Dep gig.... Advice required

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rsvmarkrsvmark Frets: 565
Right so a mate of mine asked me to go and dep with his covers band. Yea, cool, no worries.

Set list? Check, no worries. Pretty much all new to me but no major dramas.

Can I go to a couple of rehearsals? No probs.

First one this evening and so far so good. A little polishing to do but no dramas.

Conversation turns to the gig and it turns out its for an audience of 4000 if the weather is good. I am now officially bricking it. We set up about 20 mins before start, no sound check other than strum a couple of chords and no clue about back line etc.

So can I ask for advice on rocking up, setting up, playing a festival, with unknown pa and sound engineer please. It's my biggest gig and I am used to a somewhat smaller approach!
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1812
    If you can play the songs OK, then that's half the battle.

    Regarding the PA/Engineer - you have to assume that they know what they're doing and that you'll be able to hear yourself and the rest of the band OK.

    To put your mind at rest, find out exactly what the situation is, ie. backline, etc.

    Sounds damned cool to me :)

    R.
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 2372
    If it' a big stage I suggest putting all your drums backline etc. Close together so it feels more like you are used to. Try to contact engineer and tell him your setup and perhaps intended set list. Just have vocals in the wedge mix to start. 
    Treat it like a normal gig and it will be fine. 
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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 379
    Be on time and in tune. And don’t be a prick. That’s what I’ve always been told.
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3577

    You can never tell with these things till you get there. Could be huge PA and competent engineer but might be underpowered gear and everyone sharing one aux send. My advice is keep your setup simple ... make sure you can read your tuner in sunlight as a a lot of them aren't visable in sunlight. Make sure you take a small mains extension to power anything you might need up front like a pedal board. New stretched in strings, keys to songs stored in memory or written down. 

    I do a lot of festival stuff in the summer and prefer to use IEM's so I have a secret weapon on my board. I can control the level of my vocal and guitar and ambient level of things around me independently of the PA engineer. The design of this came about last summer when I did 4 festival gigs in one day all with bad monitoring 




    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 11902
    The only thing you can affect is how you behave - so make sure that you communicate effectively with the sound engineer during your line check in order to be able to clearly hear yourself and any of the other instruments that you use for cues. If you don't have that, you're screwed (I discovered this for the first time at the O2 Academy in Birmingham, and it was properly embarrassing).

    Other than that, just treat it like you would a small pub gig, except that you have enough room to be sure you're not dodging the bassist's headstock half the time, and it's unlikely that the singer's going to step on your pedalboard.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • rsvmarkrsvmark Frets: 565
    Thanks all. Having worried about it today, I am planning to take all my own rig: 2 guitars with fresh but played in strings, head and cab and full board. Spare leads, avoid wireless (why take the risk) and several extension cables. I have never used IEM so will politely ask for a mix of drums, keys and vocals in the monitor for cues/rhythm. Spare pics in pocket, spares next to stage. Finally I am writing out some performance notes for each song on 1 page max per song- keys, chords, cues, fx settings, etc and pop these on an iPad close to hand. I reckon I won't need to read the charts but maybe as an aide memoir and comfort blanket!

    reminder to self- don't forget to breathe!
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  • CabicularCabicular Frets: 2193
    And try to enjoy it
    big crowds are much easier to deal with IME

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  • rsvmarkrsvmark Frets: 565
    Cabicular said:
    And try to enjoy it
    big crowds are much easier to deal with IME

    Forgot that bit!
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  • vizviz Frets: 4950
    edited May 30
    Ask a friend to video it from the back

    Oh and if you can take some pics of the crowd from the stage!
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  • rsvmarkrsvmark Frets: 565
    Update: we are now headlining as they pulled out. Gulp! (Can't wait)
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  • mistercharliemistercharlie Frets: 325
    Make sure you can read the iPad in sunlight!
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32822
    edited June 10
    rsvmark said:

    avoid wireless (why take the risk)
    No - use the wireless. Firstly, outdoor stages are often bigger than you expect and you can easily run out of cable length (pedalboard to amp especially, so use your longest cable for that not the guitar - but then it can cause trouble if you have to go back to adjust your amp, guess how I know this :) ), and secondly a wireless keeps you safe from dodgy power supplies, generators etc.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • ash96ash96 Frets: 55
    I've always found with this kinda stuff, the engineers are usually pretty capable, and if you give them clear guidance of what you want in monitors (eg. I'm stage right guitar, I'd like other guitarist, bit of kick/snare, tiny bit of bass, lead vocal and my vocal) they'll usually get it in the right ball park for you to play. They'll usually have a monitor guy side stage so dont be afraid to pop over and ask him for more stuff.

    And like the other say, its much better playing to a ton of people than playing to 10 for sure.
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  • bob21bob21 Frets: 131
    ICBM said:
    rsvmark said:

    avoid wireless (why take the risk)
    No - use the wireless. Firstly, outdoor stages are often bigger than you expect and you can easily run out of cable length (pedalboard to amp especially, so use your longest cable for that not the guitar - but then it can cause trouble if you have to go back to adjust your amp, guess how I know this :) ), and secondly a wireless keeps you safe from dodgy power supplies, generators etc.
    Sorry - I have to disagree here. As a general rule - Unless you have advanced with production that you are bringing wireless, and requested frequencies - don't use it.
    There will be a plan for frequencies on site - and if there are multiple stages, this can be quite complex. It's not cricket to come along with a system and potentially interfere with other stuff on site.

    In this case, it probably won't be on your advance as you're a dep - and it sounds like it might be a smaller affair - take enough cable to do without, take the wireless and ask when you get there nice and early (be prepared for a no..!)..
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 11902
    bob21 said:
    ICBM said:
    rsvmark said:

    avoid wireless (why take the risk)
    No - use the wireless. Firstly, outdoor stages are often bigger than you expect and you can easily run out of cable length (pedalboard to amp especially, so use your longest cable for that not the guitar - but then it can cause trouble if you have to go back to adjust your amp, guess how I know this :) ), and secondly a wireless keeps you safe from dodgy power supplies, generators etc.
    Sorry - I have to disagree here. As a general rule - Unless you have advanced with production that you are bringing wireless, and requested frequencies - don't use it.
    There will be a plan for frequencies on site - and if there are multiple stages, this can be quite complex. It's not cricket to come along with a system and potentially interfere with other stuff on site.

    In this case, it probably won't be on your advance as you're a dep - and it sounds like it might be a smaller affair - take enough cable to do without, take the wireless and ask when you get there nice and early (be prepared for a no..!)..
    Pretty much irrelevant for modern 2.4GHz systems.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • valevale Frets: 1036
    big gigs are like trench warfare. a grim to-do, but made easier when you can't see the whites of their eyes.
    hofner hussie & hayman harpie. what she said...
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  • rsvmarkrsvmark Frets: 565
    Thanks for all the advice all. I will take the wireless on safety grounds but have looooooong cable just in case. Final rehersal tomorrow night. Couple of easy ones added so am now looking forward to it. H9 programmed, performance notes loaded, guitars re strung so ready to go!
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  • mr-macmr-mac Frets: 196
    Enjoy!!
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 8994
    Are the band going to give the soundcrew a stage plan with a list of things the need micing or DIing? Can you talk to the soundcrew or even buy them a drink/give them a bottle of beer first?

    Could be a gas! Hope it works out for you :)
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • not_the_djnot_the_dj Frets: 5622
    We played a summer festival on Saturday, multi band line-up with a stage (aka lorry trailer) with resident sound engineer.

    30mins change over between bands, so we were there ready when the band before us went on. So we pre-built the drum kit and got ready. At change over time the guitarist in the last band lugged his amps off stage and I got mine up there....only to discover that the sound engineer just wanted to use a DI box of some sort straight from the guitars or pedal board, so not mic'ing up the amps. That meant every amp brought along were literally just stage dressing. Lucky I use my pedal board for various sounds, and the feed I was getting through my monitors sounded fine, although when I turned off my OD pedal (a Thorpy Gunshot) the clean sound was pretty flat, as usually that's my amp running clean.

    Still I don't think the punters enjoying a day in the sun were that bothered, and it was great fun.

    Only issues we had were a last minute change over of set as the band on before us played a couple of tracks we'd planned to....but then I think we did that with the band on after us as well!
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  • rsvmarkrsvmark Frets: 565
    Good point @not_the_dj and we have compared set lists with other bands on that day. We are planning to get there well ahead of time for pre assembly and thinking about stage positions and chatting to the engineers. Having had a rehearsal last night, the singer has played before and was singing the praises of the sound guys who they use every year.
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 11902

    At change over time the guitarist in the last band lugged his amps off stage and I got mine up there....only to discover that the sound engineer just wanted to use a DI box of some sort straight from the guitars or pedal board, so not mic'ing up the amps. 
    We've got one this weekend, which says "Amps will be provided, you won't be able to use your own, just your own effects".

    I don't think they quite understand how rock bands generally work. Of course, I've got my Helix, so I'll just DI and skip the whole amp thing, but our other guitarist is screwed since he gets all his dirt from his Blackstar.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32822
    digitalscream said:

    We've got one this weekend, which says "Amps will be provided, you won't be able to use your own, just your own effects".

    I don't think they quite understand how rock bands generally work. Of course, I've got my Helix, so I'll just DI and skip the whole amp thing, but our other guitarist is screwed since he gets all his dirt from his Blackstar.
    Suggest he buys a Blackstar HT-Dual pedal, pronto...

    It obviously does depend on the type/size of 'festival', but generally I wouldn't rely on getting my sound with my own amp for something like this. You need an alternative strategy for the provided-backline scenario - it can come in handy as a backup for your main rig too.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • rsvmarkrsvmark Frets: 565
    edited June 17

    https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1827/28978743298_951a4a7a28_b.jpg

    Well that was a total blast! Thanks to all for the advice but it went like a dream and time flew. I ballsed up a couple of times as a result of getting carried away and having too much fun. No malfunctions, the ipad trick worked a dream and I put it on a music stand at knee height - plenty bright enough to see but not creating a visual barrier for the crowd,

    The crowd was ace - we had a few inflatables launched, people on shoulders and even a crowd surfer at one point. As it was outside I was able to crank the amp and it sounded great, especially with the KOT stacked, and almost every song went down well.

    Definitely my biggest and possibly best gig to date

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  • not_the_djnot_the_dj Frets: 5622
    Awesome! Well done. 
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  • FarleyUKFarleyUK Frets: 422
    Congrats mate - living the dream!

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  • StageStruckStageStruck Frets: 76
    We've got one this weekend, which says "Amps will be provided, you won't be able to use your own, just your own effects".

    I don't think they quite understand how rock bands generally work. Of course, I've got my Helix, so I'll just DI and skip the whole amp thing, but our other guitarist is screwed since he gets all his dirt from his Blackstar.

    Cue the Line 6 Spider or Marshall solid state number that's been absolutely thrashed!

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  • VoxmanVoxman Frets: 2053
    edited July 22
    @rsvmark I completely understand especially as we just did an outside gig on the main stage at the East Barnet Festival a couple of weeks back.

    Best advice I can give you, is don't worry about what you can't control and prep for what you can. Learn the songs as reasonably well as you  can but don't over do it...keep it simple and just make sure you all have fun on stage...otherwise what's the point?!  If you should forget a riff don't worry as the audience won't know any difference and if you miss timing just stop, let the band carry it for a few seconds and then pick it up again...the audience will never notice.

    Gear wise if you have backups take them. You'll probably not even need them but just knowing you have a backup guitar, spare lead, tuner etc on hand means it's something less to worry about.  Wireless is fine and gives you freedom to move around on stage. I use a Line 6 G10 and it worked perfectly as always.

    We played when it was 30 degrees so make sure you tune up with plenty of time for the guitar to adjust to the ambient temperature and then retune just before you play. If you use an mfx with led tuner built in and are playing in bright daylight these may be hard to see in bright sunlight so a spare needle tuner can be very useful. 

    As long as you can hear the band and yourself through the monitor don't worry about how it sounds to the audience...you just have to trust the sound engineer.  And if you need the monitor up just signal the sound guy on stage and he'll adjust it for you.

    're strings I always restring a couple of days before to  allow them to settle and stretch in...avoid restringing on the day if you can.  And check you're happy with the intonation. Again, a well set up guitar is one less thing to worry about.  

    If you use a capod and or slide make sure these are in a safe easy access place and you have a few spare picks strategically available in case you drop one.

    That's probably about it...just have fun and post some clips for us!




    I started out with nothing..... but I've still got most of it left (Seasick Steve)
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 8994
    @rsvmark nice one !
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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