How to Be Ready for Your Band's First Show» News
Posted By: FRC All Music Admin Posted in: news
Starting out with a new band is an exhilarating experience. It can also be quite stressful. After all, you're putting your art and talent out there for everyone to see. If you're privy to certain tricks of the trade, however, your first show will run smoother and be a lot more fun for everyone involved..
Practice, Practice, Practice
The best way to guarantee that your first gig is a success is to make sure that your music and performance are up to par. Practice regularly, and practice more before a show. If you're planning on trying out anything new at the show, from an amp to an outfit, rehearse with it before you get on stage. Know your gear, know your costume, and know your material.
Set Lists and Set Times
Many artists like to "go with the flow" of the crowd. It sounds like a great idea until you're halfway through your set and can't remember or decide what song to play next. A set list clears this up with ease. You know exactly how much time your set will take up, what songs you're going to play, and what order to play them in. There's no reason you can't deviate from the list in the heat of the moment, but having a guideline written out on stage can help eliminate additional stress.
Visit the Venue
If you've never been to the club where you'll be playing, drop in for a visit before the date you're supposed to play. Get to know the room, the stage, and the sound engineer (if possible). Getting familiar with the venue prevents you from going in blind. You can plan where to load in, your stage plot, and where to set up a merch or mailing list table.
Mind Your Manners
When you show up for your gig, be polite to everyone you meet. Remember that the employees of the club all work together. From bouncer to bartender to booker, everyone from the venue is on a first name basis with one another. If you're rude to a waitress or the sound guy, you can certainly bet that the owner will know by morning--which means you'll probably never get a gig there again.
Short Soundchecks Make for Happy Sound Engineers
When you get on stage to check your levels, make sure that you know how to set up your gear as quickly as possible and control it. Only play when the sound guy asks you to. Don't play over another member getting a line check. If you can't hear your vocals and the sound guy can't give you more in the monitor, you need to turn your amps down. A good rule of thumb: if you can't hear your drummer's kick and snare while you're playing through your amp, it's too loud. Lastly, never, ever use soundcheck as a rehearsal. This is not your time--it's the engineer's.
Don't Play Past Your Allotted Time
Know when your set is scheduled to start and when it is scheduled to end. If you start late, you will have to cut your set short. Most sound engineers will give you a "heads up" through the monitors when you only have a few minutes left, but it's not his responsibility to time your set for you. Know when you're supposed to be off stage or ask how much time you have left if you're unsure. The other bands--and the audience--will appreciate the courtesy.
When your set is over, get your gear off of the stage as quickly as possible. You don't need an audience while you break down stands or put your guitar in its case--you can do that backstage. Speedily striking your gear helps the next band get ready faster and shows that you are a professional.
Have a Mailing List
Many bands that are just starting out forego a merch table because they have nothing to sell. But how are all your new fans supposed to find out when you have another show? Make sure to have a mailing list sitting at the merch table with a sign for your band. Encourage the audience to sign up and introduce themselves after the show.
Stay for the other bands. Don't pack up your gear and load out while they are playing, especially if you have to load out in front of the stage. It's incredibly rude to the other artists you're playing with. Sure, you have to get to class early tomorrow, or get home to relieve the babysitter, or you're just tired from working all day and playing a show. What makes you think that the other bands' members aren't in the same situation? Be respectful and watch the other acts play. This is your best chance to start building relationships in your local scene.
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