How do you choose your set-lists?

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Obv: pick the best songs, but how do you put them in order?

We order them by tunings and capo placement (for the minimum of dicking around on stage) which, while it makes for a nice set, places our best songs at the end. I guess we could just turn the set on it's head, but the songs we play at the beginning are the best openers.

Also, as well as our full-on rock set, we play the occasional quiet semi-acoustic gig with very little overlap (2 songs) between the two. And whereas I'd like to play some of those songs in our main set, our guitarist/singer wants to keep them seperate, a) because she wants people to see us as a full-on rock band, and b) for reasons not entirely unconnected with the ego-trip of being able to play two widely-differing sets.

I'm wondering how to resolve these dilemmas (if at all,) so how do you do it?

Ben Dot (1977), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 11:44 (thirteen years ago) link

The process is like this :

1) The five of us have a rota and each takes it in turn to propose a set-list for the next gig
2) we rehearse it and then usually decide to change it a bit
3) on the night we might change it some more depending on what the audience is like, what we feel like, time available etc.

There are usually some givens, e.g we have an epic set-closer which we normally finish with, we usually start with a song called 'Support Band' unless we're headlining. Also there are a couple of songs that don't go that well together, so we keep them apart in the set.

If there's one overriding rule it's 'make an initial impact and try and make sure they stay interested!'. Also 'don't play too long'.


Dr.C (Dr.C), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 12:44 (thirteen years ago) link

Mood, rhythm, BPM - we try to have the set move like a story arc.

The problem is, this tends to have us starting with our slower songs at the beginning, so we had to move things around a bit, to have a good attention getter at the beginning, then move into more mysterious and spooky songs, a ballad, then progress into more triumphant, and finally the Giant! Hit! Popsongs! at the end to leave people on a high note. And then we try to end with an a capella reprise to leave people totally wowed.

This is probably a bit weird for people who walk in halfway through the set, but if you follow the whole thing with us, we hope to take you on an interesting journey. When we get more practised, this will involve costume changes and everything.

The Late Fear And The Potato Fear (kate), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 13:07 (thirteen years ago) link

**to leave people totally wowed**

I WAS!!

Dr.C (Dr.C), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 13:23 (thirteen years ago) link

Yay, it worked. :-)

The Late Fear And The Potato Fear (kate), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 13:27 (thirteen years ago) link

The baroque "setlist" theory involved three movements. In the first movement, you showed them how well you could play. In the second, you showed them how well you could feel. In the third, you showed them how happy you were it was all over. This still seems like a reasonable guideline.

Casuistry (Chris P), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 16:00 (thirteen years ago) link

Someone either calls out the name of the next tune while we're on stage or starts playing it. If no one can think of a tune, or we only have a couple tunes left, or somebody doesn't want to play something because of tired chops, then we might argue about it for a few minutes.

(nb, for our big show on Friday somebody actually wrote a setlist)

Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 16:02 (thirteen years ago) link

Recently we've started giving more consideration to our placement in the overall show. For example, if we have an early spot on a Friday night, we tend to frontload slower stuff and new still-in-testing material so we can kick ass toward the end when people are getting there. Also, if it's a REALLY late slot, we try to stick to higher energy material more.

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 23:19 (thirteen years ago) link

thirteen years pass...

I love disco balls,my little punsters(mytwolittlenephews),
bubbles and frisbees that light up in the night...not patricularly in that order...

missrosey, Tuesday, 1 October 2019 21:31 (one month ago) link


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