I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog lately because I’ve been really focused on music, both my own personal projects and band stuff, but I’m back with some tips for anyone about to play their first gig!
I know it gets boring going over the set again and again, but I would have been so much more nervous than I already was if we hadn’t. Knowing one hundred percent for sure that you know what you’re doing and probably won’t fuck up is a good way to feel! Plus, even if it’s your very first gig and there’s not many people there you should be aiming to be as good as you possibly can be, and that takes practice. More than just the set, make sure you know who’ll be doing the talking and they know what they’re saying. Easy enough if you’re a solo act, in a band it’s usually the front person but I’ll be honest, I haven’t actually spoken a word on stage yet and leave it all to our bassist.
Get there early, and get around.
Getting there early is a bit of a given since you’ll probably need to set up and do sound check, but what I mean by ‘get around’ is meet people. Make sure to properly meet and introduce yourself to whoever is doing sound, who ever booked you and whoever is going to announce you or host the gig. It might be all one person, which makes it easier, but even if it’s a few different people make sure to shake everyone’s hand and introduce yourself. It makes it easier to communicate during soundcheck and during the gig and it’s always a good idea to leave a good impression on the venue and people working there.
I mean this in every way you can take it. Be chill with other bands and any other people hanging out, be chill with how much you drink/smoke/whatever because even though I know getting drunk or stoned seems like a good idea it really isn’t and you won’t be playing as well as you could be sober (or at least mostly sober). Be relaxed, be friendly, be respectful of the venue and the people in it.
Watch the other bands.
I know this isn’t always possible, I had to leave immediately after our set to get the train at our last gig, but I always try to stick around to watch at least a few other acts for a couple of different reasons. First, live music is always cool to watch but also I think it’s really important to support other musicians in the local scene. I’m not saying be a total ass licker, if you don’t like a band or act that’s fine, but at least watch them and throw some support their way whether that be by just cheering them on or liking them on Facebook.
The cheesiest final point there is but really, there’s no point in doing gigs if you’re not having fun, especially since if you’re doing originals you’re probably not going to get paid anything for a fair bit of time. Try to lose some nerves and have a good time whether it goes well or not, and if it goes badly that’s fine! I’d rather do something and fail than never give it a go at all.