Mistakes NOT to make during a live show!
So many singers are quick to give advice on what to do at gigs when you are just starting out. But the things you shouldn’t do are just as (if not more) important. There are several things that separate professional musicians from new bands. Here are some beginners mistakes to avoid while playing live.
1. Start the show wrong. Never spend the first 10 minutes on stage tuning your instruments. There are few things more boring than watching a band tune up when you are expecting a high energy show. Save the tuning for home and the shredding for the stage.
2. Perform your songs exactly how you would record. What sounds great on a CD most of the time doesn’t make for the best show. Be creative with your arrangement, don’t be lazy and only play your songs one way. There is a reason that people still go to live shows instead of just buying digital music. Play into that.
3. Abuse the power of the microphone. This goes for any band member that has access to a microphone; Don’t talk more than you perform. And NEVER shout into the microphone, singing lyrics or otherwise. People are at the venue to hear live music, not a poor comedian (see last week’s blog on tips for onstage banter). And shouting can be offputting, no matter how good the music sounds.
4. Dwell on mistakes made on stage. If you play the wrong note or temporarily blank during a gig, just keep playing. The worst thing you can do is freeze and stop playing for the whole song. The audience will DEFINITELY notice that. They may not notice your mistake though, so don’t freak.
5. Tour unprepared. At the very least, look into musician’s insurance. If you are touring with your own instruments, they can easily get taken in a crowded bar or from the back of your van or trailer. It is better to pay the relatively low annual fee than lose out on £10,000 worth of equipment.
6. Fight about the venue staff. It’s one thing to want to make sure you sound the best you can, but venting about how annoying the sound technician was on stage is not something the audience wants to hear. They are there to be entertained and listen to music, not be bored by your own personal grievances.
7. Traveling with too little merchandise. Merch can be the difference between having enough gas money to make it to the next stop and breaking down in the middle of the road because you couldn’t afford gasoline prices. If you run out of t-shirts or CDs, you aren’t even giving your potential fans the opportunity to browse your stuff and you could be missing out on hundreds of dollars.
What mistakes have you learned from being on the road?