Are Bars Going Acoustic?

TMe

Senior Member
Have you noticed that bars seem to be moving away from booking electric acts and booking more acoustic acts? That's the impression I get when I look at event listings. When I look at pictures of bands that are booked, I'm seeing more acoustic guitars than electric, more Blues, Folk, and Country than Rock.

I'm planning a move to a smaller city (about 50k people), and I'm starting to think that if I want to be in a recreational band that performs regularly, I should switch to 7A's, get better with brushes, and learn to accompany acoustic guitars.

Does that line up with the trend you're seeing in your area?

If so, do you also see this as a trend that was established before covid, or is this just a post-covid thing, a sign of things not yet being back to normal?
 

calan

Silver Member
This was the trend in my area, pre-Covid.

Post COVID, it's different, but the same. There are less legit venues. Some of the larger rooms have actually been more reliably electric, perhaps because there is less competition.

But, overall, there are less places for actual electric acts to play; and more small restaurants playing around with trying to cram in live music, which inherently favors acoustic acts.

Whatever normal was, things are not returning to it.
 

dwsabianguy

Senior Member
A little yes, a little no.

On the one hand, I've seen people complain that the jazz bar in town (which of course suddenly closed about three weeks ago) was digging into the music side more than the drinks side. It's a jazz bar, so I don't understand why people would be mad that there's jazz.

Most of the normal bars in town don't have stages, or PAs, or rooms that even sound good, so electric bands are simply too loud, which is too bad. So you get a guy with a guitar singing Wonderwall again.

Some of the breweries have outdoor stages, and will host bands regularly. I appreciate that, even if it's mostly jam bands and young families with their dogs and toddlers, which ain't exactly my kind of scene, but at least it's live music.

But some of the punk clubs are coming back with a vengeance. Last night I saw a black metal show with dueling full stacks in a room with a capacity of about 65.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I'm surprised bars aren't doing more entertainment, to try to get customers back post-covid. There had been a trend away from that. IMO

I saw an open-mic advertisement for StarBucks the other day. I guess it kind of makes sense. Too bad it was at a StarBucks that wasn't in my area.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
Some of that applies to our part of the world. Moreso that the opportunities to play live here are quickly becoming smaller venues where that style is more appropriate. (Restaurants and smaller pubs, compared to bigger bars that would have a more proper stage)

I know a lot of folks here that have developed solo/duo acts to fill out their bookings, around their regular bands. We have done so as well, we have an acoustic duo show that we can book for smaller places. The blessed cajon for me....lol
 

Tony_H

Member
We still have plenty of places that want full-on electric bands. But most of the venues aren't proactive in attracting higher end entertainment with their pay scales, but for recreational bands, there are plenty in this area.

Not saying better venues aren't available, there are just more of the former in this area.
 

jda

Silver Member
we as drummers have the advantage; we've always been acoustic. : 0
would you like some Calf head with your soup ma'am?

glad they're coming towards us now; bring back the saxophone trumpets and clarinets while they're at it.
Upright piano
 

jda

Silver Member
those /bars/lounges/ that can Have moved their bands Outside. Which is cool. Saturday afternoons/ early evenings under a carport the audience either bring chairs or mingle in and out of the bar itself and..add in Food Trucks (food trucks are big) and... some Folks bring their "exotic (or antique) car (or Motorcycle) and it's an out-side festival.

depending on the weather. I like it.

Band under the carport- can still go in/out bar (left)


Close up band pic here:


and..food Truck..
 
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Otto

Platinum Member
I live in a sub 50,000 population N.W. USA Retirement Town...and venues that don't accept at least regional acts are not coming back.

People smell another real estate bubble.
 

Jml

Senior Member
Here in New Jersey - yes, yes, yes. So much so that I’ve put together an acoustic trio to get more gigs. Bars are touting Covid, noise and lack of space why they don’t hire big, loud bands anymore.
 

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
Around here it's been going towards silent stages. half the bands who ask me to play ask me to do electric kit only.

Sorry, but if I'm going to go see a band perform, I don't want to watch some dork playing an electric kit. I want the full rock show.
 
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TMe

Senior Member
we as drummers have the advantage; we've always been acoustic. : 0
would you like some Calf head with your soup ma'am?
The problem is... the complaint I've heard most from small venues is that the drum kit takes up too much floor space. The Rock star wannabee's who insist on bringing a Neil Peart sized kit to a venue that seats 50 or 60 people really ruin it for the rest of us. As a side note, what I find really odd is that it's mostly old guys like me who insist on the big kits, whereas most of the youngsters have the same 12/14/20 kit that I do, or even a 12/14/18 for playing Rock.
 

calan

Silver Member
Sorry, but if I'm going to go see a band perform, I don't want to watch some dork playing an electric kit.
I understand the sentiment, but these are the kind of venues where people aren't going with any intention of seeing a band perform. They are going to the place, and some live music happens to be playing. Unobtrusive is part of the goal.

The problem is... the complaint I've heard most from small venues is that the drum kit takes up too much floor space. The Rock star wannabee's who insist on bringing a Neil Peart sized kit to a venue that seats 50 or 60 people really ruin it for the rest of us. As a side note, what I find really odd is that it's mostly old guys like me who insist on the big kits, whereas most of the youngsters have the same 12/14/20 kit that I do, or even a 12/14/18 for playing Rock.
In my neck of the woods, it's less of a space concern (drummers of all ages are packing small for these places), but REALLY BAD ACOUSTICS. And I'm not saying there is tons of real estate, it's the typical "shoved into a corner" as anywhere.

Regardless of how one feels about their touch and dynamics, it is really hard to make an acoustic drum kit be anything less than jarring in some modern cool dude brew pub with concrete floors, corrugated steel or brick walls; with exposed trusses, steel ceiling and duct work running everywhere, over square walls. I'm not mentioning sound absorbing materials because steel stools or the bar made with reclaimed barn lumber don't count.
 

eamesuser

Silver Member
In my area there is trend towards bars restaurants and coffee shops having acoustic and lightly miced amped acts with cajons and micro kits,was trending before covid .
There are a few smaller 100 200 capacity bars still catering to classic rock,but start times have moved 8:30 and even earlier.
A lot of brew pubs you play inside and even if you play at low volume with an e kit the sound is horrible.

There are a few brew pubs here that have a large outdoor area with picnic tables and a large covered stage where you can turn it up,and some have been booking tribute bands that have a good following.

There are still a few larger clubs here with dedicated stages and they primarily book tribute acts and some 80`s Era legacy rock bands.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
for my country band, most of the shows are in an outdoor space that is part of a medium sized club, or at FOE's or VFW's, which is almost always inside

there are only 2-3 places for metal bands to play

most clubs have worst kind of electric entertainment....,DJ'S

in the past 15 years, thy have gentrified Ohio States "main drag", and all of the historical live places are now Starbucks or Spas 😑
 

TMe

Senior Member
In my area there is trend towards bars restaurants and coffee shops having acoustic and lightly miced amped acts with cajons and micro kits,was trending before covid .
Yeah, as with so many things, it seems covid just accelerated a change that was already underway.
...it is really hard to make an acoustic drum kit be anything less than jarring in some modern cool dude brew pub with concrete floors, corrugated steel...
The only cure is lots of bodies. Those bars are dreadful unless they're packed.
 
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