My show opens with a 10-minute flamenco blast (no-one sleeps) and ends with Classical Gas. In between I run the whole gamut from Renaissance dance to some 20th century jazz standards.

Re: Set list?

Posted: December 11th, 2014, 7:16 am
by Nickguitar800
Okay, thanks guys!

Re: Set list?

Posted: December 11th, 2014, 8:31 am
by notes_norton
I don't do set lists because my ESP doesn't work that well.

I call the songs as I feel the audience needs them.

I look at their dress, hair styles, age, attitude and call the first song of the evening. I watch how they react to that, and use that to call the next.

Like I said, my ESP doesn't work that well, but I when I'm playing a fast song and they are dancing, I can look at their faces see if they are too tired for another or if they still have some energy and I'll use that info to call the next song.

I can see what they are reacting to well, and what they are cool to, and use that information to my advantage.

I want to pace the audience, bring them up to a peak, then let them down to rest, then build them up again.

Sometimes they get tired of dancing and just want to listen, then it's time for songs with good lyrics or interesting melodies - of course depending on what they are reacting to.

It's a good skill to hone, and if you are inexperienced, go ahead with the set list, and watch how things work and think what might work better in that situation. Then eventually your subconscious mind be working on it while you are playing a song (without you knowing it) and you will know what to call next.

IMHO It's much better to have a musical dialog with the audience. If you pace them right they will have a better time, and if they have a better time you will have a better time plus you will get more gigs.

Insights and incites by Notes

Re: Set list?

Posted: December 13th, 2014, 12:53 pm
by Nickguitar800
Thanks for the advice. I would like to be able to do that but my band is just starting out and we don't have much of a catalog to choose from with our songs; so right now using a set-list makes the most sense. Also, another question; since we're just a beginning band is it better to play mostly cover songs? We've played one show and all our songs were covers, it went well and I think we did a good job but the rest of my band wants most of our set to be originals next time. I'm fine with writing stuff and I defiantly don't want us to only play covers but I don't think that 50-90% of our set should be originals. What do you guys think? Covers or originals when playing live? I understand that it depends on how good your originals are, but in general with teenage bands would it be better to have at least the majority of our set to be cover songs?

Re: Set list?

Posted: December 13th, 2014, 1:39 pm
by Diceman
At this stage in your development I would sprinkle in a few original songs to see how well they're received . If you get a positive reaction to them , by all means , add some more . Your audience will tell you by their response both during the set and in between sets . If you have someone you know who can make a good recording of the band make a cd of your original ( copyrighted ) compositions and offer them for sale to anyone who might wish to buy one .

Re: Set list?

Posted: December 15th, 2014, 8:47 am
by Nickguitar800
Thank you!That is what I've been thinking. Thanks!

Re: Set list?

Posted: December 16th, 2014, 8:53 am
by notes_norton
People mostly want to hear memories, so I find it best to play mostly covers.

IMHO Sprinkle some originals in the middle of the sets, never open or close with an original, until you see the reaction. If you play the same place a lot, or if you develop a regular following, the regular people will warm up to the originals to the point where they become as familiar as a memory for them, and then you can open or close with them.

Insights and incites by Notes

Re: Set list?

Posted: December 18th, 2014, 3:38 pm
by Nickguitar800
Thank you!