When you’re touring, or even playing local shows, there are a lot of moving parts.
Who’s supplying the sound system if the venue doesn’t have their own?
Are the bands sharing backline?
Can we bring our own lights?
These are just a sample of the questions you might need to ask… Ultimately, it’s up to you to have a list of questions to go over with the venues that you are going to play.
Listen now to find out more about advancing your shows to make sure they go as smoothly as possible!
What you’ll learn:
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#3: 5 Things You Can Do To Avoid Becoming THAT Band At Shows
#4: How to Survive Winter Tours (And Not Hate Them)
Electro-Voice PL44 (discontinued, eBay search)
Allen & Heath MixWizard WZ3 16:2 (discontinued, eBay search)
2011 Indiana State Fair stage collapse
Welcome to Episode 13 of the Bandhive Podcast.
Once again, Welcome back to the podcast. This is Episode 13, which I feel is actually going to be a good luck charm for us because we have a topic that's going to help a lot of you be more prepared.
As always, I am James Cross, and I'm here with Erin generous of suburban samurai who is today my sleep deprived co host. Yes, I'm running on about 3. 5 4 hours of sleep, working my way slow burn style through an ice tea, which has way too much sugar in it. After six or seven hour session of doing some pre production demos, so stayed up super late got up super early. E. I feel like that is as close to life on the road as you will get while you are not on the road That's a really fair statement.
That's a good point is e think my body's confused because it feels a certain way. But then I also don't know why I'm waking up in a bed, let alone my bed. I was just about to say, You know, it's like being on the road, except you wake up in your own bed. But I have the feeling like that's the tour mindset. You're like, we're both thinking of sleeping in our own bed. It's like, Wait, we're not on the road. Wait, where's the van? Oh, I'm at home.
Yeah, Thankfully, I got ah, lot more sleep than that. I think I got about eight hours. I let's put it this way. You were telling me that you had to go out and you went to a store and you were there, like, 8. 15? Yes, I was still asleep in bed until, like, 8. 42 I think. And then I went to grab my phone and my fiance was like, uh, just wait till nine because she always gets looking up like I pick up my phone and apparently the bed shakes. So I think I was one half of a pop tart deep by that point this morning.
It's just that kind of day, huh? Well, today we're not going to talk more about sleep deprivation, at least not solely about sleep deprivation. But we're going to be talking about how you can prepare for the shows that you are going to be playing with what is called an advance. And it's not the fun kind of advance where you get money up front, although that would be nice. It's the kind of advance where you ideally talk to someone on the phone or through a video chat and iron out the details of your show and to say something that Matt said in a previous episode, and I can't remember which one it is.
I'm sorry, so you'll just have to go listen to them all to find out. Ah, lot of bands at the big level run their business like a business. Ah, lot of D I y bands don't and I'm paraphrasing here. This is not exactly what he said, but basically, he said more D I Y bands should run like big bands, even if they are at a d. I y. Level, because that is the kind of thing that puts you into the habits that as your band grows, you can grow comfortably rather than freaking out and not having any idea what's going on.
The best way to do some things to do it. And if you wanna GoPro the best way to do that's the start doing everything that you'd be doing when you're pro. Yeah, it's like if you spend thousands of hours learning your instrument and you're the best person in your town or your area, or even one of the top five, that's awesome. Good for you. But how are you going to turn that into a business? You need to be able to at least have a basic understanding of the business side of things, And that's why we talk about business that's we want people to have the skills and knowledge to run a business.
As a D. I Y artist, you are an entrepreneur. That means you run your own business. We're going to talk about advances today because, for example, if you look at any major artist with a big touring production, they're going to do an advance, probably multiple advances. I know you were talking about that with the artist you worked with. You used to do like a hospitality advance and then a production advance, and you would literally talkto like two or three different people for every show, at least. Yeah, yeah, and it's just depending on the kind of events that we're doing.
Um, it might be one point of contact or it might be a few. Or it might be one point of contact to, you know, then says OK, well, here's my you know, sound person. Here's my whatever. Yeah, for me. I came from the venue production side of things. So I frequently did advances with artists who had no idea what in advance waas and frequently they'd be pleasantly surprised at how well the show ran because everybody was on the same page going in. So an advance is important because it lets you communicate clearly and effectively, and it sets expectations in advance, and it prevents most.
I wouldn't say all but most unwanted surprises. Basically, you talk about anything that needs to be talked about. Production needs, hospitality needs and for a D i y band, you know, hospitality. When I've done that, basically I'd say, Hey, please, have you no clean drinking water available so we can refill our bottles Or if you don't have potable water, which means it's safe to drink bottled water. Now I'm all against single use plastic, but unfortunately, sometimes, like at a festival in the middle of the desert, there's nothing you can do about that quick side note.
I went to the Fourth of July fireworks in L. A a few years ago, and they had literal trailers full of potable water for refill stations because they knew they didn't have enough water fountains in the area. So they literally had a giant trailer like a water tank with an extra water fountain hooked up on like six sides of it, like six water fountains, three on each side, you know, and that's something that's really cool. I would love to see festivals in such doing that I know, like work toward had a water refill station, but it's tough to find they still sold a lot of water.
That's awesome. You'll definitely run into situations where, like you said, it might be a little harder to accomplish. You know, if you're in a building and you've got either a large group of your own or you've got union folks that are like, You know, serving is like supplemental hands. You reach a certain point where it's hard to like control everybody. But they're definitely those things that you can do to sort of like at least offered the opportunity for those people to make their own choices. So that water tank things like super awesome.
I agree. And I just remembered it now because it was almost four years ago that I saw that because I only lived in L. A for like, six months. And then I moved to San Diego, which was way nicer. Sorry to those of you who live in l. A. But I'd much prefer San Diego. Yeah, so things like that and then for production. Basically, it means that you are not going to walk into somewhere and realize that you can't even play your backtracks, that your band needs to perform live because that would be a really awful situation to be.
And that would it could potentially be a show stopper, like I know bands who, you know, they played a summer music festival, and it was too hot and their laptop died. And instead of saying Well, we'll do without backtracks They said We can't do it without backtracks, Which that's unfortunately at that point, I'm like, Is your show actually live like you can't just play with a guitar and drums and bass like you literally need the backtracks to play. I wouldn't name names, but I don't even remember who it was.
I just remember one year I was out on the road, and that happened like a band couldn't play their set because their laptop was dead. I'm like, Dude, you didn't have a backup like you could have at least had a stereo track on your phone and plugged in your phone or something like that would have been better than nothing. It was not like a hip hop actor, an act where it's like Beat based. It was a rock band. It's called risk management. People train yourself to be like, just a little paranoid when you wake up, it's healthy and clearly it would have been helpful because they had, like, a separate, like a second Mac book or something, or or like you said on their phone.
I mean by now. People who listen to this podcast probably know I'm kind of like an aviation geek by the few times I've mentioned planes. But, like literally a plane, everything is safety critical. Every system that is critical has at least one backup, if not to. So think about it like you have two engines, sometimes even four. If a plane has two engines on Lee two engines, there are tons of extra regulatory things that you have to go through if you're gonna be more than 60 minutes from an airport.
So, for example, like transatlantic flights have to file extra paperwork if those planes only have two engines, which is most planes these days, but it just shows that you should always have ah, backup. You drive around in a van, you have a spare tire if you have a trailer. I hope you have a spare tire for that as well. My point here is you should always have a backup, because in pretty much any industry, if there is a vital part, there is a backup for that vital part.
I'm a huge fan of the if it's something that I'm like asking somebody, and it may seem a little redundant or whatever. The one time I don't ask is the one time I really would have wished that I did. And that could be applied to, like, almost anything because, like being prepared and like a show, advance isn't about in the perfect world. Anything and everything you're advancing is totally redundant. And it's just like the majority that is, You know, you just both walking through something that you both already know about.
But it's helpful to confirm with that you're going to dig up something that you know. We didn't talk about that. Let's talk about that. Or I thought that this was the piece of gear that you were offering us is back line or this is the audio system you have. We thought it was this or that's the way you catch things is like, What does Santa do? He makes his list and he checks it twice. Yep, that's a good one. I'm going to remember that. That's actually very relevant to this episode, that zio.
Now you've got to sing this song, though on the spot came up with that on the spot. I'm still gonna make you sing that song. At some point, they will do a Christmas episode. Be a good intro anyway. So before you do the advance, there are some basic things you should know about the show. So I'm still thinking of you singing Christmas carols on the podcast I could sing through this next list could be like that. What is the 12 Whatever's of Christmas or something? The nine. I'm not gonna dio killing me Here.
You come here. We do have at least nine things that you should know before you go into an advance. And obviously, when you're doing in advance just to jump down to the end of our list here, the time frame is probably about 1 to 2 weeks before the show. We had a pool in the Band High Facebook group recently, and it seems that most people book their show is 3 to 4 months in advance, which I think is pretty safe for the D I y band. If you're doing a longer tour, I would definitely suggest doing like five or six months or more, just so you know, there aren't any gaps.
But some venues won't even entertain booking requests that far in advance, but it never hurts to ask. Worst case scenario, they'll say, Come back in two months. So 1 to 2 weeks before the show, you should already on. I really hope this is obvious. No, the date of the event, the venue and city that you're playing the contact information for the promoter, which is, you know, name, email, phone number, all that kind of stuff. The status of the show, which hopefully is confirmed and announced. But if it's pending two weeks beforehand, you should definitely be kick some butts into gear.
I will jump in and just say, and the status. So yes, that should be Yeah, it's been on sale for exactly as long as you thought it has been. Assuming it's not just a door deal, whatever. And so one extra point to if you're at the point where you are playing shows that offer tickets in advance. One good thing to sort of consider like a status check on would be where we out with sales. That's a great idea. Yeah, and I did a tour, and every day the artist was able to log into an online portal where each venue was updating the ticket sales.
And this was not a big tour. I was going to say so. It's not all like the tourism bought out by, like, no, no single entity, like playing like 200 cap venues. Mostly there were a few that were bigger, a few that were smaller, but it was like small clubs and bars. They got, like, all the different promoters to agree toe like pull or like, kind of feed them information. Yeah, I'm not exactly sure how he did it. He might have been handling the presales himself through, like Brownpapertickets or something, but either way, he was able to get information.
For all I know, He might have just had, like, a Google sheet and said, Everybody filling your own ticket numbers or something. But he was everyday, logging in and checking his numbers. I was the driver, so I actually never got to see that screen because he was sitting behind me. But I knew he would be like, Oh, like I just checked. We sold, you know, 60 tickets in Arizona or wherever it was. I've never seen something like that in, um, like a smaller club thing, but that's it makes sense that that's a thing that's super cool.
And I mean, yeah, if you're selling tickets, you should on that phone call. That should be one point, but that's even better. If you could work that out, I would say, if you just make an Excel or Google Doc spreadsheet and put each show in there and then it could even be a Muchas like you just tell the promoter like Hey, every day, send me a daily update on tickets. If you didn't sell any tickets, just let me know you didn't sell any tickets because otherwise they'll forget like, But if they're in the habit of emailing you every single day, it will be done.
And that's something that takes, like two minutes so they should be able to do that. It's not the kind of thing where, when they're going to say, I don't have time for that, it's two minutes like they can give you a check in, like every other day. But yeah, so the status. You should also know the ticket price, and that should be both for advanced sales and the day of show cost. Because a lot of venues do have it cost more day of show, and you should know anything about the deal that you have the venue.
So this is all stuff that if you haven't booked to show yourself, your booking agent might have ironed it out. But you should still understand what it is and be able to discuss it if it comes up, especially the day of the show, when you're getting paid, you want to understand what the deal means so you can get the right amount of money and not be screwed over by the promoter. And I'll put it this way. If you don't have a tour accountant traveling with you, chances are you're the tour accountant.
Somebody will need to fulfill those duties. Yeah, I agree. You're not the c p a. Your the D I A. That do it all versus certified public accountant. It might seem like vague or hazy. You're like, you know, chicken and the egg E. But it's not. It's just literally talking about like, what's the d A. Is it a cover? Do we get you know that our house nut and we get you know, everything after the first X amount or is a percentage? Or is it like an over under?
It's literally just Lett's something that you would have already talked about when you book the show. So this point, it should be super easy and just, you know, checking in on how you're doing and making sure that you're both thinking, Yeah, the deal is exactly what you think it is, checking that one piece of it before you walk through the front door. It's something that, being on the same page yourselves so immensely and having good tour accounting matters. So much for that. One. Last thing that you would really want to know before the show is even booked is if the venue has age restrictions.
Just because if you're a hair metal band, it might not matter so much. But if you are, you know, a pop punk band, you're probably gonna have a lot of fans who are under 21 or under 18, depending on you know where you are. I mean, I've seen shows in Canada that Air 19 plus or I've seen shows that air 16 plus or 14 plus, like everywhere, has different regulations. Sometimes it's a venue policy. Sometimes it's a law. Sometimes I've seen venues say, You know, it's all ages until 9 p.m. And then it's 21 plus and stuff like that, which to me isn't fair because frequently the headliners playing still at 9 p.m.
But I have seen that happen. But now let's get into the meat of it and we're going to talk about some of the points that should be discussed and, yeah, I don't know. And I would say this is like the bare minimum that should be discussed. How do you feel about that? Totally. Yeah, I think when we kind of wrote these notes were kind of coming from sort of filtering maybe all of the insecurities and paranoia one would have when dealing with maybe, ah, larger tour And then, you know, shaving off anything that wouldn't actually potentially be applicable to somebody who's playing 250 or 300 cap at most clubs, like so with these, like, yeah, these would be applicable.
I would think to most people and service like the bare minimum. I'd even go as far as to say, kind of common sense, sort of like you kind of need this stuff toe operate and to, like, do a show and not be that band dye into an early episode. That would be Episode three, which was called Five Things You Conduce To avoid becoming that Bandit chose. If you want to listen to that episode, just go to Bandhive dot rocks slash three. That is the number three not spelled out, just the number three.
So before you start your advance, there are a few things you should have ready. Aside from the information we talked about, you should have a stage plot, which, if you don't have one, I highly recommend that you make one. If you Google stage plot pro, there is a free app. Works for Mac or Windows that you can use. Sorry, I shouldn't say it's free. There's a free 30 day trial, which is plenty of time to make a stage plot for your band, and hopefully your information doesn't change that much.
What you should have on it is a map of your stage, with the bottom being downstage or the side closest to the audience and the top of it being upstage side furthest from the audience. That way, you can give a picture or a map of your stage set up, including where everyone is, where amps are, where cabs are, where the drums are. Drum riser if you need one. Monitor wedge placements If you're picky about it, which I know most artists are where Mike's need to be, where you need power drops anything like that.
To go with it, you'll have an input list, which frequently is on the same sheet or the back side of the same sheet, which just says, Okay, we would like this microphone for our kick drum on this channel. And it's the kind of thing where, unless you're touring with your own stuff, you're probably not going to get what you want every single night. And I would definitely make a note on there saying, like, you know, for the kick mic and our dicks D six or equivalent. So that way, like if they don't have it, they can give you a beta 52 or ah d 1 12 or something like that.
That way they're not feeling like you're asking for too much toe. Also make sure that they don't feel like your asking them to rent something and then Bill you back for that later. Yeah, that would be no good either. E. I don't think anybody who would like mentally get that far with that thought like would actually do that, but it's still a good point to cover. Yeah, and typically, when I make an input list, I will note whether, if its preferred or required or were supplying it.
I'm a big fan of if it's something where it's like or default to. You know, if you're dealing with, like a resident sound person, the term dealer's choice, if it's something that can truly be, you know, not considered crucial to your show because that person would probably know the room unless you used to be that sound person. They'll know the room inside now. Yeah, and that's the kind of thing you know, I shouldn't have used the D six as an example, because for any rock band, I would definitely go for the D six over the D 1 12 or the Beta 52 just because it has more pronounced attack.
And this isn't on audio podcast. I'm going to shut up about it now, but there would be stuff like honestly carry your own vocal mix because vocal mix or gross again from an audio person standpoint, like I'm a big fan of a mike called the Electro Voice pl 44 which is out of production. That's what we record this podcast on. It's basically like the Shore beta 58 but much cheaper and it works. It sounds good. I like it more than the short sm 58 because it doesn't have that low mid buildup that the SM 58 sometimes have, especially when you get up on the mic really close.
So if I were to ever do a tour, I would bring these mikes along. But there's something that you need to know about them, which is because they are hyper cardi oId. They have a small area in the back that picks up sound, so if you have a monitor wedge right behind it, it's gonna feedback. You actually need the monitor wedge at about 45 degrees. Otherwise it will feedback. So it's things like that that would be talked about in the advance, and that's why you would need the stage plot to show the monitor placement if you're gonna be picky about it.
But like you were saying, Aaron, the dealer's choice thing. If you're not touring with your own vocal mix, that's what I would put on. I would say Vocal Mike Venue supplies Dealer's choice is a great way to put it, because if that engineers used to a certain vocal Mike, you want him to do that? Because the vocal mic isn't going to really be designed to tailor the sound like a kick drum mic might be like. The D six is specifically designed to make a kick drum sound a tacky with a nice punch in the low end.
Anyway, I really need to shut up about audio because I'm just nerd ing out about this and I could see Aaron. You're just like Oh boy. So, So enough of the audio talk. But that's some of the things you should have on the stage plotting input list. You should also always include your contact information, the name of your band so people have a clue of what they're looking at. What bandit is the date? It was updated, and the name of you it's like with your contact information.
Put your band's production contact that lets you or somebody else in the band. And again, even though it sounds like there's, you know, those things. It depends on what your band is. How Maney shows your bands play where you play. It really depends on exactly who you are and what you're doing. Um, but a za Long as you know, you kind of keep it up to date or like you place a macro on the back of your head that like, Oh, if I get a new piece of gear and put that into the show, I'll revisit the input list and the stage plot.
Maybe a za, long as you do that, you can kind of just do a really, really good thorough job once and then kind of like set it and forget it and just keep updating. Agreed. And actually, one thing I realized should be on the stage plot as well. If they're not hanging lights, you should have lights on there. So, for example, if they are sitting or standing on the stage in some way, or it's like on a tripod or something, that should be on the stage plot.
But if they're hanging from the trust or the grid above the stage, then you would not want them on the stage plot. James, do I have permission to be, um, super sarcastic? Go for it. I could pray that if you're a the point, uh, which is very exciting point. But if you're at the point where you're dealing with any sort of rigging, if you've got your own rigging person, you're probably not listening to this. So if you're asking somebody to do that for you, I also hope you're not listening to this or if you are.
Hi. How's it going? Like Aaron said, you definitely should have somebody else doing your rigging for you. If you're at that point, you should have outsourced the lighting to someone who knows really quick side story. If you Google Ramstein Stage accident, there is a video where they're lighting. Trust literally fell down during some higher Oh, and at that point, that is when till Lindemann the singer decided that a he was going to get a pyrotechnics license and be they were going to hire someone to run the pyro for them.
So don't be like a gum Stein. Don't wait till you almost burned down the venue before you outsource, something is critical as pyrotechnics and rigging. That's another thing, too. I'm rather fonds of, ah, local venue here in Vermont. That's can't be more than 100 50 cap like with people sitting on each other's laps. But it's super fun, and I know the people who run it and eso I like to play there. Thank God it wasn't a show that I was playing, but I have pulled up. You know, I was bored one night and like like who's playing and I decided to go to a show, and I kind of driving around the gig trying to find parking.
And I noticed a Ford F 2 50 parked out front with I'm not kidding. It was a 20 ft trailer on, and it was like, How do you get that far in life? So kind of Tie it back. Thio an advance and rigging This person was asking the poor sound guy who, like is mixing on anything bigger than like I don't know. That's like 36 channels like probably 24 channels that most like mounted on the wall. Knowing the venue you're talking about, it's a mix wizard. 16 to $16 million. Heath, Not even digital.
It's an analog board. It's like a $300 board. This person who, like, didn't think anything of showing up with a 20 ft trailer. Not telling somebody was like bothering this poor guy who's like, to be honest, like probably learning sound or like doing it because he enjoys it. And like he's asking that guy Thio hang like Parkins on this thing That's only meant to let you know, like Rod that's supposed to feel like a drape or something like E. Guess so my my point being not to try to rag on people, but sort of your shows.
Advance your shows, expanding your production and lights and sound and you know, scrims and gear is really exciting, but it can get very, really very quick. And, you know, people have died from, you know, somebody sort of bringing an extra piece of gear that either like, draws a lot of power or they want to try to hang something like lights or an extra P, a speaker or something like that. And you know, those people do that enough where they find somebody who will eventually give in and let them do that without talking about how to do that first.
And people have gotten hurt. So I don't I don't wanna be a Debbie Downer, and I think I'm like, totally being a Debbie Downer right now, but it's all super fun and exciting, and I think when people work together, these things could be really rad. But definitely don't be afraid to take in this way yourself in what you do. Seriously, That reminds me another story, which I can't remember. It's the Rolling Stones or Van Halen or Van Morrison or some one of those bands. You've probably heard the story.
I know you have Aaron, but you, the listener, they have a rider which stipulates they want a bowl of Eminem's in the dressing room with all the brown Eminem's removed, the common reaction I see that is what jerks like. They're gonna be so picky. You don't want the Brown Eminem's. But there's actually a very good reason for that. That band was playing a venue at a university. I believe it was in upstate New York, and in the band's rider, they outlined how much weight the floor had to carry for their stage and how will be distributed and, basically, how strong the floor needed to be.
Toe hold their stage and all the equipment and this venue had put in a new basketball court. They were playing in the university gym, and it had, like, that rubber kind of textured stuff. The stage sank into the floor and totally destroyed the brand new floor and made it unsafe for them to perform. After that is when they put in the brown Eminem's clause that no brown M and M's could be in the bowl because if they found Noble of Eminem's or Eminem's without the brown ones removed, they knew that the people doing the production and hospitality had not clearly read the rider and that they would have to go over everything in that rider before something disastrous happened to make sure that everything was safe.
So basically that was to them like a little warning mechanism like, Hey, the people here didn't read the rider. Clearly, they didn't pay attention to detail. Now we're going to go through everything with a fine tooth comb and make sure everything is safe before we let people in before we start working on other stuff because we don't want to risk injury to us, to our crew or to the fans. That's not a move that I would suggest any d i y band do because you're not at the point where you're taking your own stage.
But it just illustrates how important some of this could be Sort of a translate that situation to something that might be more applicable to some of the people listening. I am not an electrician's disclaimer, so this might not be how this works. I think of it like, you know, if you've got a super powerful aunt that just draws a lot of juice or nine guitar players or something. So you're basically calling out the Scott bands. Yeah, if you're Scott Band and you're you know you're playing in like a like a small club bar, kind of a hole in the wall sort of a thing, and it kind of feeds back into the if you're trying to do something that's like probably really, really awesome, but just will not, from a technical perspective work in the space that you're trying to make it work and the person who's in charge of telling you or the person whose responsibility is to tell, you know, doesn't then that would lead to the same thing.
Like hanging park hands from curtain rods. Yeah, or like, Hey, can I set off fireworks in here? The answer should be probably well know. But I'm sure there are people who have been like, Okay, we look at Providence like That's what I was thinking 17 years ago that happened like there should not have been pyro in a club that holds, like, 300 people. But somebody decided to do it and killed a bunch of people. That's just the kind of thing. Like a lot of it, What we're saying is common sense.
Yeah, this is getting really, really serious, and I think probably like the hyper like way far one end of it. But like it's totally like all the same. Conversation, though, is I think what we're saying well and what I want to point out here is that we're getting so side tracked from our outline, but that's not because we're getting sidetracked. Yeah, we told some stories, but that's both because we're like tour parent mode were like, That's not safe. That's not safe. That's not safe. That's not safe.
Yeah, don't be afraid to slap some hands. Yeah, and that just goes to show like professional touring. People are so concerned about safety. There's a group called the Event Safety Alliance, which literally outlines safety for large tours and festivals. They have, like, a 200 page guidebook on event safety. I definitely recommend checking it out. It's something that's good to know. I have it in my bookshelf right there. Like it's a good reference, even for smaller shows. To be able to say, like, Okay, let me look at this.
Well, okay, like I can swing this, you know, And it just goes to show how serious this is. The E S a events. Safety lines came around after it was like 2011 2012 when three festival stages collapsed in one summer. It was like Indiana or Ohio. There was one in Don't know his Norway or Sweden or whatever, and then there's a third one, and that was just a really bad summer for festivals. So they got together and said, We're going to do this and one of the people who runs it is the production manager for Lincoln Park.
So that just goes to show how safety minded the music industry is when it comes to live shows. And I were harping on this so much because it really is important. So one thing that I think we should add to our outline that's not on here is talking to the venue about fire safety. Yeah, yeah, that's really good. That's a good point. This is something that I actually haven't done in advance before. But I'm thinking of it now because I'm thinking back to one specific venue that I did sound for a friend's band at You know what?
I'm totally going to drop names because this venue closed. They're gone. They got shut down for some sketchy stuff is what I heard. I can't confirm that. But in hey Viral Massachusetts and anyone who says I think you already know because I saw your face light up. It was called anchors up. Okay, well, so it was in the bottom floor of a building, and to get in there was like at the front of the building was the first floor. And then you go around the back of the building down a hill, kind of like my house here, actually to get into the lower level.
But not only that, you had to walk into this little I don't want to call it an alleyway. But it was a little path between a retaining wall that was holding like the ground back and the building, which was maybe 3. 5 4 ft wide. It was like at the point where if somebody was loading in or out a kick drum, you couldn't pass them like that's how small it was. And then you went into the entrance of the venue after about 2025 ft of walking through that little alleyway. That entrance was also the Onley exterior door for that level.
Not only that, there was a set of stairs that then went down to where the stage actually was and where the public was standing, where the audience waas. While I was there, I realized that not on Lee from an audio standpoint, was there set up awful because they had three channels of a 20 channel board that were functioning, which was like I've never seen something that bad before, but they did something that you're absolutely never supposed to dio. In audio, there's a such a thing called a snake, which, if you're if you're in a band, you probably know what that is.
It's like the cable that takes the signal from the stage to the board, or vice versa. But the cables in the snake are so small you are never supposed to put amplified signal that's going to the speaker's through their What you would do is put that signal through the snake and then at the other end, right by the speakers. Have the amplifiers there connected to what's coming through the snake and have it go directly to the speakers. You would not want to have the amplifiers, then the snake.
And then this is because that's a fire hazard. You're using cables that are far too small, too tough us off. The snake was going through the drop ceiling, which is against I don't know how many codes because you cannot have wiring. Just lying on the drop ceiling was just like, nice and not accessible to write exactly. It could start burning and you wouldn't notice it. You know which I mean, you probably noticed that speakers not functioning anymore, but that venue was such a fire hazard. Like I worked, the show is like, I'm never going back there.
And then, like a year later, they closed. So put it on the floor, like lifting like a cable ramp off. Something you need to fix is, like a heck of a lot easier than, like jumping up into the ceiling. And that's I mean, that whole venue, that was the worst job I've ever worked on. It was nothing to do with the bands or the public, anything that it was literally just the venue and the guy who ran it like yeah, so anyway, like I said, I only name them because they are no longer in existence and I don't even know the dude's name anymore.
And I don't know if it was the owner or somebody who worked there, but either way, that venue was a death trap. It's a good example of somebody not setting a good example. Yeah, and this is why it's so important to watch out for this kind of stuff to like, I'll be at a basement show. There's probably not much you can dio. But if you are playing an actual venue, whether that's a bar, something like that, talk to them, find out what their plan is. Make sure they're up to code and you know you're not gonna go through with a fine tooth comb.
But you could say, like, Hey, I just want to make sure you have emergency exits. Do you have a math so that when we're there, we can make sure we know where to go? Like if we're chilling in the Green Room and all of a sudden something goes down, where's the nearest exit that does that kind of stuff and sort of one difficult thing is like if anybody's, you know, a truly kind of pursuing the D. I think one thing that I'm shuras super obvious is there are times where, whether you'd want to admit out loud or not, you will need to make certain concessions to pursue what it is that you're pursuing.
But so, like, James says, better minimum. When you're on site, you'll be able to tell right off the bat if something seems very unsafe, if it's of concern to you, um, which perhaps it should be kind of run through like, Hey, it's a very minimum bare minimum simple discussions about where, like dead cases could live so they don't black people's paths Or just, you know, noting, if you know it is like a super weird shaped room, and it's like a hallway that goes on forever and then leads to a, you know, just making sure you understand, like how you get in, how you get out a bare minimum.
When I was in college, I worked at our school venue, which was only 70 cap. But we had a policy that for every single show we started the show with a fire announcement. The music would not start. I mean, the house music will be fine, but the live music would not start until one of our people went up and explained the procedures. If the fire alarm goes off, this is what you dio and I think part of that was because it was a school venue. But it was also because we were being trained to take safety seriously because our supervisor, she did ah lot of major touring stuff with big time acts.
She helped redesign the summer stage down in Central Park, the one they do like Good Morning America and whatever all those morning shows on and like the summer Siri's, the festival, Siri's or whatever in New York, like she did some really big time stuff. So her mind was already lined with this. Like, safety comes first, and that is something that we've told people this many times before, like the winter driving episode, which was what episode for If you're thinking, Oh, it's gonna be okay like sure until it's not.
Yeah, exactly. And it was episode for how to survive winter tours and not Haitham. And that's kind of like in the title. It's kind of supposed to be funny, like how to survive winter towards. But that's also seriously, how to survive winter tours. So we've spent about 20 minutes talking about safety now, so I'm going to say, Let's drop it here and just close it with this stuff's important. That is why we're still talking about it and why we're still sidetracked on this because, like, it could literally save your life.
And this sort of also rolls into maybe just a. I think we've probably touched on a few of the next few points within that. Typically, if we're talking about, like, egress and safety and all of those things we just discussed, that would also be, ah, part of, like a discussion on security, which sort of leads me into staffing s. I think we've already talked about, uh, you know, personnel ticket. You know, personnel door personnel, depending on what kind of work you're doing. Security audio lighting again. If those people are different, then whoever has been your primary point of contact at this point because the person who booked your show may not even be there when you're there.
So if there's some sort of, ah, like a handoff, this is a good opportunity to if you haven't already, which ideally, they would have already mentioned like Hey, you know Jim's going to be doing the sound. I'm not Whatever. It's a good point in time to just confirm all of those names and numbers and then reach out to them, if for nothing else just to say, Hey, I think everything's good. Do you need anything or has so and so already given you everything that you need for me?
And at that point you're close enough to the show. Were like, You should kind of already feel like you're in show mode to go along with that, talking about the venue personnel, what they're going to provide. You should also confirmed the venue address just to make sure that what you have on file is the right address So you don't show up in the wrong place and depending on where you're playing, like the door that you load in on might beyond. Like if you're on playing like a in a room in a building that's on like a city like a block corner, like the door you let in on might like.
Technically, if it would have an address, have a different address than, like the front door totally to that's actually I did a show in Vancouver where we had to go around to the back. It was literally on the front. There was a street, and on the back it was the other Street is just a long, narrow venue, and we parked around back and they let us in and we got our stuff. And then after that they're like, yes, that door stays locked because we don't have security there.
So if you want to go to the van, you have to literally walk around the whole block out of this way or that way. It was like in the middle of the block to it was like it was not a short walk. Finally out is just like you. Can you just let me out? And, like, let me back in? I'm gonna be gone for like, 30 seconds. I just have to get more merchant s. Oh, they love it because it's like I'm not lugging a box of merch to the van like that's not happening.
Yeah, but on that note parking what's available and what's needed. So, for example, if you have and I don't know why, somebody would tour with an F 3 50 it was the F 2 50. I'd understand it. Sorry, e 3. 50 e would understand because the e Siri's or the vans, the F series of trucks. I'm not going to name them, But it was a solo. Okay, so they were They were like, like, singular they That makes it even funnier. Solo act of the 20 ft trailer. Yeah, it was absolutely nuts. They had like a project.
It was really e think they, like, installed most of what they wanted to which it's probably like a good lesson in, like somebody's hand who need to get slapped. But it was great. They had projectors and all this stuff. But I could understand if it was like a arena level solo act like, you know? Yeah, I'd be questioning you, like why the hell you don't have a 56 ft truck if you're like playing an arena or something, playing a bar that holds 150 yourselves like Get out of here.
Like what does a solo act like? Clearly, you need to, like, outsource your communications Teoh Communications manager or something. I saw Michael Graves, who played in The Misfits bond. He was on tour doing an acoustic tour, technically a solo tour, but he had to other guitarists with him. They were touring in an SUV like three guys. Probably like five or six acoustic guitars in an SUV, and that was it. And like save on gas, they could do that. You do not need a Ford F two or 3 50 with a 20 ft trailer.
You could literally just like take a sedan. Yeah, that's what's called being a jerk. Yeah, and this goes back to Episode three Just go to Band. I've got rocks slash three to hear that 15 things to avoid becoming that band. That shows which, by the way, I did not shout out the link for Episode four, which, if you are following along, you probably guessed it stand. I've got rocks slash four. If you want to listen to our episode on winter tour and and again is the number four, you do not need to spell it out.
Unfortunately, our website is not smart enough to know spelling. So yeah, moving on from there, though, the next thing that you would want to talk about to avoid showing up in a venue with a 20 ft trailer. Three infrastructure, what's available for audio and lighting, the gear, the hospitality and loading location like you were saying it might be around the corner, but also there are venues where you have to go into a tiny elevator up three flights of stairs. This happened to me. We had an elevator. The venue is on the third floor, and usually that wasn't a problem.
But the band had a drum case on wheels, which was massive because it literally had all their shells and all their hardware. And it is the entire drum set up, which is great if you're on the ground level or have a ramp. But if you need to fit it into a tiny elevator that holds about six people, you're not gonna fit your drum vault in there. And I had advanced the show and they didn't tell me that they have this giant drum vault. When I mentioned that we loaded through an elevator, this is a verbal act.
No, this was now, unfortunately, no longer with us SPAN that I really liked actually from the Massachusetts area. They were super chill about it. They were friends with the opening act. And so I said, Hey, like I hate to do this, but if you won't need to unpack your drums down here and take him up, just let us know we'll get you as many hands as you need to get stuff upstairs. They just work to that with the opening act. Like I said, since they were friends, they just use their kit e think they might have taken up there staring symbols.
They probably did. But aside from that, it was the Openers kit, and it was a really fun show. But their drums lived in the downstairs hallway of the venue for the entire night before they got the trailer back. Silly goose. Yeah. So that's the kind of thing to advance. Like if you have a giant drum vault, you should probably let people know especially like this drum ball would not have fit on many small bar stages like it was so big. It was probably like seven or 8 ft long.
So for a small venue stage that you might be looking at a stage that's like 6 ft deep, you know. But anyway, talking about the infrastructure and the load in for infrastructure you'd want to find out are all the inputs working on the board, like the venue might advertise a 20 input board and have three inputs. Working like this is one of the things that taught me to always do in advance, no matter how silly it seems. Because if I had known about that, I would have said, Hey, why don't I source aboard for the show.
Hire me to mix the whole show that show it anchors up. I was working was like a nup and coming national touring act. So I would have said, Just you know what? Let me rent this thing. Cover the cost of rental and my time, and I will do this show for you all. Do the production, you know, add value. But instead, that's what taught me to advance every single show. Like, no matter how silly it seems, you advance every single show for the D I Y level.
You can probably get away with doing advances through email or at least collecting the information if you collect it early enough. But sometimes you just got to pick up the phone and, you know, work through it and make sure that everybody's on the same page. And I will say, depending on the sorts of places that you're playing. Thio You know, I would hate to say it, and I hope to not ever have come across anything to, like, make me believe this. But you gotta also be aware that depending on where you're playing and what that spaces like staffing looks like if it's a smaller spot or like not even talking about D I y spots, but just like maybe like a small like a club bar, sort of a thing.
They might all be stretched super thin. And their booking person may also be the bartender or might also be, you know, the owner and he's in the back or she's in the back, whoever like in the office doing business stuff or something. And so e think one important thing to know and having the back of your mind is you should be cognizant of how other people are spending their time and what they're doing and what their priorities are just for nothing else. Just toe have, like a clear understanding of maybe what you might want to pay a little more attention, Thio.
So things like Okay, I've researched this venue I I've got on their web. If you're doing it yourself, I've got on their website, you know, I've seen photos like clearly they have the same p A photo photo photo for the last couple, you know, a couple of years or the handful of photos I've seen or on their website or it's listed on their website. But as you said, like unless you call them or or email them what? However you do it and sort of run through that and confirm the assumption.
Like you said, like, How many channels were you expecting? And they told you you had, like, three or something and it's It's funny Channel board and three of them works. Yeah, that's like, Oh, my gosh, that's and so there are I think they're the kinds of people who I don't think there's anybody who would ever do that on purpose. But it's just a matter of like there are some people who, unfortunately, might be a little negligent and not think about it. Maybe ignorance is bliss, I don't know.
Or but there might also be, like, really well meaning people who just, like, are totally overworked and like, unless you ask that question like they don't know that you're like, not prepared yourself or that you're thinking about it. So like they might be totally well meaning. And it's just like they're doing for jobs or something, exactly. And what I want to stress to about this is yes, he should be prepared. But don't ask for too much. If you're in a D I Y level. Like I said earlier, you don't need to ask for the bowl of M and M's with a certain color removed like that's not necessary.
But feel free to have a conversation and find out details. Always ask questions if you feel they're necessary. But don't go say we need this. We need this. We need this, you know, if it's something you truly need. Like I would always ask for water. And I've never run into a venue that has a problem providing that I did run into one. Benny. That's is what we don't provide water, and we don't allow outside drinks except for if you're in a band, you could bring in sealed water bottles.
So, like, Okay, you know what? That's fair because they didn't have good tap water, you know, like, that's understandable. And it's a cost for them to have bottled water for, like, six bands a night because they were doing a lot of D. I Y and local bands. Or it could be I'm not an expert on liquor licenses, but it could You could run into a similar situation where I imagine it might be like a licensing issue or, you know, control. You wanna make sure somebody's not underage and bringing in their own booze?
Exactly. Yeah, that's why they say it has to be sealed, all right? Yeah, and I totally understand that. But you don't wanna be that band. He's like, Oh, like we need three pizzas or, you know, like, ah, salad mix for the band. Like when you're a that level, you will know you're at that level. But until then, don't worry about stuff like that phrase, anything like if you have preferred mix or something, phrase it as a request. Don't say this is our bare minimums for production. You know, I might say, like we need this many channels on the board.
Otherwise let us know. But I also know a lot of bands who will supply that stuff themselves, like they'll say, Here we're just giving you a stereo feed and that's it. So to wrap this all up, I think our main point is be prepared. The whole idea of the advance is to be prepared. It's not to ask you about stuff. It's to be on the same page and make sure that you and the people who worked at the venue both understand what you're expecting and have your expectations set in advance.
There's a big sidetrack about safety there, which I think we probably have to do a safety episode. At some point, it's probably good. In the meantime, just use common sense. Don't get yeah. Don't use pyro in a venue that clearly shouldn't have. Pyro. Don't plug in the third base Samp Teoh, a circuit that is designed to handle a toaster oven. Don't show up to a bar over the 20 ft trailer. Well, that does it for this week's episode of the band. I've podcast as always, Thank you so much for listening.
We hope that you get as much benefit as possible out of these episodes and toe increase that if you have questions that you'd like answered on the podcast or topic ideas that you think we should talk about, head on over to a Bandhive dot rocks slash group and that will link you directly to our Facebook group, where you can ask questions, suggest topics and talk with other band members who are in the D. I Y. Community and pick their brains or share your ideas. And in general, just talk about being in a band.
So thanks again for listening. Next week we have another exciting episode, all about band dynamics, roles and responsibilities. So that will be at 6 a.m. Eastern time in your favorite podcast app. Make sure Thio, check that out. If you haven't yet, please do subscribe. And if you're listening on apple podcasts or iTunes, leaving a rating and review is so helpful to us. So please, if you're on the apple ecosystem, do that for us. We would definitely appreciate it. In the meantime, have an awesome week. Thank you again for listening and keep rocking.
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