I’ve sent out two versions of my band, Yiddishe Cup, on a single night. Not often. It’s hardly worth the logistical contortions: Yiddishe Cup in mitosis. I name the groups the A Band and the B Band.
I should probably call them the red unit and blue unit, like Ringling Bros. does, so there are no bruised egos.
I’m lucky, I always wind up in the A band.
I tell my customers up front what the story is. I say, “We’re booked but if you really want us I might be able to pull it off.” Then I try to steer them to another band, but if they keep insisting, I’ll do the B Band routine.
I didn’t try the A and B band maneuver until I was 15 years into the biz and had a full stable of subs who knew the Yiddishe Cup Method.
Tip: bandleaders, don’t play the A/B game without being very experienced and upfront. If you’re a liar, you’ll encounter what the New York musicians call a “screamer.” That’s a bar mitzvah mom screaming, “Where’s your bandleader? I didn’t hire this band!”