While performing with my last cover band, Crash Landing, we played local clubs, festivals and private parties. In this picture of a live set up, you will see a fairly standard rock/blues/country/alternative/jazz band stage arrangement; drums center rear, Lead Vocalist center front. Keys (and/or rhythm guitar) on the left as you look at the stage and the lead guitar player on the right. In smaller clubs the keyboards get crunched back in the corner next to the drummer…… no sour grapes here! Bass player close to the drummer. (either side doesn’t really matter) In reality, most bands will not practice in this configuration, but this is the way most of us play out live and we are quite used to it. In our case, Crash Landing has a number of vocalists. All but the drummer sings in this band. The bass player takes front stage position and sings a number of lead vocals. So does the guitar player. You can see where the microphone stands are placed for the vocalists. Close up pictures later in this series will show other microphone positions for the instruments. These are good places to start. If you have limited time or setting up for a number of bands in an evening, you go with the standard format and shape the sound from the board as much as possible. Knowing or having experience doing the quick set-up successfully a few times you will see the standard configuration and mic placements work well for the vast majority of performances.
We can also see the positioning of the vocal stage monitors across the front of the stage. There are various thoughts on how to set these up but the differences can seem minor. For this many vocalists across the front, this spacing and direction worked fairly well. The drummer and/or other non-vocalists might also need monitors. (it would not be unusual for the keyboard player requiring a monitor to hear the keyboards and a vocal mix if they sing) This stage size gives players room to breath AND hear. When inside on a smaller stage, everything seems to collide and jumble. Outside you can hear yourself play much better (depending on the sound engineer, of course) and at times you might actually struggle just a little to hear the other players! Take two steps closer to them and they are plenty loud. This should be an easier situation for a sound engineer. If I had to do a first gig in my life as a practice run, I would want to do an outdoors gig.