The Anatomy of a Great Band

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Truth: Good bands aren’t all that hard to find. Your favorite club or pub probably books a decent band or two every weekend, right? Great bands, on the other hand, are a totally different animal and not as thick on the ground. So what’s the difference? What sets a great band apart?

Well, they don’t play musical chairs, for one thing. Band members stick, because they know you have to consistently jam with the same lineup for a good long while to form solid connections with your band mates. It takes time to develop the kind of gut-level rapport that translates into great music and a seamless but always fresh on-stage dynamic.

These musicians love what they do. Each and every member is all about the music and would be if the band didn’t make a dime. Because the music comes first, a great bands generally produce high-test tunes—both original material and maybe their own special twists on the occasional covers.

These guys and gals practice ‘til their ears bleed. No such thing as too many rehearsals in their world. Great bands operate on the assumption that if practice makes perfect, more practice makes better than perfect. Gig or no gig, band members get together at least a couple times week to run through new material and fine-tune old.

Band members know how to mix it up, musically, vocally and instrumentally. Seriously, nothing keeps the music fresh like switching things up every now and then, for grins and giggles and/or to keep Old Man Boredom at bay. Plus, you know the lead singers’ going to get laryngitis at some point. Making sure the bass player can take up the slack, no sweat, is just smart.

These folks consider themselves professionals, and act like it. Everyone shows up on time and ready to perform. Band members are all good with putting money into the collective pot to finance better equipment, produce CDs and maybe manufacture some merch.

Gigs, gigs and more gigs. Live performances are to bands what a whetstone is to your favorite Ginsu knife. They help by showing the musicians what they’re doing right and what they need to work on. Plus, gigs are where bands attract diehard fans and learn how to put out just as hard for an audience of ten as they do for a wall-to-wall sellout crowd.

Great bands are bands that didn’t quit. They started in somebody’s garage and practiced until they got good enough to play school dances and tips-only gigs in Podunk. They pushed the envelope, then pushed it some more, both as musicians and performers. Eventually, they managed to book a few paid appearances, then more and better paid shows, until they finally elbowed their way out of the crowd and across that boundary line between good and great.

You want it all in a nutshell? Great bands are like brother- and sisterhoods, close-knit crews of dedicated professionals who stay together to play together, put the music first, work hard for their money and constantly reach for more, from their band mates and from deep within themselves.

 

What To Ask When Hiring A Band

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Hiring a band for your next party or engagement should be an exciting time for you and the band. The band is excited to play your gig, and you should be excited to have them playing their brand of music. However, you want to make sure that the band you hire is a good fit for your event. Here are a few questions to ask:

1: What Music Do They Play?

You need to know what sort of music the band plays. They may play cover songs from any era, or they might play their own material. You want to ensure that the music they play meets your needs and the need of the crowd. A band that does not play your brand of music will not be as much fun as another band that plays more enjoyable music.

2: How Must The Band Set Up?

You need to know what the band needs to setup for the gig. You must accommodate the band with electrical outlets, a stage area and a backstage area to prepare. The band needs room to move around, and you must provide them with the amount of room they ask for. A band that requires a setup area bigger than what you can offer may not be the right band for you.

3: How Many People Are In The Band?

Do you want a soloist or a big band? Knowing how many musicians are in the band is a great way to know if they are going to be a great fit for your event, and can help you know what to prepare as far as room for the band to perform.

4: How Much Do They Charge?

You should ask the band how much they charge for the gig and make sure it is within your budget. Most bands have an hourly rate or a flat rate for the night. This is also a great time to ask what they might need – how much room they will need to perform, if they require a certain number of outlets for their equipment, etc.

5: How Long Can They Play?

You want to know how long the band feels comfortable playing. Some bands can go on all day, but other bands prefer to play just a few sets before stopping. You need to be familiar with the band’s preferences before hiring them. If you want a longer set, this is a great opportunity to give a new up and coming band a chance to open for your hired band and gain some experience and recognition.

By asking questions, you are protecting your event, while also respecting the band by ensuring they have everything they need to give you a great show!

Mike Dangeroux Band Playing at Chicago Blues Festival

mike dangeroux band

 

Don’t miss us at the Chicago Blues Festival this coming Sunday, the 15th! In true Chicago style, we’ll be jamming alongside dozens of other fantastic musicians all day in a celebration of all things blues.

After all, the Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues festival in the world, and it’s an event every blues enthusiast can’t pass up! So spread the word and come for a soul-filled day of music like none other, sponsored by Pepsi.

Find us at Grant Park, Jackson & Columbus, starting at noon! Admission is FREE! Here’s the full line-up:

Pepsi Front Porch Stage
12 Noon: Diamond Jim Greene
1:30pm: Mike Dangeroux Blues Band
3pm: Chicago Delta Blues Band with Bob Stroger, Barrelhouse Chuck, Billy Flynn, Lil’ Frank, and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith
4:30pm: Sugar Blue

Petrillo Music Shell
5:30pm: Nikki Hill
6:45pm: Aaron Neville
8:15pm: Dr. John

Hiring a Blues Band

Blues Band

Whether you have a wedding coming up for a friend or need to hire entertainment for a birthday party, hiring a blue band is the perfect touch to any special occasion. Blues bands are great for parties because they can cater their playlist to your particular occasion. From dance music to ambiance type pieces and more, a blues band can turn a great event into a spectacular party that will be remembered for years to come.

The Difference a Blues Band Makes

Hiring a band is essential for a wedding. The type of band you hire will likely depend on the following factors:

  • Your taste in music
  • The type of music you think your guests will like
  • The price of the band
  • Experience that the band has

Hiring a band that can play different types of music can satisfy your taste in music. A blues band will be able to play different types of blues and jazz at different points in your reception. For example, fusion or smooth jazz will do wonders for your reception when your guests are mingling and eating, while bebop and swing will definitely serve you better when your guests are dancing the night away.

Price is always an issue when planning a wedding or any other type of special event. Because most blues bands play only for small gatherings and events, you’ll likely be able to negotiate an affordable price that benefits both you and them. The price you get will ultimately depend on what music you want them to play and how many hours you wish to use them for.

Tips for Hiring a Blues Band

There are a variety of blues bands available for hire. Here are some tips to help you decide which one is best for you:

  • If possible, ask the blues bands that you’re consulting with to provide references. Past customers and their experiences will likely be the best way to see what type of experience you’ll have.
  • Get a feel for the type of music they play. Ask for a sample CD or MP3 file, and get a list of sample music that they’re willing to play at your wedding.
  • Negotiate a fair price based on the hours of playing they will provide, their experience in the industry and close to market price for a wedding or the type of special event you’re holding.

Choosing The Right Music

If the big day of the event is approaching, you need to give your chosen band plenty of time to practice the music. While they may be professionals, musicians need some time to brush up on pieces that they haven’t played in a while.

First, you must choose music that you know will set a lively yet formal mood at your wedding or other large event. For events where people will be dancing, make sure to select songs that are upbeat. For ceremonies that are similar to weddings, music that’s more traditional will be appreciated by everyone.

Regardless of your reason for needing live entertainment, blues bands offer exceptional talent and can play a variety of genres, from blues and pop to swing and smooth jazz. Hiring a blues band is an exceptional and affordable choice for any occasion.

 

Behind the Scenes: What Work Goes Into Being a Band

Some people may think that band members with any natural musical talent can simply show up to a few rehearsals and then perform well on stage. However, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of the band. Here are some of the major areas where band members must spend time outside of their performances. 

Maintaining Relationships

Being a part of a band can demand a lot, socially. Members of the band must function well together, and it’s not always as easy as it seems. Even the task of initially finding several compatible people to form a band can be challenging. Once the band is together, plenty of drama can take place, from power struggles to personality clashes to different opinions on the direction the band should take.

In addition to the inner dynamics of the band, members must do a lot of work on public relations. Band members always need to be friendly and open to the public in order to maintain the band’s appearance. This can take a lot of work, as members can never have an off-day or take some time completely away from the band.

Finding Gigs

Most bands aren’t lucky enough to have a continuous stream of gigs lined up. The process of finding places to play can take a lot of effort. This includes putting together demos and promotional materials, finding venues that are looking for bands, submitting materials and auditioning, and sometimes playing for free in order to get the word out. Out of all of the performances that bands give, many of them may be free when the band first starts out. Factor in the work that it takes to get recognized as a band and you’ll realize that band members do a lot of work for a few successful gigs.

Managing New Content

Bands can’t play the same songs over and over. This means that members need to search for new content, agree on new songs to learn, practice and learn new material, and then put it all together. This process keeps a band fairly occupied.

Marketing

There are plenty of great bands in the world today that compete for listeners’ attention. With the spread of online listening, users don’t even need to be creative about how they find new music. This means that the onus is on bands to market themselves, to get their music into many venues where it can be heard by the population. Even home town bands need to put a lot of effort into creating posters and spreading the hype around their performances.

As you can see, bands have a huge amount of tasks in putting together a successful ensemble. Luckily, most musicians have a fair amount of passion for their trade, so they don’t mind putting in all of this extra energy in order to do what they love. However, the myth of bands being simple and easy is just that– a myth. A lot of work goes into creating a successful band.