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#104404 - 11/11/06 03:59 AM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
Uncle Dave Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 12800
Loc: Penn Yan, NY
Musical Wallpaper.

That's what you've described, and I've done my share of it. It's not a "crowd participation" deal, and it's usually on the calmer side, but the venue that features such entertainment is something that I, myself look for when I dine out with Donna. When you are with someone that you want to talk to, it's nice to have music in the background that doesn't command your attention. I actually love places that feature a musician who knows how to read the room and stay just where he needs to be, with respect to volume, tempo and "schmaltz".

I admire performers that take each request, and tactfully place them into the set in the "right" spot, so as to please the requester, and still maintain the control of the room's PULSE. I always felt that my primary job was to "work" the room .... whether that meant jokes, music or quiet ambiance – it’s all part of the job description, as I see it.

I’ve mentioned before that I am starting to lean in that “background” direction, and I have no regrets so far. The days of yelling, screaming, and playing mindless renditions of overplayed pop-dance numbers just wore thin on me. I love the newer, quieter me … and my audiences seem to appreciate it as well. There is a place for EVERYTHING you all do, and we will all change our routines from time to time. The important thing is to LIKE your own performance. If it looks like YOU like what you play, then the crowd will accept it more readily. Humility on stage is essential. Big shot, or not – we’re STILL there to please the people first.

It’s a thing of beauty and art, when the audience is pleased, and the performer is happy with their work.

Ahhhhhh, the life of an artist !

[This message has been edited by Uncle Dave (edited 11-11-2006).]
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#104405 - 11/11/06 06:07 AM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
Walt Meyer Offline

Registered: 10/02/02
Posts: 437
Loc: Silver City, NM USA
I've done dinner music for a live theater and that is a much more relaxing venue and a lot less pressure on a performer.
Reading the room is a must during the dinner time but during intermission anything goes. Even with quiet music during dinner some people would dance between the tables. Others seemed to pay no attention but I know that they must have enjoyed the music because they became steady customers.

#104406 - 11/11/06 06:31 AM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
btweengigs Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2204
Loc: Florida, USA
The local office of a large brokerage firm has hired me to play a "customer appreciation dinner" at a fine restaurant. It will be kind of like a piano bar in that there will be no dancing and the music is "wallpaper" (Uncle Dave's term).

The dinner is to be held in a private room which has a small stage. The management of the restaurant had only one request. "Don't play so loud as to drown out the house band in the main room". I know the band playing there and there is a fat chance that would ever happen.

I prefer playing dances...but these corporate dinners are easy and the checks tend to be fat and always clear.


#104407 - 11/11/06 08:27 AM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
W Tracy Parnell Online   content

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 762
Loc: NY
Originally posted by Esh:
You don't have to have a keyboard for accompaniment... I use an MP3 player with my backing tracks when I play grand piano (actually my Music Pad Pro). It makes a lot of difference having a beat to go with the music, and you can still keep the volume low. My Friday night piano bar gig is at an upscale restaurant with an unamplified grand piano so I just use my MPP with my MS KP-100s amp... easy setup, great sound, too much fun!

[This message has been edited by Esh (edited 11-10-2006).]

Just curious Esh or anyone else-what kind of MP3 player do you use? I am looking for one that will stop after a song is played, has good sound quality, plays with no reliability issues and has a readable screen. Looking at this as an alternative to a laptop.

Komplete Kontrol S61/Korg PA900/JBL 308P/Focusrite Clarett 2Pre/Band in a Box/Reaper/EZdrummer 3

#104408 - 11/11/06 04:46 PM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
hellboy44 Offline

Registered: 11/04/03
Posts: 541
Loc: Australia
That's EXACTLY what I'm looking for too.

I hope we don't get the usual "get an Ipod" replies because I want something more flexible and professional - and I think we all agree sound quality is paramount.
God I hate signatures.


#104409 - 11/11/06 07:59 PM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
J. Larry Offline

Registered: 12/14/99
Posts: 521
Loc: University, MS 38677 USA
Just got in from a gig and read this post. I've scaled down from a larger group to solo, duo, and trio work with backing tracks on a computer. Yes, it's often background music, but the venues are generally good. Money splits better. Setups are quicker and things run smoother. I prefer the larger screen of the computer, but carry an iPod as backup with the same tunes on it. I worried about the "canned" effect of using tracks. However, not once has anyone made a negative comment about this issue. Most are amazed at how good it sounds. Employers seems to like getting more for their money and the small amount of space that's required for a "band". I can't believe I used to do this with cassette tapes. Anyone tried that?

#104410 - 11/12/06 01:44 AM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
Mantius Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/11/06
Posts: 3
Loc: Caribbean island of St Lucia
Originally posted by J. Larry:
[B] I worried about the "canned" effect of using tracks. However, not once has anyone made a negative comment about this issue. Most are amazed at how good it sounds. Employers seems to like getting more for their money and the small amount of space that's required for a "band".B]

It's we musicians that worry about these things? You think anyone else really does? I don't think so. As long as it sounds good that's all they're concerned about. How you make the music is not their business. I used to worry about these things too and can't say I have fully gotten over it.

Very few would have a problem with you using tracks. And even then you can never please everybody.

------------------ - Essential Yamaha Keyboard Reviews

#104411 - 11/12/06 04:46 AM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
tony mads usa Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/16/02
Posts: 14376
Loc: East Greenwich RI USA
Originally posted by Carrie-uk:

One of these days I'd love to get back out there and perform again...


t. cool

#104412 - 11/12/06 04:55 AM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
zuki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/20/02
Posts: 4719
Originally posted by SemiLiveMusic:
Nobody ever looked his way or every acknowledged him in any way.

As long as everyone STAYS, that means they LIKE I say, take the pay and be happy!

Live: Korg PA4X/EV Everse 8s/Senn 935/K&M stand

Studio: Korg PA4X/Yamaha DGX670/Nord 6D73/Boss BR900CD/Tascam DP24SD/MTM Iloud/Sony C80/AGK 214/ATEM Mini Pro switcher/K&M stand

#104413 - 11/12/06 06:32 AM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
travlin'easy Online   happy
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 15566
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
Just make that check payable to... Fortunately, I only have to play a dozen or less of these jobs a year. For me, they're boring as hell, but the pay is exceptional, and more often than not there's a hefty tip that goes with the check. Yep, it's wallpaper music at its very best!


Travlin' Easy
PSR-S950, TC Helicon Harmony-M, Digitech VR, Samson Q7, Sennheiser E855, Custom Console, and lots of other silly stuff!

K+E=W (Knowledge Plus Experience = Wisdom.)

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