November 04, 2015
Gigs are not easy to come by and when you do get the opportunity, you want to ensure it goes extremely well, as a good product is the best form of marketing. If you can impress the crowd, those people will talk about you and your chances of success will trend upwards. Here are a few tips to help you have a good show:
You got a gig all lined up, so now your advertising work has to gear up. It’s your responsibility to get the word out to help sell the show. Social media is a great way to start. Create your own Facebook page for the event, then tap into all your networks of family, friends and acquaintances and get the word out. Social media is great, but don’t sit back just yet.
You still need to use some traditional methods to complement your internet activities. Get a graphic artist (you can find real great and inexpensive artists via online freelance work sites) to design a poster and flyers and put them up in all the right locations, like university and college campuses, restaurants and local stores. Contact your local press to get your show printed in show guides and previews. You need to work on your media strategy at least two to three months before the big date. These things take time and effort, so you have to work at it.
As you promote your show, always try to inform the venue of your efforts as they will love you for it. It will show them you are serious about your work and are driven. If you get reviewed online or someone is going to blog about your gig or put you on the radio, take a moment to inform venue management. They may put up links on their own website and the cross promotion will only enhance the buzz for your gig.
A Cliché That Works
Practice makes perfect. It may be old wisdom, but you do know the other cliché that is (sometimes) right, ‘old is gold’. Wow, two clichés in one sentence will give anyone a brain cramp. I promise you no more for the rest of this article. Back to the matter at hand, you do need to practice. A lot. There cannot be any moments on the stage when you are unsure of what to do next nor have two band members with different ideas of the next song to play. I know this is extremely basic, but unfortunately it does happen occasionally.
Practice repeatedly until you can consistently play well. Practice in different settings, like under a strobe light (if you can get your hands on one), in the dark, while friends are watching. Perform standing, walking and while talking. The more scenarios you can practice in, the better you will be prepared for any unforeseen eventualities onstage. If you have a new song, practice it the most so that by the time you are onstage, it feels old to you, but is new for the crowd.
While practicing, it may not always be easy to judge your performance. Ask an experienced friend to give you some reviews, but ask someone who you know will not be afraid to tell you like it is and won’t sugar-coat any negatives. You can also record your practices on audio and video and view them later. When reviewing, mute the video recording and analyze your onstage presence, which we deal with below.
Your Stage Presence
Performing live means people are not just listening to you, but also watching your every move. You need to entertain your crowd and make your presence felt. If you are energized onstage, the crowd will feed off you and will enjoy your show. As stated earlier, watch videos of your rehearsals to see how you are behaving while playing your music.
Learn how to move during a live concert. You want to convey to the audience that you are enjoying yourself and get them excited. If you are a guitarist, set your strap at a snug length so you are free to move about while performing. As a drummer, you should learn to get your body into the movement of the songs, maybe even launch your sticks in the air to demonstrate your thrill at playing. But all of this has to feel natural to the audience, so practice it until it becomes second nature.
During the gig, engage people. Ask them how they are doing, tell them the name of the next song you will be playing, and why or where you wrote the song. A little communication with the audience will keep the show light-hearted and more enjoyable for everyone.
There are many things that can go wrong with logistics, so spend some time to prepare. Check all your contract obligations. You don’t want to show up at the venue surprised you have to pay an additional $500 to play. These things need to be ironed out before the big day. Have your entire equipment ready, along with any backups you think you will need. Decide how you will get to the location. Take into account traffic and plan to get there early.
Now get out there and put on the show that will get you (and your band) noticed!
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"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all of the earth; make a loud noise and rejoice and sing praises. Sing to the Lord with the harp and the voice of the psalm." - Psalm 98:4-5