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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Side Door Slip

posted by on April 15 at 12:02 PM

slip.jpgDoes it bother you when a band plays a set, then loads out and leaves while the next band is playing?

If the band is from out of town or touring, or if theyíre the Sex Pistols, that is one thing. But if youíre local, youíre kind of locked into staying at the venue until nightís end. You may choose to stay out of respect. Your bandís drums may be onstage or packed into a greenroom, so you canít leave. And thereís also the payout, which usually doesnít happen until after the place closes.

One of the pitfalls of the four-band bill is that when youíre the first band, and you go on at 9:30, youíre not leaving until 1:30 or 2 AM if you stay to the end. When itís a weekday and you have to work at 6 AM, it can be conflicting.

A band went on recently and as they started their set, the previous band was loading out. The load out was completely disruptive. The crowd had to move, the exit door kept opening and closing, and keyboard stands fell twice with loud crashes. The load out band (who were not the Sex Pistols) were laughing and talking and totally oblivious to what was then currently happening onstage. The guitar player who was playing leaned over to the mic and said, ďDonít let my foot hit your ass on your way out.Ē

To this, the load out band didnít respond. They had gotten the last of their stuff out and acted like they didnít hear, but they had heard. Their eyes were down, and they realized their exit had not been graceful. They had unsuccessfully executed the side door slip.

RSS icon Comments

1

Damn straight bitches, don't let the door hit you in the ass.

While we're on the topic of bands being total fucking retarded douche bags when it comes to etiquette can we get a few things straight?

1. If you are opening have your shit set up and onstage before you are scheduled to play.

2. If you waste 20 minutes setting up, consider that part of your set time.

3. Other bands on the bill, when you hear the previous band say "Thanks, we've got one more song" this is your cue to get your drums set up in the green room.

4. When you are done playing, get your shit off the stage. This is not the time to go have a smoke, talk to your girlfriend or go sit at the bar.

5. Everyone plays by these rules and the night will go off without a hitch.

There is nothing worse than a 4-band bill where the headliner's set gets pushed back til 1 a.m. on a Tuesday night because some douche bag decides he needs to play an encore even though he's the opening band.

Posted by Jeff | April 15, 2008 12:24 PM
2

But don't you know who I think I am? Screw you. What if I think I'm in the Sex Pistols? Can I get an encore then?

Posted by Rotten | April 15, 2008 12:28 PM
3

ABSOFUCKINLOUTELY

Bands should respect each other...
But they should do lots of things...
Like cover Manowar tunes...
But hey, the ideal is just that.

Posted by chandler | April 15, 2008 12:38 PM
4

Also, bands scheduled to headline a 4-band set who try to weasel out of their slot with the tired excuse of "But, our drummer has to work early in the morning!"

You are bunch of fucking pussies. WE ALL HAVE TO WORK IN THE MORNING.

Deal with it.

Posted by Jeff | April 15, 2008 12:43 PM
5

Some venues like Chopsuey are so small in the back they don't even have room for all the different band's gear, resulting in bands loading their cars up immediately after their sets.

But yeah, skipping out of a show right after you play is lame...

This is a good subject.

Here's another tip:
If you're headlining a show, LOAD IN FOR SOUND CHECK ON TIME. There are other bands that need to sound check after you and every minute you show up late is time taken away from their sound check.

Posted by kdiddy | April 15, 2008 12:49 PM
6

Last comment, but this is the most important tip: Bands, it doesn't matter how many people are in the room, because even if there are only 8 people watching you'd better rock the fuck out like it was 12!

Posted by Jeff | April 15, 2008 12:54 PM
7

It would be better all around if these clubs just stopped booking 4 band shows. Especially on weeknights. What's the point? Does jamming a schedule really draw more people in? Or does it just piss everyone off, from the first act that has to play to an empty club, to the second and third acts that get all of 30 minutes to play, to the audience that have to wait through all those setups, to the headliner that starts playing at 1 AM.

3 acts max and usually I'd prefer two.

Posted by rk | April 15, 2008 12:58 PM
8

I second Kdiddy.

I've been part of numerous shows where the headliner (is not the Sex Pistols.. or even a Sex Pistols COVERBAND) shows up an hour late for sound check and totally fucks over the opener who has been waiting intently.

These are usually at shows where the "headliner" doesn't necessarily have a bigger draw either.

Posted by Lets Be Professsionals | April 15, 2008 1:00 PM
9

Obviously if you've gotta take your gear off the stage so another band can put theirs on then you've got the time that it takes for that band to set their gear up to get yer shit outta there! If you can't do it in that time then you need to spend less time schmoozin (and/or drinking...and you've prolly already spent all your drink tickets anyway-the venue only gave you one and you're an alcoholic) and more time movin!! However, if the stage is big enough that the nexts bands gear is already there on stage and ready to go and they have already soundchecked then you really need to not interrupt their set. Don't be an asshole, I know I know, most famous rockstars are but you're just another douche that works at a bagel shop during the day and practices their poses in the mirror at night

Posted by dan | April 15, 2008 1:03 PM
10

I vote for RK and for the 3-band weekday bills. I think seeing that 4 bands are going to play turns away as many people as it brings in.

Posted by trent moorman | April 15, 2008 1:16 PM
11

I could give a shit if the other bands leave, as long as they do it without being disruptive. Keep the load out door shut (quietly) except when you're actually moving gear out, and be visually unobtrusive. Many clubs in Seattle are laid out to allow for this, for those that aren't, move all your gear during the next band's changeover. Clubs and bands are typically so lackadaisical about following any sort of schedule it's no surprise that people have all learned to look out for their own immediate interests.

As an audience member, I'd never stick around for a four-band bill, since at least one of the bands is going to be god-fucking awful and/or painfully loud. Nothing personal guys--I'm sure you hate my band too, so let's just be polite and quietly leave without making a fuss. Four-band bills do bring in more people though, since audiences avoid sitting through bands they didn't specifically come to see and can fill or empty a room quicker than you can get your amp warmed up. Again, maybe if shows didn't tend to be god-fucking loud, it'd be easier to persuade people to give an unfamiliar band more than one song to make their case before everyone goes outside to talk.

Posted by Tiktok | April 15, 2008 1:24 PM
12

I vote Tiktok too.

"God-fucking loud," that is good!

Posted by trent moorman | April 15, 2008 1:29 PM
13

It is possible to perform the side door slip without disrespecting the band after you. Bands that I've seen successfully pull this off do a few particular things:

1. Talk to the band(s) after you. A little "sorry dudes, we really do have to take off right after our set but we'll be quiet about it" can go a long way.

2. Take your gear outside, to the van, directly after your set ends (don't dick around and break shit down right in front of or next to the stage). Work as fast as possible and try to be out of sight by the time the next band starts playing. If you can't do that, then you're bringing too much gear.

3. If you are the opening act on a four-band bill, have at least one band member designated to stay later, check out the other groups, and collect your pay. My drummer has to get home to his pregnant wife? Fine. But I don't have to be at work until 9 tomorrow? Cool, I'm staying.

Oh, and it all starts with being punctual about load-in and soundcheck, but sadly that's too much to ask of most bands.

Posted by Hernandez | April 15, 2008 1:58 PM
14

I just stopped saying "yes" to shows on weekdays. Playing to the barstaff and the Golden Tee machine isn't worth getting three hours of sleep for.

Posted by James | April 15, 2008 2:04 PM
15

ó 4-band bills are difficult unless rigs are back-lined or gear is shared, loud is better (as long as feedback is controlled)... that's what earplugs are for you damn "oldies", bands can leave as long as they don't get in the way and don't expect to get payed if they do leave early.

Posted by Aaron Edge | April 15, 2008 2:05 PM
16

Ah, the back-line. Excellent point.

Posted by trent moorman | April 15, 2008 2:09 PM
17

Nothing wrong with the side-door slip, it's the front-of-the-stage exodus that's obnoxious. If you're gonna bolt, do it like a ninja! If you're gonna hang out and have a beer, break down your stuff first and wait until the next break before loading out. Don't dick around working the crowd and sipping your beer and then decide halfway through the next band's set that you suddenly have to evacuate.

And yeah, four bands is too many. Usually the first one (or two) kind of end up being sacrificial lambs, although on weeknights it's often the last band that ends up playing to the bartenders.

Posted by flamingbanjo | April 15, 2008 2:24 PM
18

#1 - Right one the money.

Also, for every band that loads out early, it usually means some poor dope in that band has to stay until the bitter end to get paid. You're not only obnoxious to the crowd and show-mates, but probably to your drummer, as well.

Only all-ages shows should ever have more than 3 bands on the bill.

ALSO - NO WHINING ABOUT THE ORDER! You're playing first and that's how it is. One of my favorite current bands - and good friend from out of town - recently got bumped to first (so I missed their set, again) because some whinny pee-pants band bitched and bitched and bitched to the naive promoter.

Posted by Dougsf | April 15, 2008 2:27 PM
19

how about this one:

get your gear off stage, then break it down. there's nothing worse than a drummer from the opening band putting away his cymbals while his drum set is still on stage.

Posted by brian cook | April 15, 2008 4:40 PM
20

19: ó Indeed + I give my friends drink tix to help me load on and off stage.

Posted by Aaron Edge | April 15, 2008 4:56 PM
21

20: - I give away drink tickets to those who help unload too, but then the club gets mad at me.

Posted by trent moorman | April 15, 2008 4:59 PM
22

The club has no right to dictate who gets your drink tickets.

Posted by Paulus | April 15, 2008 6:33 PM
23

SHARE GEAR. In the age of Myspace it is effortless to communicate with most any band you're on a bill with, whether they're your friends or out of town. Sharing a drum set (bring your own cymbals and snare, please) and a bass rig makes a world of difference and really is not such an inconvenience. Makes a 3 or 4 band bill so much smoother in terms of set change and load in/out.

Posted by yep | April 16, 2008 8:44 AM
24

to #23. while i think it's great when ever bands can share something, i really hate the general misconception people have that drummers can simply share kick drums and toms. especially in our scene where it's not uncommon to have a thrash punk band sharing a bill with a folk-country act. or worse yet, the communal kit is tuned like crap.

any decent drummer tunes his/her drums to specific tones, notes, and tensions. i would argue using a stranger's kit is much more difficult than using a stranger's guitar.

some drummers don't give a shit, and that's great, but drummers sharing kits should be the exception, not the rule.

don't get mad at drummers for wanting to use their own gear.

Posted by kdiddy | April 16, 2008 11:03 AM
25

kdiddy, I'm never mad if a drummer wants to use his own kit.. I've always said it's a little bit like wearing someone else's blue jeans. But it's nice to have the option, and it makes sound guys happy, and takes a lot of pressure off the set time equation. And of course it's case-specific.

Sure, I'm faster to offer my kit than ask to use someone else's. But, that's partly b/c I play quality drums, and know how to tune them. And no, I would not extend that offer to a thrash punk band... it's obviously case-specific. I do ask any takers to bring their own snare and cymbals, cuz snare tuning is a little more personal than toms and kick, and cymbals are fuckin expensive. If anyone's gonna crack one of mine, it better be me. Drum heads? They're meant to be hammered, and they're not so expensive.

If I'm gonna use another drummer's kit, I will ask what kind they are etc. It's no fun playing crap. Just part of that whole planning ahead thing. But I don't mean to say that it's mandatory. A little flexibility goes a long way though..

Posted by yep | April 16, 2008 1:17 PM

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