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  1. This is just a tribute

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    Default What Are Good Bar Band Songs?

    Hey guys. I wanted to start this thread to get some opinions about songs that either are, or are not good songs to do with a small bar band. The reason this comes up is because it just seems to me that the guys I'm looking to gig with (It's going to be a trio) just don't "get it" when it comes to songs that would be great songs to cover. My thoughts on the matter come from the decade I spent in an upscale wedding band. We didn't waste any time doing songs for us - our whole goal was that once we got past the dinner set and got into the dance sets, we wanted every single song to be a guaranteed hit.

    My thoughts also stem from going out to hear a friend's band play one night at a local tavern. This band was just killing it on stage - everyone was really talented and musically they were really strong, but they were playing classic rock tunes that were pretty obscure and by and large they were being completely ignored by the people in the bar. I mean, what's the point if you aren't connecting with the crowd?

    My guitar player is a HUGE Pink Floyd fan, and he keeps suggesting Floyd tunes he wants to cover. It's my contention that while these songs are going to hit with a select group, they'll be lost on the majority of the people there, and I don't want to waste my time with anything that isn't going to be instantly recognized and accepted by the majority of the crowd. Tunes I think would work well are along the lines of:

    Twist and Shout
    Sweet Home Alabama
    Brown Eyed Girl
    Hard to Handle
    Pink Cadillac (and even this tune is iffy, but we did it in the wedding band a lot)
    Long Train Running (this one is iffy with our instrumentation and vocals)
    Wonderful Tonight (gotta have a few slow songs)
    Rock & Roll
    etc

    A couple of songs that are on the list but are raising my eyebrows are:

    White Room - Cream
    Little Wing (I think this song could work if the guitar player could nail it....nuff said there)
    Young Lust - Pink Floyd
    ANY Pink Floyd

    Am I over thinking it? Like I said, I just don't want to waste time on anything that isn't going to be a great song to do. I know there are guys here on the forum with a lot more experience than me doing the bar/club scene, so I'm eager to hear your thoughts about songs that are guaranteed hits, and songs that are best left in the practice room.
    Patrick G.

    "95% of the average 'weekend warrior's' problems could be solved by an additional 30 minutes of insightful practice." -- Anonymous

    "Let's be honest... drummers don't have piles of money laying around, just piles of drums." -- Gord the Drummer

  2. It was just a two word review.

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    Totally agree regarding Floyd. Unless your a Floyd tribute band, your mostly going to get blank
    stares from a bar crowd.

    One of the things we factor when picking songs is "chicks need to like it". The logic behind that is, for the most part,
    women are the ones that will dance fist. Once they're out there, the men will follow.

  3. This is just a tribute

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    To add to that, if the chicks are having a good time, the booze is usually flowing too, which makes for a good night for the bar and a greater chance of being asked back again. I'm glad at least one person agrees with me regarding the Floyd stuff.

    What about Cream? Is that a band worthy of covering?
    Patrick G.

    "95% of the average 'weekend warrior's' problems could be solved by an additional 30 minutes of insightful practice." -- Anonymous

    "Let's be honest... drummers don't have piles of money laying around, just piles of drums." -- Gord the Drummer

  4. It was just a two word review.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trickg View Post
    What about Cream? Is that a band worthy of covering?
    I guess it depends on the goal of the band. If the goal is to play a buch of tunes that people recognize and enjoy, that song would do fine IMO. If the goal is to get people dancing, it wouldn't be my choice. We have a term in our band called B.S.I. which stands for "booty shaking index". White Room is pretty low on the B.S.I. index. :-)
    Last edited by SharkSandwich; 09-15-2012 at 12:35 PM.

  5. Registered User

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    it really depends who the crowd is...
    who comes there mainly?

  6. Sabian since 1991

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    I agree with your thinking trickg. My band has discussed this and have all kinds of tracks some members would love to do but know it would leave the crowd estranged. Statues with blank stares are not fun! I can see how Floyd may not cover enough bases in the crowd, however a well known track like The Wall would be okay IMO. We have used tracks like:

    Sweet Home Alabama
    Brown Eyed Girl
    Proud Mary
    Mustang Sally

    When we use other songs from '80s, '90s we follow a similar theme, catchy tunes we think most folk would recognize and move to if they want.
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  7. This is just a tribute

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    Quote Originally Posted by walkabout View Post
    it really depends who the crowd is...
    who comes there mainly?
    We don't have a specific venu in mind yet - right now this is in the beginning stages where we are putting together a group that we'll then try to market at some local area taverns. We aren't even asking a lot of money - my goal is to leave the place with a Benjamin Franklin in my pocket.
    Patrick G.

    "95% of the average 'weekend warrior's' problems could be solved by an additional 30 minutes of insightful practice." -- Anonymous

    "Let's be honest... drummers don't have piles of money laying around, just piles of drums." -- Gord the Drummer

  8. Registered User

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    We would call it the *** shakers. The objective is to get the women on the dance floor and keep them there. If you ever watch the show Bar Rescue, you'll hear the guy say time and again, it's about attracting women to the bar. If there are women there, men will come.

    I don't know how this came to be, but for some reason, when a band plays Jessie's Girl, all of the 20 something women run up to the dance floor and start dancing. Same thing with American Girl. Around here if you don't play those songs, women will request them.

    Paralyzer by Finger Eleven
    Crazy *****
    This Love
    Come and Get your love
    Fake it
    We used to do Play That Funy music and run right into Get Down Tonight
    Saw Her standing there
    Basket Case
    American Idiot
    All the Small Things
    Jenny Jenny
    Summer of 69
    Hard to Handle
    I want you to want me
    Nothing But a Good Time
    Talk Dirty to Me

    I would avoid the Skynyrd, but play that Kid Rock song. One popular local band plays Sweet Home Alabama and goes right into the Kid Rock song.

    Now a lot of these songs are cookie cutter cover band songs. But there is a reason.
    Last edited by Bri6366; 09-15-2012 at 02:07 PM.

  9. Looks That Kill

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwiref View Post
    I agree with your thinking trickg. My band has discussed this and have all kinds of tracks some members would love to do but know it would leave the crowd estranged. Statues with blank stares are not fun! I can see how Floyd may not cover enough bases in the crowd, however a well known track like The Wall would be okay IMO. We have used tracks like:

    Sweet Home Alabama
    Brown Eyed Girl
    Proud Mary
    Mustang Sally

    When we use other songs from '80s, '90s we follow a similar theme, catchy tunes we think most folk would recognize and move to if they want.
    That set list makes me want to gag, every band plays the same stupid lame songs that the drunk girls like. I realize that you have to play some songs you may hate that people want to hear but Brown eyed girl makes me sick to my stomach. Another one I HATE is American Girl from Tom Petty... There are so many better songs from Petty....
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  10. Registered User

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    Quote Originally Posted by CUZNRED View Post
    Another one I HATE is American Girl from Tom Petty... There are so many better songs from Petty....
    But it's not about you. This is the biggest problem I've had with fellow musicians in cover bands. They want to play the songs THEY like. But then I take them out to see an A room band and they get it.

    Another thing I can say about being in cover bands is Vocals are everything. If you have two or even three people who can sing lead vocals it really opens up the potential song list. The music itself flys over most people, but if the vocals blow they will notice right away and walk out.

  11. Looks That Kill

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bri6366 View Post
    But it's not about you. This is the biggest problem I've had with fellow musicians in cover bands. They want to play the songs THEY like. But then I take them out to see an A room band and they get it.

    Another thing I can say about being in cover bands is Vocals are everything. If you have two or even three people who can sing lead vocals it really opens up the potential song list. The music itself flys over most people, but if the vocals blow they will notice right away and walk out.
    You can find a happy medium. There is a band in Massachusetts called Fortune that packs rooms every time they play. They will do anything from Journey to Queenryche to Boston and the crowd digs it. They did Stone Cold from Rainbow one time and the entire room was singing it back to them. I like a band that isn't afraid to rock a B-side once in a while. Check em out......

    http://youtu.be/4mLuAWThAEs
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  12. Registered User

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    Being in a rather successful (for being a cover band) cover band myself, I will say this... Set yourself apart from the other bands in your area. Do popular songs that get the booties shakin', but don't go in with all the same songs every other cover band does. Find really danceable, recognizable songs that you don't hear everybody and their grandmother playing. It may be good to know Brown Eyed Girl and Sweet Home Alabama in case someone requests it and is ready to tip you for it. But I wouldn't put them in regular rotation. The only Floyd song I could suggest would be Money. And even that one is a bit iffy. If you want to do Tom Petty, do Running Down A Dream, or I Won't Back Down. But I would stay away from the standards, otherwise, you're just gonna wind up lumped in with every other regular old cover band.

    Oh, and image is also important when trying to stand out. For instance, my band wears red leather suits. Hotter than Satan's balls, but gets the crowd's attention every time.

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