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View Full Version : Is the end to live music in bars in our future?



gush
01-08-2013, 07:17 PM
As silly as this sounds, can it or will it happen? I live in the midwest and for the last 8 years or so I have seen crowds diminish. Not just my cover band but others as well. I do live sound when we arent gigging and that is what I see. I went to visit a musician friend that lives in Indiana last summer. We went out friday night to see live music and saturday I watched his band play to an empty house. What gives? Do the current drinking & driving laws or no smoking in bars laws have the power to influence crowds that much? So, ask yourself the question. Are the crowds as big as they were 10 or even 20 years ago.

sergiodeblanc
01-08-2013, 08:02 PM
No they are not as big as they were, I do a fair amount of traveling and can say it is rough all over the country. Economics play a big factor as well, people just don't have as much money for extras now as they once did.

veinbuster
01-08-2013, 08:31 PM
No they are not as big as they were, I do a fair amount of traveling and can say it is rough all over the country. Economics play a big factor as well, people just don't have as much money for extras now as they once did.

I am inclined to agree that the smaller crowds are more a matter of the economy than less interest in live music. No guarantee people will go out more if/when they have more money.

LSchefman
01-08-2013, 08:34 PM
Live music has been declining for a very long time, going back to the late 60s. Among a number of reasons might be:

1. People want to talk to each other and mingle more than they want to listen to loud live music; as a result, fewer bars are interested in live music than ever before.

2. The population is aging.

3. The best cover bands do high paying gigs like weddings - a good wedding nets a band 5K in some cities, and a bar gig hardly pays for gas.

4. Few people want to turn out for unknown original music bands, except the band's friends.

watelessness
01-08-2013, 09:53 PM
In 1983, the drinking age increased to 19 in new york, and i noticed only a slight difference in the clubs. When the age rose to 21 a couple years later, it decimated the bars in college towns. The rise of karaoke and dj's further diminished the market for live bands.

Harker1440
01-08-2013, 10:31 PM
The rise of karaoke and dj's further diminished the market for live bands.
^^^^THIS^^^^

Brian Baker
01-08-2013, 11:00 PM
Curtain time is bed time now.

Twinfan
01-09-2013, 03:31 AM
It's the same here in the UK too. Economics and the smoking ban are I think the biggest reasons for the last 5 years.

DISTORT6
01-09-2013, 06:45 AM
I think here in the NJ/NY area, the lack of rock radio has a lot to do with it. The stations here are not what they could be.
People aren't as exposed to rock music as they were 10-15 years ago.

Albrecht Smuten
01-09-2013, 06:50 AM
It's the hip-hop and r'n'b. And electronic music. Rock music is for dinosaurs. Move on to dubstep.

DISTORT6
01-09-2013, 06:57 AM
It's the hip-hop and r'n'b. And electronic music. Rock music is for dinosaurs. Move on to dubstep.
WUB, WUB, WUB! :rofl:

Ampguy
01-09-2013, 09:17 AM
Many of my friends are musicians. Most would starve if they didn't have day jobs. I like to hear live music, at least on the weekends. Unfortunately, our GOV has learned the profitability of roadblocks and the DUI laws. In Atlanta, it is not uncommon for the police to either set up random roadblocks and check every car or hang a block or so outside of the bars, waiting to pounce. Due to this, bars don't have the crowds of 10-15 years ago and can't afford to have a band. Some of the bars that do have bands are set up so that you pay to play, hoping that a cut of the door from your following, will cover your costs. It is pathetic. I am not saying that driving drunk is OK, but expecting to be stopped is a deal killer. Now MADD is trying to lower the blood alcohol limit from .08 to .04 or less. Then, if you have a glass of wine with a dinner eaten out, you will go to jail. We are becoming a police state!

vchizzle
01-09-2013, 11:17 AM
I think here in the NJ/NY area, the lack of rock radio has a lot to do with it. The stations here are not what they could be.
People aren't as exposed to rock music as they were 10-15 years ago.
We have a great rock radio station here, but unless it's a large show promoted by radio with 5+ big bands on the bill...
It used to be, you'd have 3-4 bands on a bill - 2 of them being fairly big. Now it seems like theres 5-6 bands on a lot of shows just to sell the show.


It's the hip-hop and r'n'b. And electronic music. Rock music is for dinosaurs. Move on to dubstep.
I live in a college town and students don't frequent ANY club with live music. They're not interested.

Smaller clubs(200-400 cap) don't promote like they used to. They'll put up the free ad stuff - hope some facebook friends show, but they don't make any real effort. Used to hear radio spots for clubs that would list off their next 5 live shows. Never anything like that anymore. No drink specials, nothing to make people want to go. I remember places being packed 15 years ago, where it was tough to get in. No more.

LSchefman
01-09-2013, 11:52 AM
Many of my friends are musicians. Most would starve if they didn't have day jobs. I like to hear live music, at least on the weekends. Unfortunately, our GOV has learned the profitability of roadblocks and the DUI laws. In Atlanta, it is not uncommon for the police to either set up random roadblocks and check every car or hang a block or so outside of the bars, waiting to pounce. Due to this, bars don't have the crowds of 10-15 years ago and can't afford to have a band. Some of the bars that do have bands are set up so that you pay to play, hoping that a cut of the door from your following, will cover your costs. It is pathetic. I am not saying that driving drunk is OK, but expecting to be stopped is a deal killer. Now MADD is trying to lower the blood alcohol limit from .08 to .04 or less. Then, if you have a glass of wine with a dinner eaten out, you will go to jail. We are becoming a police state!

When my daughter was in high school, one of her cheer team teammates was killed by a drunk driver. The funeral of a 15 year old girl is not something anyone needs to experience in this life, so I'm all for the idea of taxicabs, designated drivers, etc.

In my area, Michigan, young people OFTEN have designated drivers, or take cabs, now. My kids (who are in their 20s and early 30s) wouldn't even consider driving after having a drink. And they're not a bunch of goody-two-shoes people.

A car driven by even a slightly inebriated person can be a dangerous weapon. I have zero problem with strict enforcement of drunk driving laws.

sergiodeblanc
01-09-2013, 12:35 PM
It's the hip-hop and r'n'b. And electronic music. Rock music is for dinosaurs. Move on to dubstep.

Since 2008 I have played, or still do play in bands in each of these genres. I live in a fairly large market (Chicago), and as stated earlier travel, and I can tell you that audience turnout is equally as dead for these acts as well. It has gotten bad enough that with the exception of the festival season (May-September) most of the clients I work for can't afford to justify playing anything but local gigs. If there were a genre of music that was exempt from this downturn you can bet I would be trying to work in it.

I hear they give headset microphones to the employees working the drive-through at Burger King, that might have to be my next venue. It's not all bad I guess, they actually pay for your stage clothes there and they have veggie burgers.:star:

Mikegarveyblues
01-09-2013, 01:49 PM
It's the same here in the UK too. Economics and the smoking ban are I think the biggest reasons for the last 5 years.

Yup... Things aren't great! :(

Cheep booze available at the supermarkets has put a lot of pubs out of business.

Still a few places play live music but it's rare I see them full.

zebraprs
01-09-2013, 02:48 PM
Here in Southern NJ, I see the same thing... But i think it has more to do with the DWI than the economy. I don't even try to book clubs where we don't have local following.. it is very frustrating to say the least...

captdg
01-09-2013, 03:23 PM
Many of my friends are musicians. Most would starve if they didn't have day jobs. I like to hear live music, at least on the weekends. Unfortunately, our GOV has learned the profitability of roadblocks and the DUI laws. In Atlanta, it is not uncommon for the police to either set up random roadblocks and check every car or hang a block or so outside of the bars, waiting to pounce. Due to this, bars don't have the crowds of 10-15 years ago and can't afford to have a band. Some of the bars that do have bands are set up so that you pay to play, hoping that a cut of the door from your following, will cover your costs. It is pathetic. I am not saying that driving drunk is OK, but expecting to be stopped is a deal killer. Now MADD is trying to lower the blood alcohol limit from .08 to .04 or less. Then, if you have a glass of wine with a dinner eaten out, you will go to jail. We are becoming a police state!

Our MADD chapter president (this was 7 yrs ago) was coming from a champagne brunch on the beach and a police officer was going to pull her over for a minor infraction. She tried to ditch him by going through a subdivision at a high rate of speed and as she was coming around a sharp curve near a bluff, skidded and plunged through a roof on a house below. It killed a sixteen year old kid watching a basketball game in his bedroom.. I used to post a link to this, but because of her influence, and it being seven years ago the news posts have been deleted. She got ten years probation but they eviscerated her in civil court.....

captdg
01-09-2013, 03:25 PM
Since 2008 I have played, or still do play in bands in each of these genres. I live in a fairly large market (Chicago), and as stated earlier travel, and I can tell you that audience turnout is equally as dead for these acts as well. It has gotten bad enough that with the exception of the festival season (May-September) most of the clients I work for can't afford to justify playing anything but local gigs. If there were a genre of music that was exempt from this downturn you can bet I would be trying to work in it.

I hear they give headset microphones to the employees working the drive-through at Burger King, that might have to be my next venue. It's not all bad I guess, they actually pay for your stage clothes there and they have veggie burgers.:star:

Sergio, Do you remember when Larry Lujack and WLS used to prmote local bands in the Chicagoland area?

rugerpc
01-09-2013, 03:27 PM
Our MADD chapter president (this was 7 yrs ago) was coming from a champagne brunch on the beach and a police officer was going to pull her over for a minor infraction. She tried to ditch him by going through a subdivision at a high rate of speed and as she was coming around a sharp curve near a bluff, skidded and plunged through a roof on a house below. It killed a sixteen year old kid watching a basketball game in his bedroom.. I used to post a link to this, but because of her influence, and it being seven years ago the news posts have been deleted. She got ten years probation but they eviscerated her in civil court.....

I'm debating how to respond to this since it reads like bait...

captdg
01-09-2013, 03:31 PM
I'm debating how to respond to this since it reads like bait...

I will try my best to find suporting evidence.. Milton Florida and i will see if my wife remembers her name. This is not to discredit MADD.

captdg
01-09-2013, 03:43 PM
One thing I live with here in the Redneck Rivera is blatant hypocracy.. I am not going to get into either politics nor religion...But if they are going to lower the BAC to .04 then they should also pull peoples licenses if they cant pass a driving test every few years, or texting and driving or putting on makeup. In Germany, if I am not mistaken, it is way harder to get a drivers license. And people there dont "Multitask while on the Autobahn. many people are killed due to negligence or no "situational awareness"..

Back to the topic..we are lucky as we have a tourist industry which fosters live music especially nostalgia. Whatever happened to the motels with the lounge? if one gets plastered just get a room!

Ampguy
01-09-2013, 03:44 PM
When my daughter was in high school, one of her cheer team teammates was killed by a drunk driver. The funeral of a 15 year old girl is not something anyone needs to experience in this life, so I'm all for the idea of taxicabs, designated drivers, etc.

In my area, Michigan, young people OFTEN have designated drivers, or take cabs, now. My kids (who are in their 20s and early 30s) wouldn't even consider driving after having a drink. And they're not a bunch of goody-two-shoes people.


A car driven by even a slightly inebriated person can be a dangerous weapon. I have zero problem with strict enforcement of drunk driving laws.

I fully agree with the above. I don't condone drinking and driving. If you must drink, you must use a taxi. It is much cheaper than a DUI anyway. Taxis add to your evening's costs, which again may keep more people home making it hard for bars to justify a band. But, I hope that the laws don't change to prevent a glass of wine with dinner and they may.

sergiodeblanc
01-09-2013, 03:51 PM
Sergio, Do you remember when Larry Lujack and WLS used to prmote local bands in the Chicagoland area?

I do. I also appeared many times on Q101's New Music show with Chris Payne before the whole Clear Channel thing came along. It helped a bunch of bands get more exposure and turned me on to some great music I would not have heard otherwise.

You know the other thing that is really killing live music and quite a bit of vendors in Chicago is parking. I spend about $12 to park my car in Wicker Park if I have a 6 o'clock load in time, and have to leave the club to feed the meter, I wouldn't mind so much if the meters were not owned by a privately owned investor group. I'll stop now as I am getting dangerously close to a discussion of politics, and Chicago politics at that.:vroam:

swede71
01-09-2013, 07:08 PM
The coverbandscene has stagnated.Time to have a new repertoire or at least have a contemporary version of Living on a prayer.Karaoke sells more beer than a coverband playing classic rock hits.Today Djs sells out arenas so if you want clubs filled with people you need a local cover Dj.

FaradaysLawBass
01-10-2013, 02:03 AM
I'm the bass player in GUSH's band. We don't play the horrible covers most bands would play. We don't have change in our pockets and we don't live on a prayer. We've been trying to re-vamp the band with 1. a new name after ten years, 2. with music that is different than what most crap bands are playing and, 3. finding different places to play that are a little more "upscale" from the average small-town Iowa bar. We play; RUSH, limelight. Kansas, carry on wayward son. Styx, blue collar man. The Police. Rage Against the Machine. Tool. Journey. (3 to four part harmonies if we can). All this while keeping our stage volume as low as possible (which is MUCH lower than most bands)/ and FOH volume too. It's just odd to have people say we're the best cover band they've heard in this area but the bodies just aren't there on gig nights (and we've heard this for the last 5-8 years. Consistently). One would think if someone liked our band, they would tell their friends? Look us up on Facebook? Show up to another gig? Nope. They all go to the bands touting being drunk off their asses and promoting heavy drinking while playing the same old bar-band crap, very poorly ("harmony" does not equal everyone singing "unison"), and being ear-splittingly loud (earplugs and earmuffs required). Or Maybe I'm just getting older and don't know what the kids like these days; with their stickers, teddy ruxpins, unicorns and such.

captdg
01-10-2013, 06:11 AM
[QUOTE=FaradaysLawBass;40217]I'm the bass player in GUSH's band. We don't play the horrible covers most bands would play. We don't have change in our pockets and we don't live on a prayer. We've been trying to re-vamp the band with 1. a new name after ten years, 2. with music that is different than what most crap bands are playing and, 3. finding different places to play that are a little more "upscale" from the average small-town Iowa bar. We play; RUSH, limelight. Kansas, carry on wayward son. Styx, blue collar man. The Police. Rage Against the Machine. Tool. Journey. (3 to four part harmonies if we can). All this while keeping our stage volume as low as possible (which is MUCH lower than most bands)/ and FOH volume too. It's just odd to have people say we're the best cover band they've heard in this area but the bodies just aren't there on gig nights (and we've heard this for the last 5-8 years. Consistently). One would think if someone liked our band, they would tell their friends? Look us up on Facebook? Show up to another gig? Nope. They all go to the bands touting being drunk off their asses and promoting heavy drinking while playing the same old bar-band crap, very poorly ("harmony" does not equal everyone singing "unison"), and being ear-splittingly loud (earplugs and earmuffs required). Or Maybe I'm just getting older and don't know what the kids like these days; with their stickers, teddy ruxpins, unicorns and
Do you have anything on Youtube? sounds great. People do get tired of Gimme three steps, Old time rock and roll and Cocaine....

watelessness
01-10-2013, 06:38 AM
I'm the bass player in GUSH's band. We don't play the horrible covers most bands would play. We don't have change in our pockets and we don't live on a prayer. We've been trying to re-vamp the band with 1. a new name after ten years, 2. with music that is different than what most crap bands are playing and, 3. finding different places to play that are a little more "upscale" from the average small-town Iowa bar. We play; RUSH, limelight. Kansas, carry on wayward son. Styx, blue collar man. The Police. Rage Against the Machine. Tool. Journey. (3 to four part harmonies if we can). All this while keeping our stage volume as low as possible (which is MUCH lower than most bands)/ and FOH volume too. It's just odd to have people say we're the best cover band they've heard in this area but the bodies just aren't there on gig nights (and we've heard this for the last 5-8 years. Consistently). One would think if someone liked our band, they would tell their friends? Look us up on Facebook? Show up to another gig? Nope. They all go to the bands touting being drunk off their asses and promoting heavy drinking while playing the same old bar-band crap, very poorly ("harmony" does not equal everyone singing "unison"), and being ear-splittingly loud (earplugs and earmuffs required). Or Maybe I'm just getting older and don't know what the kids like these days; with their stickers, teddy ruxpins, unicorns and such.

I have been in similar bands playing complex meter songs. That type of band is meant to be watched more than danced to. Ladies like to dance. Based on the set list you described i dont see a whole lot of dancing going on. The more dancing, the more the event becomes a party as opposed to a concert. Have you tried throwing 3-4 consecutive danceable songs into your set list? You might find that by accommodating a different segment of your audience you might be able to retain your main identity

Boogie
01-10-2013, 06:59 AM
IMO, the biggest competition is more competition. There are more options for people to choose from for entertainment. It's tough to compete with NetFlix and a bottle of wine. Most of the venues around here consider working with bands to be a major PITA and would prefer not to. Lack of professionalism is usually the biggest complaint. Ironically, that's our biggest beef with the venues. Add to that the economic crunch on bars and restaurants and you've got a serious drop in the desire for live entertainment.

Bars here want us to play what they like, not what we like. And with the opportunities to play being as slim as they are, that's what you have to do. Do I despise pop country music? Yes. Do we play 2 Jason Aldeen tunes? Yes. You suck it up and make the customer happy. And since I didn't start this band, though I have a voice, there's no sense in rocking the boat when we have a pretty good thing. We won't get rich, but we play all the time and make gas money, so it's well worth the sacrifice.

SoundMan
01-10-2013, 09:04 AM
I run Sound for Faraday's Law. Been listening to live music for 20+ years. I grew up with Ukulele's and 3 part harmony. I can still remember sitting around my grandpa's kitchen table with my mom, her brothers and my grandpa singing some old folk song or Catholic Hymn. That being said, I can carry a tune vocally. I've never played an instrument professionally or otherwise for that matter. I mess around on my 6 string acoustic whenever I get off my lazy butt.

(I can't believe SoundMan wasn't taken)

So, here's the deal. It's the economy. It's the DUI laws. It's the competition from World of Warcraft and Netflix and a bottle of wine. Its all of that and because some bar bands, should have just stayed at home they're giving the professionals a bad name. (I deal with this type of thing all the time in my business, some guy comes along and does it cheaper, less quality etc. then people switch to him because they have the WalMart mentality about products..ie if it's cheaper it has to be better...they pay for it in the long run and then we all get a black eye because some dumb ass should have just kept it in the garage and not sell it on the streets!)

This being a PRS site, it's my assumption that most of the readers here understand what good sound quality is otherwise, you wouldn't be frequenting a PRS forum. (Rock on!!!! PRS make's some bad ass guitars!)

What we've got here is the price we pay for mediocracy. We've been giving ribbons out for participation and 9th and 10th places when there's only 9 and 10 participants for so long, no body knows what great is. Now every "precious little snow flake" that comes off the assembly line of government schools and entitlement mentality think that when they come to the bar they "deserve" a Pink Floyd experience without a cover. That being said, they also expect you to know all their favorite songs AND stairway to heaven.

The burn outs from the 80's (I'll raise my hand) want some good hard rock with kick ass riff's and clean enough sound to cut a steak with and mostly what we get is Cerwin Vega's kicking out muddy crap that wouldn't pass the litmus test at a Meth Lab. Mostly because the gigs don't pay and without money...good equipment is impossible.

We're all in a catch 22. We need good paying jobs to get good guitars and drums and mics and gear!!!! We need this gear to get the sound just right. The good paying gigs are all predicated on attendance from a mediocre crowd that wouldn't know good music from gimme three steps sung by a drunk cowboy on a WalMart special Karaoke machine. So even if we do get the sound right, we got the best gear, the best show stopping performance, etc. will the people in the audience actually value the experience? Will they get it that these are mostly a bunch of guys that have 40HR week jobs, Wives, Kids, and a mortgage? Will the people understand that what they are doing on stage is hard wired from birth. It's a release mechanism. It's ART!!! Yeah it's fun, but it's more than that. I'm not saying that 20 years ago, people understood what it took to have a good band, good harmony, good music, good attitude, good stage presence...I guess what I'm saying is 20 years ago, people knew what hard work was. They understood what it took to make things happen. It's not press a button and you get gear for your 60th level Rogue on WOW. It's dedication to a cause. It's what gets us up in the AM to know that a job well done IS the reward!

I love this type of music and always will. The people are broke!

sergiodeblanc
01-10-2013, 10:46 AM
I have been in similar bands playing complex meter songs. That type of band is meant to be watched more than danced to. Ladies like to dance. Based on the set list you described i dont see a whole lot of dancing going on. The more dancing, the more the event becomes a party as opposed to a concert. Have you tried throwing 3-4 consecutive danceable songs into your set list? You might find that by accommodating a different segment of your audience you might be able to retain your main identity

Great advice for every band!

hippietim
01-10-2013, 11:19 AM
People do get tired of Gimme three steps, Old time rock and roll and Cocaine....

Actually, they don't. Add Brown Eyed Girl, 867-5309, Wonderwall, Don't Stop Believin', Hard To Handle, Sweet Home Alabama, Blister In The Sun, etc. to that list as well. WE may get tired of them but THEY don't. And even the folks that may claim to be tired of them will still hit the dance floor and sing along. Nobody (other than maybe one of us) walks out on a band that's playing that stuff reasonably well with enthusiasm.

I would like to see a band like what FaradaysLawBass is in - but most people don't want to here Rush and Kansas at a typical pub/restaurant/tavern. There's a difference between those places and an actual music venue. People go to bars to drink and dance so the music needs to cater to that - this is why DJs and Karaoke are able to compete for those slots. People go to music venues because they want to see a live performance of music - I bet you don't see DJs or Karaoke at these places.

hippietim
01-10-2013, 11:23 AM
Live music has been declining for a very long time, going back to the late 60s. Among a number of reasons might be:

1. People want to talk to each other and mingle more than they want to listen to loud live music; as a result, fewer bars are interested in live music than ever before.

2. The population is aging.

3. The best cover bands do high paying gigs like weddings - a good wedding nets a band 5K in some cities, and a bar gig hardly pays for gas.

4. Few people want to turn out for unknown original music bands, except the band's friends.

I came of age in the early 80's and this was all true then. Nothing has really changed since then. The one newish thing in the mix is Karaoke - but that's not taking away any band nights, nobody that wants to dance and drink is going anywhere that has Karaoke.

hippietim
01-10-2013, 11:35 AM
Raising the drinking age is probably the most drastic hit I've seen to live music. Probably the DWI checkpoints as well.

I actually go out to bars quite a bit - 2-5 times a week. I almost never drink so I don't mind being the designated driver. But I see so many people that are very cavalier about drinking and driving. I'm completely appalled by people that drink too much and drive and have absolutely no sympathy for people that get DWIs. In fact, I hope they get busted every single night they do it. There is simply no excuse for this behavior.

The flip side to all of this is we live in a country where you can't drink until you're 21 but you can vote at 18, be tried as an adult at the age 15 (or younger?), be deployed to foreign lands and be given the responsibility of making life or death decisions, etc. It's ridiculous really. I see enough middle aged men and women get hammered and drive a car to know that the age doesn't matter much - either you're a responsible person or you're not - waiting a few years doesn't change that.

So I say lower the drinking age and increase the checkpoints.

FaradaysLawBass
01-10-2013, 01:24 PM
to CAPTDG: Not yet. We have some live recordings on Reverbnation under "Filthy Sanchez", our old band name.

Blackbird
01-10-2013, 01:52 PM
People go to music venues because they want to see a live performance of music - I bet you don't see DJs or Karaoke at these places.

Actually you do, more and more all the time. I saw Deadmau5 last year at a sold out Palladium in Dallas, which was a killer show.
See also: Skrillex, Bassnectar, Girl Talk. They just push buttons and spin records, but lot's of people eat it up.

markie
01-10-2013, 02:13 PM
I dunno what it is for sure, but I believe it is cyclical. In the late late 70s & early 80s everything went Disco. The bar bands experienced a downturn that is similar to what we see today. Disco finally went away & the band scene came back. Will rap or whatever it may be called disappear anytime soon? Dunno the answer, but I would guess the bar band scene will return if that happens..........

ACE
01-10-2013, 03:16 PM
Out here in So Cal it's simple. As people age, they slow or stop going to bars. Which leaves the majority of patrons in their 20's and 30's. Young women like to hear music they can dance to and don't want to see middle aged men playing guitar. Young men are trying to score with young women so they don't want to see middle aged guys playing guitar. Best solution--DJ with mac book.

Mikegarveyblues
01-10-2013, 04:17 PM
I dunno what it is for sure, but I believe it is cyclical. In the late late 70s & early 80s everything went Disco. The bar bands experienced a downturn that is similar to what we see today. Disco finally went away & the band scene came back. Will rap or whatever it may be called disappear anytime soon? Dunno the answer, but I would guess the bar band scene will return if that happens..........

I believe it's cyclical too.

Things aint great now and I suspect they may get worse but there will be a revival of sorts. Question is... Is the golden era over with?

swede71
01-10-2013, 04:50 PM
There will be a revival in the old-age care centers in say 10-20 years.I would love to see bands playing original music no matter the genre in a bar.It doesnt sell many beers so it will never happen.

gush
01-10-2013, 05:25 PM
Thanks to all that responded. Lot of good opinions. Yes we could play danceable material and help our crowd but i have been playing for 30 years and its time to satisfy me. I was sure this crowd thing was widespread and i have told my guys that we need to tbink outside the box. I have a couple of ideas that im going to try this summer,see how that pans out.
I will keep everyone posted.

jfine
04-22-2013, 05:42 AM
There are a lot of reasons why the gigs have gone away. The drunk driving laws--and I'm all for keeping drunk drivers off the roads; I don't want them hitting me on my way home from the gig--but especially the way they're enforced. The police don't wait for drunks to stagger out the door of the club--they pick them off at random as they leave the parking lot. I've been stopped many times after gigs--I don't drink, so I wasn't even remotely impaired, and the cops were really disappionted that they couldn't get me for anything! Also, there's competition from video games, karaoke, DJ's, and other entertainment that doesn't involve actual musicians playing actual instruments. I used to play six nights a week, made a decent living at it for years, but those gigs have been gone for years. In the late '70's, punk and disco came in--punk made it fashionable to be a lousy player, although it took a decade or two for that to catch on, and it didn't really affect the live dance clubs anyway, but it changed people's perceptions of what live music should be. Disco, on the other hand, caused dance gigs to go overnight from bands to DJ's, and it never recovered. I remember hoping in about 1979 that John Travolta would make a movie about country music and make live music cool again--well, "Urban Cowboy" came out, and the only thing that changed was that the club DJ's went from playing disco records to playing country records. Nowadays the DJ's don't even spin discs--it's all on laptops now and they download all their material right off the internet. No learning the tunes, no learning how to play at all--just push a button and let your computer do the gig for you.
I'm a baby boomer--I was a teenager in the '60's--and I think my generation and the '70's kids who came after us were the last generation for whom live music was a big deal. Today's young people--and they're the ones without family obligations so they have the time to go clubbing--don't really care about it--they'd rather dance to electronica (disco by a different name).
I remember when some clubs would actually pay a decent wage to attract a good band, but that hasn't been true for decades. I think most of the clubgoers out there don't think they can dance to a band because they've never heard a good one!
A few years ago, I was in a '50's rock 'n' roll band, and virtually all of our gigs were at old folks' homes and retirement communities. Talk about making you feel old--that's what I started out trying to play! (Heck, I AM old--I just don't want to admit it!) OK, I'll get off my soapbox now. YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN...!:D

Norseman
04-22-2013, 07:23 AM
I play in a working cover band in Jersey and we've seen very fickle crowds, too. We started out playing music we all love (hard rock from 80's - today) and we used to have a TON of people show up. But then the numbers started to drop and our drummer INSISTED we started playing more "dance/pop" music. All the major venues and "Jersey shore bar bands" are playing the dance/pop stuff, so we bought into it and started using sequencing to really get the synth sound that all these bands have. It's really hit or miss. Some venues we know for a fact the "dance" music isn't going to work. Other's we can play the same venue and one night the dance music works and another night the rock music works. We played at Joe Pops in LBI for Halloween last year and the place was going nuts ...people were up for every song the entire night and acting like we were real rockstars. But meanwhile we played that same "Jersey shore dance music bar band" stuff 2 times that we played there throughout the summer and it was just middle of the road response.

My opinion is the DJ's really get the crowds these days for reasons everyone else has said: young girls want to dance all night, and young guys want to come wherever the young girls are. Older people just don't go out to the bars as much due to finances and running children around on the weekends. I also don't think they want to see a live band mimicking the DJ's. This couldn't be any clearer than when we have played Shannon Rose in Woodbridge who have a DJ play while we're on break. The DJ gets the entire place up and dancing, and then we get up and we're playing the exact same genre (and a lot of the same songs even) and little by little people are sitting down. So the last time we played there in our 3rd set we through in a lot of retro stuff (Journey, Metalica, Guns n Roses) and THAT got people to get on the dance floor and sing along/participate while we were on. But we learned the lesson too late (or the rest of the band did anyway because I had been saying that for years: when there's a DJ we shouldn't be playing the same exact genre/songs).

I used to go out to the bars to see bands in the early and mid 90's and the bands used play all music I liked and they used to get huge crowds at places like Jenks, Tiki bar, Martells, the Osprey, etc. But none of those places get crowds like they used to now - even with the DJ's.

frankb56
04-22-2013, 02:10 PM
Besides economics, I think itunes and similar music outlets have ruined the live music scene. People don't listen to albums anymore. They pick and choose one song from a band or artist and move onto the next. How is an artist supposed to draw a following with this happening? In essence, the music scene has changed dramatically over the past few decades. I think we have all become a bit ADD when it comes to music.

jfine
04-23-2013, 05:58 AM
frank--it's back to singles for sure, but it was that way in the '50's and early '60's too. Albums didn't become the focus until around '65 or so, with the Beatles putting out records like Rubber Soul and Revolver, and it wasn't until around 1967 that the concept of an album being a unified work rather than a collection of singles came in. To get radio play, your single had to be no longer than two-and-a-half minutes, and unless you were a huge star you could count on not getting radio play with a long track. Bob Dylan broke that barrier with "Like A Rolling Stone"--I'm still amazed that one got airplay as it was something like seven minutes long! FM underground rock radio would play long cuts, but by the time that really caught on it was on the way to becoming Album-Oriented Rock, or All-"Stairway-To-Heaven"-All-The-Time. Growing up in San Francisco, we had KMPX, the original underground FM rock station, and it was great while it lasted. They'd play the long versions of cuts like the Doors' "Light My Fire" and Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" where AM radio played shortened versions with most of the solos cut out. Of course the bands I was in played extended versions--back then you couldn't call yourself a lead guitarist unless you could blow your brains out for five or ten minutes at a time, and then came the drum solo...People would drop off the dance floor in droves, but all we had to do to get them back was play "Mustang Sally"!