Joe is a lead guitarist in a covers / remake band. They is a lovely guitarist and chilled under pressure. They plays for a band called the Psycho Nymphos. They are a piece band with guitarist, keys, bass and drums. The other guitarist also doubles as the singer. Yet this is Joe's nightmare. As a guitarist, this scenario ought to induce uncontrollable trembling of all body parts and have you soiling your underclothes. This, is the gig from hell.
No sooner than finishing his finally tune up, the Nymphos start. After another minute of working out what song to play, the Nymphos kick off their first song. It sounds dreadful, with Joe's guitar to quiet and bass guitar loud. The band plays the song half heartedly while they fine-tune levels and try to get things right. The crowd is wondering what the hell is going on, and the bar manager is wondering who the hell they hired and why. Joe is a tiny frustrated.
Thinking that they starts at ten:00, Joe shows up at the venue with hours to spare. Well, it would be hours to spare, but Joe got given the wrong information. The Band is due to start at 8:30 and Joe hasn't even unpacked his gear yet, not to mention set up. They had been trying to call Joe on his phone, but it was switched off. Joe, keeping chilled, unpacks his automobile in a rush and somehow manages to get everything set up only ten minutes late. The crowd is getting restless and the bar manager is enraged. Joe is keeping his chilled.
After standing around working out what to play next, the band begins the second song as suggested by the drummer. This sounds better until the first chorus. Half way through the first chorus. Joe busts a string. Joe makes do for the time being until the solo, when they realizes that the guitar solo is going to be difficult with only four strings. Joe fumbles his way through until the finish of the song. Joe is embarrassed.
The band stands around for a minute or while Joe replaces the broken string. One time that is completed they kick off in to the next song. This goes OK, and the crowd appears to be getting in to it a tiny bit more. The bar manager is beginning to relax, and Joe is beginning to enjoy himself.
In fact, everyone is enjoying themselves. And their beers. A tiny much. The Nymphos are beginning to receive a tiny sloppy and beginning to miss cues. the singer. They is beginning to miss when they is meant to be coming in, and slurring words. While the boys in the band are finding it hilarious, the crowd are not. Joe is beginning to get tipsy.
The next song Joe's guitar starts making comic noises, and the sound starts cutting out. Finally Joe's guitar disappears. They randomly stomps on some pedals and realizes that there is no power. They was definite those 9 volt batteries were still lovely. Joe unplugs his guitar lead from the pedal board and plugs it straight in to his amp. Joe is getting enraged, like the crowd and the bar manager.
Could it get any worse for Joe and his band, the Psycho Nymphos? I doubt it. But they could have survived all of these issues by being prepared. It may appear insurmountable, but I have played a gig where all of this happened in night, and they survived. It's all preparation. This is what you require to do to survive this nightmare.
Two songs from the finish, the stage goes black. All the amps turn off and all that can be heard is the drummer pounding away. After a few seconds all of the Nymphos are standing around, looking dull wondering what is going on. About 30 seconds later, the power returns. The band chats quickly and decides to start the song again. This time they get through it all. They play there last song the few remaining patrons, pack up, pick up their check and leave the bar, never to return.
There is no excuse to be late to a gig. With today's modern communications know-how, everyone has the potential to be contactable all of the time. Even if Joe got the time wrong, a simple phone call would have solved all the issues. However, it is always a great idea for a band to meet at a central location at some point before a show, and travel together in style if feasible. This is a definite fire way to make definite everyone arrives on time, doesn't get lost, or can get assistance if something does go wrong.
ALWAYS STAY IN CONTACT
KNOW WHAT SONG COMES NEXT
The spill over effect of this is that when you arrive on time, you can take your time and set up properly, sound check, as well as check your equipment for issues and in general, relax before the show starts.
ALWAYS KEEP A SPARE
Unless you are some freeform jam rock improv jazz type thing, you require to know what you are going to play. Every member of the band ought to know what song is coming next so they can prepare for it without having to debate first what song to play in the first place. Have a set list in sight for every member of the band. Know in advance what songs may require guitar changes or modify of tuning so that you don't kick off the tune until everyone is prepared. Moments like that are basically filled with some banter, usually between the singer and the audience.
In case you can't keep a spare guitar handy and require to modify strings, have some backup material. This is applicable to all band members. You ought to have a song that can be played when any member of the band is incapacitated. Then any walking repairs can be made while the remainder of the band covers.
It's not always feasible, but you ought to aim to have a backup guitar prepared to go at all times. This is true for a band with guitarists like the Nymphos. With the second guitarist still playing, and your backup guitar primed for playing, it is over feasible to switch guitars mid song. It takes about ten seconds and looks professional. Even in case you are the only guitarist, depending on the song you can sometimes get away with it as well. However sometimes you must grit your teeth and get through it. Five times the song is over you can grab you backup guitar and play the remainder of the set without keeping everyone hanging around while you modify a string. Modify it between sets or in case you only have set then don't bother.
It doesn't matter what you think, you do not sound better when you are smashed. Sure, possibly to your ears, but not to mine or someone else's. A few years ago, I keep in mind playing a large New Years Eve show where there were bands. There was us playing inside, and the main band playing on the outside stage. The other band I had seen plenty of times before and they were great. In fact they were of the most popular bands to play this particular venue. In between sets, they were heading up to their rooms, getting stoned and drunk, then coming back down to play their set is a semi comatose state. They were inside, enjoying a few drinks between sets and keeping it together. Our sets overlapped slightly and by the finish of the night, whenever both bands were playing, inside was packed and outside the other band was ignored. The following year, they were asked back to play New Years again as the only band. In fact after that New Years gig they were booked regularly to play both nights of the weekend every month (think about that for a second, they were booked for 25% of that venues available shows). It may be fun to get tanked and play, but it won't get you anywhere.
STAY SOBER / CLEAN / STRAIGHT
To this day I still cannot think people run their effects off batteries. It is a catastrophe waiting to happen. Sure, I have batteries in my pedals that I swap out every few months. But they are the BACKUP for when some drunk fool in the crowd falls onto the stage and pulls out a power lead or something similar. Or perhaps you accidentally leave a cable plugged in between sets and the battery drains on you. In case you do need to run off battery, work out how long they last and change the battery in half that time. This ought to help avoid undesirable failures at critical times, and be sure you have additional batteries.
NEVER TRUST A BATTERY
WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING ELECTRICITY
Incidentally, have you ever heard the sound a Tube Screamer makes when it's failing? It's dreadful.
If it goes over the 60 seconds finish the song and wait. Not much more you can do, but at least you tried.
There is not a lot you can do about this but ride it out. Although it's not as bad as it sounds. When a venue looses power, you can be sure it will be up in less than minute unless something MAJOR has gone wrong, in which case the venue will normally shut if it is a building wide blackout. So for the next 60 seconds, what do you do? It's simple. Nobody stops. The whole band keeps playing. The singer goes to the front of the stage and starts yelling the words at the crowd. I am yet to see this not work. The crowd will start singing back. When the power kicks back in the band hasn't missed a beat and the crowd will go crazy. It is slick and professional and will fire up the crowd for the remainder of the night.
In case you are prepared and use common sense, you can cope with any catastrophe. I personally have had all these issues, besides the drunk stupidity, happen in night, and they survived by having an escape plan and sticking to it. It's not that hard to come up along with your own emergency escape route, and I hope these examples can inspire you to be even more gig prepared.
JUST BE PREPARED