As Bob Dylan sang … “The times they are a changin’”
Times are always changing of course. The setlists you put together for your band or vocal group
need to reflect the changing demographic and reflect the nature of the venue at which you are playing/performing.
Unless you are doing a Sock Hop, I would suggest virtually eliminating 50s music from your show (if you haven’t done so already). You can certainly take care of 50s song requests (in some situations), but it’s my opinion from assessing the “pulse” of the people, that it’s time to leave the 50s out of your setlists. For the record, I LOVE THE MUSIC OF THE 1950s! In fact, Sock Hops are one of my favorite types of shows to do and Sock Hop music (1950s through early/mid 60s) is one of my favorites to sing. But it’s time to move forward. More and more Boomers are infiltrating our ranks on the Club circuit. Give them the music they are hungering to listen and dance to.
I would suggest making 1963/1964 your beginning year in choosing music for your shows. Basically, from the Beatles on up. I would recommend not going much later than the mid 80s at this time on the Lodge, Club, Aerie & Post circuit. That gives you approximately 20 years of music to choose from.
Music Tempo Formula
I have witnessed so many groups that come into venues for the first time, only to crash and burn because they were not playing what the audience wanted. You can use a “play it safe” formula to help avoid these unfortunate occurrences. I present to you one options…
Song 1 … Medium Tempo
Song 2 … Uptempo
Song 3 … Uptempo
Song 4 … Medium Tempo
Song 5 … Slow Song
Song 6 … Slow or Medium Tempo
Song 7 … Uptempo
Song 8 … Uptempo
Song 9 … Medium or Uptempo
Song 10 … Slow
Get the idea? This is just a guide. If you have a packed dancefloor after your second fast song, and it looks like they still want to party, do another fast song! Don’t kill the mood with a trainwreck slow song. Read your crowd, and have the flexibility to change on the fly. If you are a vocal group and you are using a music program that does not allow you to change up your setlist on a dime, then consider using a different music program. I highly suggest Virtual DJ. It’s easy, versatile, and has tons of technical support if you need it. I know it is tougher for some bands to switch up on the fly. One of the best suggestions I have for bands (and vocal groups for that matter) is to minimize the down time between songs. I see so many bands that finish a song, and take 15 to 45 seconds (or more) to start the next song. By that time some of your audience members could be on their way to another venue. At least strum some cords or say something to the crowd as your prepare for the next song. Try to go from song to song quickly. Don’t destroy the momentum. On the next page, I will give more specific information on song ideas for different types of shows and genres to mix in to your setlists