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Blog: When Data Visualisations ROCK OUT

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After yesterday's unleashment of NEW MUSICAL CONTENT it's back to the STATS today, looking at what was going on in the different types of line-up I've been involved in across my ONE THOUSAND GIGS . As ever with setlist-related analysis this is only going back as far as 2005 due to data availability, which means that the types of sets will mainly be ones where I played solo, with Steve , or with The Validators.

First up is a look at which songs were most popular with which line-up:

Rankings For Songs By Gig Type
The Lesson Of The Smiths111=0
The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)32260
It Only Works Because You're here231210
Boom Shake The Room643654
Easily Impressed451=66
Hey Hey 16K56422
My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once777=0
The Gay Train887=67
Do The Indie Kid995=0
I Did A Gig In New York1510430
Billy Jones Is Dead101130
Theme From Dinosaur Planet1112182
Clubbing In The Week17=13370
Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid13145=56
20 Things To Do Before You're 301415133
(You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock19171559
A Little Bit16203524
We Did It Anyway1224141
I Come From The Fens20266729
Don't, Darren, Don't17=282431

As you can hopefully see, the table is ordered by each songs ranking for my SOLO gigs, because this was pretty much the same as the ranking for gigs overall. Validators gigs, however, have some whopping great discrepancies right from the start, with songs like The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B), Boom Shake The Room and I Did A Gig In New York much much less likely to be played with the band than they were overall.

You can also see how different the Steve gigs were, with the top two songs overall NEVER beimg played by us. Looking through that list now I wonder if there's a whole other show we could have done, hoovering up the songs that I play often but which we've never HARVESTED for shows. A former scout who is now a line manager goes to New York, dances in a disco (during the week), and discovers that he actually really does like Take That? And has a friend called Billy Jones?

Crikey, I started that sentence for a joke but I appear to have ended it with a SOLID GOLD idea that is due on Broadway this time next year! Book me a place on the QE2 and tell Lin Manuel Miranda to pack his bags!

While we're firing up the fax machine for Cameron Mackintosh, I should also highlight a FASCINATING FACT - there are NO songs that I've done with The Validators and/or Steve that I haven't ALSO done solo! According to the STATS every single one has been tried out in the SOLO ARENA at some point, which I think demonstrates due diligence on my part!

The Tony Awards have yet to call, so let's consider whether the fact that I've done ALL these songs in solo sets is somehow to do with the LENGTH of solo sets - after all, if I played for longer on my own, then you'd expect I'd need to play more different songs and so cover more ground. Let's see!

Average Set Lengths By Gig Type
20059.462 - 1710.107 - 16--
20068.893 - 189.753 - 14--
20078.561 - 168.447 - 10--
20087.591 - 158.707 - 12--
20099.381 - 1610.539 - 14--
20108.791 - 2010.6610 - 1118.803-23
20115.761 - 1112.0010 - 1314.153-20
20126.751 - 199.577 - 1313.455-20
20135.451 - 167.002 - 1013.711-17
20147.503 - 119.007 - 1214.0014-14
20155.722 - 109.009 - 916.511-17
20165.652 - 159.668 - 1117.0017-17
20175.001 - 129.339 - 1010.2010-11
20187.335 - 99.606 - 15--
20198.883 - 1311.0010 - 12--
20201.131 - 21.001 - 1--
20218.001 - 1210.0010 - 10--
20228.001 - 1310.0010 - 10--

Well, this appears to demonstrate that no, that is not the case at all. Solo gigs have almost always been shorter than Validators gigs, except in 2006 (when it looks like I did some extra-long solo shows) and 2020 (when the only gigs were internet shows of restricted length). You can also see that the RANGE was smaller for Validators gigs - solo sets differed in length much more, with lots of one-song sets (often these would be for radio shows) while The Validators tended to do more full-length Actual Gigs.

We can see all of this a bit more clearly on this here GRAPH:

Set Lengths Over Time

Here we can see that the shows with Steve have ALWAYS been longer than any other, which is fair enough because they were designed to fit into a FRINGE HOUR (which is about 50 minutes long), and would be pretty consistent because we tended to do long runs of the same show. I say "tended" because a) DARLING it is a new show every day for GRATE ACTORS like what we is and b) we did also do those shorter sets every now and again to promote the main ones.

Validators sets are then ALMOST always longer than solo ones, partly for the reasons stated above, but also because BAND gigs would involve approx four times as much Getting Everybody Together as solo ones, and so we'd generally want to do a bit longer to make it worthwhile. Also, my solo gigs rarely (though OCCASIONALLY) have a prologue featuring Tim saying "NO let's do MORE SONGS!" when the setlist gets written!

The graph also shows that there's a very gentle DOWNWARD trend in the number of songs per set. I've tried to work out why this is, and I THINK it's to do with number of gigs played, at least in part. If we go back a few days and look at Gigs Per Year and then OVERLAY that graph with this one (placing the songs per show on the left axis and gigs played on the right) then we might just be able to see what's going on:

Set Lengths Over Time/Gigs By Year

I THINK (but only THINK) it shows that there IS some relationship between the length of set and the number of gigs played. Generally, though by no means always, the more gigs that get played then the longer the set is. Does that seem right? It wobbles about a bit, and I think an ACTUAL STATISTICIAN might be able to pick it apart properly (HENCE I'm going to unleash all this data Open Access soon so they can have a go if they want), but that's what I'm going for. As to why that is, partly I guess it's because when me and Steve start to do shows together then that adds a LOT of gigs per year while simultaneously bumping up the number of songs played, and similarly more Vlads gigs means longer setlists too. To be honest I expected it to show that me doing more gigs meant I couldn't be bothered to play as many songs at each of them, but clearly not!

And on that epic use of DATA VISUALISATION we'll call it a day for today. Come back tomorrow for an INTRIGUING look at the individual songs over time!

posted 14/2/2023 by MJ Hibbett

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Fewer songs doesn't mean a shorter set if there's more GABBING ON between songs, 9f course...
posted 15/2/2023 by Steve

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