By Thomas DeVoy
Great shows don't just happen. There is a ton of work involved. You can't just rely on talent and hope a show goes well. There are tricks of the trade to get your set sounding sexy, and things fans can do to make the show even better. Here are five steps for bands to blow minds at your next venue show:
1. PRACTICE YOUR SET FOR 10 HOURS.
Practice is everything. You will only perform at 80% of your capacity. Make sure every lick you play or drum you hit is well within your ability. There can be one or two small sections that may stretch you, but for the most part you need to be able to do it in your sleep. There will always be something that is causing you stress. Maybe it took longer than normal to set up and it cut into your set time. Maybe the lighting isn't right so you can't see your lyrics sheet. You have to know what you're doing whatever the conditions are. If your music or lyrics fall off the stand you're hosed. Fans will remember that and wonder why you were not prepared. It's unprofessional. There's no excuse not to take time and make sure you are prepared to perform. Practice alone as well as with your band and make sure everyone knows what they're doing.
2. PLAN AND PRACTICE TRANSITIONS BETWEEN SONGS.
When you're playing huge shows where there is 500+ people, this doesn't matter as much. When you end a song the sound of the crowd will fill in the gaps. But when you're first starting out, you will end a song and it's dead quiet. Practice transitions between songs so you can go from one song to the next flawlessly, and then plan one or two times that you stop and talk to the audience.
3. DON'T JUST PLAY THE SONGS.
If you're a local band that frequently plays for the same crowd, you need to mix things up. Playing the same songs the same way in a different order doesn't cut it. Think creatively and find ways to squirt some special sauce on every song. Maybe take a heavy song and make it acoustic, maybe take an acoustic song and make it full band. Rearrange songs and flow to make it interesting. This will keep fans wondering what you are going to do next.
4. ALWAYS THANK PEOPLE FOR COMING OUT.
This is huge. There's a hundred other things every single person could have been doing that night. They chose to come se you play. That's huge! Make sure to thank everyone for coming out multiple times on and off the stage. Also thank all the other bands for playing with you. Again they didn't have to play that show with you. They chose to.
5. BE THE LAST PERSON TO LEAVE THE VENUE.
Stay after your set and hang out. If you didn't headline then watch the other bands. Make sure you or one of your band members is at the merch table at all times. Make it a goal to talk to as many people as you can and thank them for coming out. Help other bands load their gear and make friends. This is so valuable to have these relationships. If you help them out they will help you out in the future. But more importantly, do anything you can to encourage other bands. The local music scene can't only consist of one or two good bands. The more bands that encaourage one another the stronger the local music scene will be.
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