How To Improve Your Bands Live Stage Performance
Would you like to know how to improve your live performance on stage as well as pick up some tips on how to make your gig run smoothly? From someone who has seen many common mistakes committed over and over by ammeter and unexperienced bands on a nightly basis this is a must read for any bands looking to improve the performance of there band and looking to avoid common pitfalls bands make.
Before the gig
Im going to look at the things each musician i can think of should be taking to a every gig as well as the things everyone should be doing before the gig and during the change over time they have.
Ok so your loading the van before the gig, you have put your instruments in but what else should you be looking at taking?
Drummers - Drum Key, spare sticks, towel, spare T-shirt, Hi hat clutch,
Guitarists/Bass Guitarist - Spare strings, spare (tuned Before gig) guitar, Loads of plectrums, spare 9v battery (some bass guitars & effects peddles), every screwdriver and allan key you need to get in to change the battery or solder the guitar, tuner, spare guitar lead, spare patch leads for FX peddles, speaker cables (for between head and speaker), extension cable for effects peddles
Keyboards - Spare power unit, spare jack lead, DI box (incase venue is short), Keyboard stand.
If your instrument isn't listed then just read though them all there are lots of generic things everyone should think about taking. Ill add to this list as i think of things musicians should be taking to gigs so please keep checking back!
What you should be thinking about the above is that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong eventually at a gig sooner or later, so take everything you need to fix/replace anything you use.
Before & During the Change over
If you have a limited change over time you need to prepare as much as you can while the band before you is on. This applies more so if its a small stage as things take longer when there is less room to maneuver. Tune guitars, erect drum hardware and warm up (Ill cover warm up techniques in more detail another time.) During the change over itself have all the band waiting to go on and take any instructions from the promoter or engineer. Allow the previous band to get off the stage and then get on and set up! This sounds obvious and simple but after a few beers most musicians forget about everything they need to do before the change over.
If you have followed the advice given above and have well maintained equipment, setting up on the stage should be relatively simple, Just set up your equipment on the stage and fix or replace any equipment that has developed a fault in transit (because it was all working before you left for the gig right?)
There is one thing most ammeter bands do during the change over that they should never do. Playing & jamming just after setting up is a bad idea for two reasons; It makes communication between band members, engineer and promoter impossible, it makes it too loud for the audience members to talk to there friends in-between bands and enjoy themselves. It is for this reason that i recommend guitarists have all the settings on there guitar pre set before the gig (or written down) so they only need to play the guitar on stage briefly to make sure everything works and to set the volume with the engineer (See How to Get an Awesome Guitar Sound Live). Drummers should briefly check all drums and cymbals are in the correct place, (read my hub on Live Drum Sound) but remember you don't have to hit them hard to check there placement! The best bands I have worked with simply set up there equipment quickly, do a quick line check of there own and wait for the engineer to help set the levels and do a line check though the PA (if you are being mic'ed up)
Doing this should leave you just enough time to go to the loo but probably not go to a busy bar as it takes too much time to buy a drink, I suggest you do this before the change over. (This sounds stupid but if your drummer runs to the bar just before you go on it could eat in to 5 minutes of your gig meaning you have to cut a song from the set, possibly even your last tune).
During the gig
Rock! And read my other blogs for more info!
After the gig
Leave the stage promptly for the next band to get on stage. Unless your the headline band there will be no time to chat to fans/friends or sign breasts. Respect the next band on and give them space to get there kit set up. Once you are off make sure your kit is packed away and secure!
Basically what I have been saying again and again in this Hub is to be prepared & prompt. Have everything you need and a spare, all in fully working order. Power cables held in the right spot with a bit of gaffa is not good! Guitars with a crackly output is not good! Drummers with only one pair of sticks is risky! Drummers treating the change over time as there only chance to show off there solo skills is very un-professional & frowned upon.
Thanks for reading and please comment as i would like to hear what you think!
Dan - Sound System hire company I work for.