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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:26 pm 
Mark I
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Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 9:57 pm
Posts: 40
Location: Los Angeles
Hello everyone,

I just wanted to get some input on how you guys manage your band's set lists for gigs. How do you go about putting them together?

I play in a hard rock/metal cover band and we have roughly about 100 songs on our song list. Our gigs usually consist of 4 sets with about 11-13 songs per set. I notice that we tend to simply use "last gig's" set list frequently. We'll move some songs around or switch out a few depending on the place (Some places like the harder stuff, Iron Maiden, Alice in Chains and some places we play the more commercial stuff) but for the most part the set lists stay the same.

What process do you use to put the set list together? How do you rotate songs to make up interesting set lists? Dynamics, flow song transitions?

Any ideas will be greatly appreciated!


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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 11:55 am 
Donating Member
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Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:30 pm
Posts: 2549
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Great question!

Our bass player has a great ear and musical sensibilities. I have learned a lot from the way he manages the set lists. He seems to focus on:

1. Rotating songs so they don't get stale. Keep adding songs. 2-3 every month or two, throw out songs that don't get a great response. That's a new set added every year, which adds up.
2. Either keeping a feel through the set (dance set or rock set) or moving through a controlled transition (rock to soft rock to R&B to rock)
3. Start with a bang, end with a bang
4. Warmup and obscure songs in first set since most people show up late. Easy uptempo songs with good hooks in late set(s) so the drunk people can have a good time. Also, we're tired at that point.

We play classic and modern rock, hard rock, pop and R&B/blues. You would have to alter these guidelines a bit for metal, or for shared shows where you only have one set. When we play only one set, we put our strongest material forward, with heavy at the beginning, the lighter songs about 2/3 of the way in and end with a couple of barn-burners. We try to make it so bands that follow us have to earn it :wink:

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