Here’s a great article I recently found by Nate Jackson on the Village Voice website talking about these annoyances. If your sound guy seems a bit surly some nights, one of these things might be the reason. Every touring band should read it.
And I, not being able to leave well enough alone, had to add a few of my own. The first ones are for the bar patrons:
16. Requesting a song, especially during the band’s set. I’m not the band, nor the DJ. If you want the band to do a song, write it on a napkin and put it in front of the lead singer.
17. Screaming and “wooing” around me. Did you notice at all I’m the guy responsible for how the show sounds? When you’re screaming in my ear, I can’t hear the band, or the room – I only hear you. So if you don’t shut up, expect a crappy mix. Or I’ll get the bouncer to throw you out.
The last ones are for the bands themselves (which I already covered in my previous blog, “Playing Live Part 1“).
18. No band stage plot. A major irritation is not knowing how many players are in your band, where they stand, if they sing and play, etc. Now I don’t know where to put microphones, how many do I need, etc. Bad stage plots also don’t tell me which players sing and which do not.
19. No Input list. Few things frustrate me more than a band showing up at my club, and then saying, “Oh, we forgot to tell you about the 8 channel sequencer we use.” Lesser annoyances including not knowing if the drummer plays a 5-piece kit or an 8-piece. No input list means I’m scrambling from the minute you get here.
20. Not showing up on time. Audio engineers are technicians, which means they are the kind of person that plans out what they’re going to do. When the band shows up late – or worse, the drummer shows up at one time, the guitarist at another, etc. – it throws off the plan to get your show going on time. And that puts everyone off, including the club owner. You know, the guy that hired you?
21. Doing the wrong show. These days I often work in a country bar – a honky tonk, to be specific. That means the vast majority of bar patrons are there to dance. So don’t come in doing your Madison Square Garden show, full of 5 minute intros, long piano solos, and lots of long, slowdown endings. You’re in a bar where 90 percent of the people not only don’t know who you are, they don’t care! So stop self-aggrandizing yourself with over-extended solos and play the kind of show the customers came to hear.