Part 13 – The Set list
“I don’t think we should open with that song,” says Matt Vance.
“Well, what song do you want to open with?” asks Adam Gillis.
“We should go with the Dream Theater cover.”
“No,” Josh Randall says. “We can’t open with a cover.”
You wouldn’t think choosing the order for a band to play their songs in would require such intense debate, but for the past hour three members of Ockym’s Razyr have been bickering like the Hatfields and McCoys. Or perhaps members of congress.
“Why can’t we start with that song?”
“You can’t open with a cover.”
“You just can’t. It in the rules.”
Vance is right when he questions where the rules for writing a set list come from. They’ve never been properly codified. Most national acts rely heavily on tracks from whatever album they’re trying to sell while keeping the crowd happy with older favorites. Local bands have no guidelines to follow at all and rely on what they like.
“I think ‘As The World Burns’ should be earlier in the set.”
“No, we can’t do that.”
“Because it’s our biggest song. It’s the one everyone knows.”
“What are you talking about? Nobody knows that song.”
“Sure they do.”
“I’ve looked out at the crowd when we play it and I don’t see anyone singing along.”
“Yeah, but it always gets a good response.”
“All of the songs get about an equal response.”
The band is opening up for another local act and have been asked to perform a 45 minute set. This means that they have to drop a few tunes from what they’ve been playing and order the remaining ones accordingly.
“We should probably leave out ‘The First Hundred Years’, ‘Search for Tomorrow’ and ‘Somerset.'”
“No. We have to do ‘The First Hundred Years.’ People know that one. They’ll be expecting us to do it.”
“You know Adam, I’ve never had anyone mention that song to me. I don’t think anyone can even tell our songs apart.”
“Nobody ever mentions songs to you because you’re always puking your guts up after a show.”
The guitarists Hal Levatine and Eric Shawn are in the actual rehearsal space away from their peers. They’re working on new riffs and playing music while the others argue. They could care less about how the songs are ordered.
“I just think those are our weakest songs.”
“That’s just because they were the first ones that played on our page. Of course they got more hits.”
Bands practice usually last 3-4 hours. There is no practice today. And what’s more, when they all leave afterward they are no closer to settling on a set list than they were when they walked in.