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Thread: Late arriving Musicians

  1. #1
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    Late arriving Musicians

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    I do the sound at a music club one night a week, usually close to $0 but because I believe in keeping this venue open I don't mind. It is a club where people come to listen not get drunk and talk. I get there a good 2 hrs before the show, so I can check the PA is working correctly, as I am not the only one using it through the week, and to get everything that is needed ready and checked. I can then take my time and relax and also fix any PA problems that may show up.

    2 things are happening very regularly now:

    First I get told things like I only need 1 mic and a DI for my guitar, only to find when they get there, oh some of my friends are playing so now I need 4 vocal mics, 3 DI's and mics for the drum kit. Oh and we have a cello with no pickup fitted.

    Second (and this also applies to the acts above) we are say 5 mins out from show time and the first act rocks up (often complete with above instructions) and wants a sound check, two things, the room now has customers, and they are starting in a few mins anyway, remembering I have probably been sitting around for an hour with nothing to do.

    This week took the cake, often when a second or third act has a drummer we try to have the drums set up before the first act (often a solo) starts. Well, the first act was very late, I am getting them on stage when the drummer rocks up from the second band. So its time to start the show and the drummer says he can keep setting up while the first acts is performing, which is very disrespectful. They then start arguing with me when I say no and tell them they are acting unprofessional, sigh! By the way did I say that the stage list for the second act did not say they had a drummer

    Why is it that musicians do not act in a professional manner when given the chance to play a club where the audience is actually interested in what they do, run by people that actually care about them. This includes me, as I try to give them the absolute best sound I can. When I am playing a gig I turn up a good hour before to talk to the sound guy about what I/we would like, then if possible set up and sound check.

    Alan.

    P.S They wonder why I sometimes get grumpy.

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  3. #2
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    It's not only musicians...

    I've had a dance producer pull down the master fader on my desk whispering "wrong song"...

    Then continuing in a loud voice "Oh, no! It's not". She was on time, but meddling with everything. And she hadn't a clue about the technical side of things. She had arranged for the small rock band to be UNDER the right side of the PA. Then she complained it wasn't loud enough, despite being clearly audible in the isolated control booth.

    We all have to start somewhere, I guess. It was her first real production and she was nervous as hell.

    After the gig, she complained to the owner of the venue, who had nothing to do with it.
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    Being paid doesn't matter. What you don't have is rules.

    Are the bands and musicians getting paid? The ideal system is that you send out a request for resources required. They respond, you tell them what is possible and what is not and then give them a slot for arrival. Point out that there are multiple acts on, so these times are not negotiable once other times have been made av available to the other bands. You explain house rules. i.e. no other musicians allowed on stage setting up while another is playing. Clearly, some will tell you to stuff it. Especially if the money is low or missing. You have to work out if for end quality, you are better off without them.

    Good house rules help everyone.

    Musicians being musicians, they will always ask for extra mics, more space for a huge kit, and want things only a mindreader could know. My venue is pretty big - but these thing still happen. When we have multiple bands on, we ask all these questions and plan properly - and they STILL arrive with more people, or need a drum riser, or worse, ask for things then change them on arrival. Drum riser - minimum 6x6'. I give them a 8x8' riser and they complain it's too small. They ask for special lighting , which being a big venue we can do - we put up the 4 special lights for the band, and FIVE arrive.

    What we do now is always assume their requests are a guide only. So we wire 4 vocal mics if they ask for 3, we have spare mics available to mic up the instrument the bass player brought instead of an electric bass. We guess the sax player will have a soprano, and a tenor, and have two mics. No monitors required means they think they don't want them. However, they will change their minds. I don't get cross any more - I just try to outguess them.

    I do enforce the rules if one band are spoiling it for another, that's unforgivable - especially if everyone is one equal status. When I tour with my band, I try so hard to not do these things to other venues, but sometimes I feel my own requests must sound like the ones that annoy me so much.

    When these people do stupid things, I try not to let it bother me any longer - they mean well, and they're mostly harmless. This is Douglas Adams 'mostly harmless'.

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    Newest one: short movie. No script, no rider, no date, no budget, no power...

    It's a half day location gig. They hadn't even considered they might need power. Camera's run on batteries, don't they?

    Of course, my rig can run on batteries. But these are heavy, so I don't usually take them with me.

    Feels like I'm in education.
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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    The ideal system is that you send out a request for resources required.
    Ha Ha Ha, dream on, we are dealing with musicians.

    It's only a small club, most are OK some just take the Pi55, the guy that books listens to me and if the act is a pain in the neck they don't come back. They rather loose the act than me.

    We have a 15 min change over between acts and in most cases this is fine as most are solo duo. Thats why are like to know ahead if it's bigger so I can have mics DI's etc set up before the change over. I am a very organised person having done live sound for over 40 years, however I find musicians today are much worse and selfish than the older guys. Afetr all I am trying to make their sound as best as possible, which is somthing they forget. Maybe they are just used to crap sound and crap engineers.

    Alan

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    What I mean is you send it out. If they don't respond, which as you say, they won't - you have the ammunition to say no gracefully, with tact and diplomacy, but still no - leaving them few options.

    I've had one this morning. We MUST have black drapes. They say this every time they visit. I respond and say, they're blue. They say fine. Ten years ago they arrived for the first time and we'd hung a set of black drapes over our blue semi-permanent ones. They saw the blue and said - we'll use them, they're nice. This black blue thing has happened at least 20 times.

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    Back to the original heading LOL, I don't have a problem with whatever they want, all I ask is that they get there maybe an hour before the show and tell me, I usually set up some extra mics and DI's anyway. We have everything needed available due to there being a larger venue upstairs that has a full concert system in it. I am able to rob anything I need Microphones, DI's, cables, Stands, etc from the concert rig, which is not used the night I am in. I do get to mix shows on that system from time to time by the way, and these are paying gigs

    I just don't understand musicians that turn up 5 mins before they go on, shoving through the punters with the gear and throwing it on the stage in a big heap, looks totally unprofessional. Why not get there with some time, sort out the gear and the set up and relax before the show?

    Alan.

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    How a week can be so different,

    First act turned up really early, wanted to use a large condenser (one of these, and it sounded great) and DI only, understood that monitors would not work due to low levels before feedback, just a tad of the DI. Good sound check, professional attitude.

    Second & third acts turned up before the show started, introduced themselves, told me what was required, which was a minimum, all acts were very happy with the sound, non-stress gig.

    The only extra was that the first act and third act were having a guest harmonica player, when they realised he was going to be in the audience, comes every week and sits with me LOL, but I was told before the show started and I actually have a mic for the harmonica set up every week as everyone wants him as a guest, I rate him as the best harp player I have ever heard.

    Alan.

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    I honestly can't imagine arguing with a performer about anything. Like, come here and vent and whatever, but I come from a customer service background and I'm trained to find a way to say "yes" to my customer's requests. This sometimes does mean offering compromise or options that can get everybody where they need to be even if it doesn't fill the original specific request.

    But honestly, if the drummer wants to set up behind the first act and that first act doesn't care... All that matters to anybody in the room is that the person in front of the mic gives a singular performance of compelling material. Like, if it's worth listening to (and the drummer is reasonably discrete - that's the tough one!), then nobody's gonna know the difference. I'm thinking that is less likely if they just got done arguing with the soundguy. Though I'd maybe see if we could find some sort of staging area where drummer can do their thing without being quite so obtrusive.

    For the rest of it, maybe you should just lay out more than you need to begin with. If you've got the mics, cables, and channels available. Set up 4 vocals and a few DIs, some drum mics, do you ever mic guitar amps? Maybe you still have to adapt here and there. They'll always find ways to surprise you. "The enemy always gets a vote." But if you've got everything ready to cover a reasonably wide range of situations to begin with, you'll have less scrambling later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
    I honestly can't imagine arguing with a performer about anything. Like, come here and vent and whatever, but I come from a customer service background and I'm trained to find a way to say "yes" to my customer's requests. This sometimes does mean offering compromise or options that can get everybody where they need to be even if it doesn't fill the original specific request.
    You cannot say yes to everything as some things are disruptive to other performers and the audience who have paid money to see the show. The argument was from the performer when I said that it was not professional to be setting up during the first acts performance and being so late to the gig, maybe if they we not stoned as well there would have been more reason from them.

    Quote Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
    But honestly, if the drummer wants to set up behind the first act and that first act doesn't care... All that matters to anybody in the room is that the person in front of the mic gives a singular performance of compelling material. Like, if it's worth listening to (and the drummer is reasonably discrete - that's the tough one!), then nobody's gonna know the difference. I'm thinking that is less likely if they just got done arguing with the soundguy. Though I'd maybe see if we could find some sort of staging area where drummer can do their thing without being quite so obtrusive.
    The first performer did very much mind, they were being bullied by the drummer to let them set up, when I said not set up in the break they carried on until the argument started and I told them No! This is a very small venue and a very small stage, the drummer setting up would have almost knocked over the first act, I agree a large venue with a deep stage may have been a different story. If the drummer had actually got there on time, which is stated by the booking guy there would have been no problem having the drums there. There is a staging area but he did not want to set up there and move the drums. So who was being unreasonable?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
    For the rest of it, maybe you should just lay out more than you need to begin with. If you've got the mics, cables, and channels available. Set up 4 vocals and a few DIs, some drum mics, do you ever mic guitar amps? Maybe you still have to adapt here and there. They'll always find ways to surprise you. "The enemy always gets a vote." But if you've got everything ready to cover a reasonably wide range of situations to begin with, you'll have less scrambling later.
    [/QUOTE]

    There is always extra cables, mics and DI's set up, but where do you stop? I even have a pencil condenser set up for when the performers acoustic guitar battery dies in the middle of the show, don't get me started on this.

    I did not come here to vent, I came here to put a sound guys perspective to musicians going out to perform, I am very calm at live events, but I find this behaviour disrespectful to me but mostly the audience that have to put up with disruption to other acts and delays in the show. Don't forget I also can give the perspective as a performer as I actually play more gigs these days than I mix. I have been doing live sound for over 40 years and I take offence that you think this is a simple vent and that you think I am the one not being professional, I am full of compromise but some musicians are not.

    Alan.

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