Hi, and thanks for your question.
I am a professional musician, and although am classically trained, have spent a good bit of time gigging as a drummer and keyboardist. I had a similar issue with a band I played in that led to sloppy shows. The band leader didn't think it was necessary to have a set list, so between each song during our shows we'd spend two minutes arguing over what to play next. Didn't work out so well. That said, rehearsal is very important. My band rehearsed all the time, even when we didn't have gigs coming up. We made sure the "old favorites" were polished and learned new material as well. <br><br>
Your confidence, and that of the other band members is very important. Crowds thrive when a band is really in the groove and it shows--on the other hand, crowds can become uncomfortable when things aren't exactly working out on stage. The amount of time a band rehearses varies by each band. In my experience, it seems the acts that are a big name singer with a band of pros behind them seem to rehearse more, where the groups that are all "part of the name" don't rehearse as often. That's by no means a generalization as every group is different. What should ultimately determine rehearsal time is necessity. If your group is playing three gigs a week of the same material then there would be less need to spend so much time rehearsing that same stuff as it gets to the point of tireless repetition. If you're playing less and the set list varies then it's more important to get together and make sure everything is solid. I'm not sure what band you're in, but as far as learning new material goes, remember that if your band has a big following then your crowd will want to hear a good amount of your classic material rather than a show of all new material.
The point is that everybody needs to be really prepared, especially if you're playing big gigs. The reputation of your band depends on a lot of things, but ultimately your audience wants to hear good music DONE WELL. Sounds like you might need to take a stand and further emphasize your point. If nothing else, you all need to run your entire show in rehearsal before you play it live--and within a few days of the live show. Even if it's just starting each piece and covering the transitions, it will be beneficial to all. They won't get anywhere letting you hang out to dry, so make your feelings known and hopefully they will support you. You might even take the approach of "hey guys, you all sound solid, but can we run a few things just for my benefit?" I wish you the best of luck with your band!
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