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Song and Set Selection

Song and Set Selection

We’re not going to try and tell you how to write songs: there’re 1,000,001 ways to do that, and one of OOTB’s strengths is that it encourages all of them. Therefore, as far as song/set selection is concerned, the only rules we’ll ever impose are that you only play three songs (in 15 minutes), and that you don’t play any covers!

Similarly, we could give hints on how to at least be entertaining within your set, but one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, and there can be wild range of opinion on what styles people at the Canons’ Gait are into. If you’re just starting out, bear these pointers in mind, but the main thing is you express yourself.

1) Try to vary the set as much as possible. Even when it’s good, no-one wants to hear the same song twice in a row. Think in terms of varying tempo and key principally.

2) Take a step back, remember you’ve got an audience, ask yourself if you’re being excessively self-indulgent. Lyrically, try and give your listener something that draws them in/they can relate to. For metaphysical poetry to work, you’ve got to be damned good at it.

3) Play to your strengths in your songwriting. Find that stylistic thing that’s going to be different to the person before/after you, and be sure and let the audience know about it.

Three songs isn’t a lot of time to make your mark, so use it well, Gunga Din. If you do, though, and get offered the featured slot, that’s when you’ve really got to think about how your set’s coming across- people’ll tolerate 15 minutes of nonsense more readily than an eternity-esque half hour!!

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