Now that you've put together your master song list and set lists, and rehearsed them to perfection with the band, you may be tempted to hit the streets and hit up all your 'A-venues' for gigs. Don't do it! You may have the best product in town, but if you don't take an incremental approach to sales, you might blow your best opportunities. In order to build a successful enterprise, you will need to make the right moves in the right order to get those most coveted venues to open the door to your band. In this article, we will look at some ways to package your product to convey just how incredible your band really is. In order to accomplish this, you will need to put those finishing touches on your marketing and stage production that convey the quality of your music.
Dress for the Job You Want
The most obvious manifestation of this concept is to develop an image that reflects the style of your music. Use your online search engine to pull up promo shots and live photos of the artists' music that you play. What clothes and hairstyles are these musicians wearing? To the extent that it is possible, make sure the band dresses in a manner consistent with the bands that you're covering in your show. Depending upon how broad your material selection is, this may be very specific. For example, if you're a Led Zeppelin tribute, the guitar player probably ought to be playing the same guitar that Jimmy Page made famous (another brand of the same style is fine). You might want to find someone to supply some pants embroidered with dragons as well. If you are an Ozzy tribute you might want the guys to wear 'big hair' wigs to resemble the hairstyles of the original band members. If you play a broader selection of music, look for commonalities among the various artists and create your own similar look. Take it a step farther and watch video to learn the stage antics of those artists, whether it's headbanging like a metal band, duck walking like Jagger, or dancing like Michael Jackson or Bruno Mars. Help your audience relive the excitement of seeing their favorite artists live and you will be on the track to success. Time to put up those mirrors in the rehearsal studio!
Book a Venue for a Video Shoot
Find one of your C-venues that will let you put on a show. Pick a venue with an attractive looking stage arrangement. Usually these clubs are always looking for new bands, and they will often agree to let you do an unpaid audition or perform on one of their off nights. Get a date that is far enough ahead that you can market the show to all your friends. Find someone in your area that has the skills to make a high quality live video of the show, even if you have to pay them. Make sure they know how to capture quality video and sound. Preferably, they should bring at least two or three cameras and have the ability to edit the video. Check out the club ahead of time and make arrangements to bring whatever supplemental lighting and sound you will need to deliver an impressive looking show. A pro sound tech and lighting tech are essential! Yes, I know this is costing a little bit of money, but a high-quality video for your EPK is like money in the bank when you try to approach the best rooms later on. Consider if stage extensions or risers will improve the show and bring them if they will be an asset. Maybe a friend of the band is handy with tools and can build you some portable staging?
Meanwhile, get the band members to beg, plead and cajole every single person they know to show up and participate in your "new video shoot." You will want a packed dance floor or a dense crowd in the foreground of your video. Don't be afraid to ask your friends to help make you look great on the night of the shoot by coming out to show their support.
Have You Ever Seen... "What's Their Name Again?"
Now it's time to come up with a catchy and appropriate name for your band. If you get stuck, there are actually "band name generators" you can find online that can stimulate your creative process. Some of them allow you to input a keyword, and some just produce a stream of random words, but you might be surprised how effective they can be when brainstorming a name for the band. Create a logo that is both readable and unique, and get a banner made with your band name. Helpful hint on banners: have them made on black fabric that has a matte finish, so the glare doesn't make your banner look cheap or difficult to read. Get sturdy grommets so you can hang your banner securely. This is one place to really invest, because you'll use it for years, and it is selling your product every time the band performs. It does no good to have a fantastic show if people can't remember the name of your band.
By this point, you should be getting really excited about how cool your project is turning out to be. Be patient and do your homework before approaching potential venues, and the rewards will definitely be worthwhile when you hit the streets. In our next article, we'll learn how to pull together your Electronic Press Kit (EPK) and package your band like a professional working group.
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