Playing a gig should never become so rote and routine that you never take the time to plan for it.
Great shows don’t come together by accident, despite what you may have heard.
You have to be ready if you want to make it an experience worth remembering, and if you really want to build a career out of it, you have to make sure your fans went home feeling great.
Here are five ways to make sure you get the most out of your next gig.
1. Be Professional
Tardiness. Unpreparedness. Inflexibility.
We’ve all been witnesses to these things at live shows.
Sometimes, it can be played off with a bit of charm, but too much unprofessionalism can be a turn off for the venue, and even for your fans.
If you want to get the most out of your next gig, come ready to perform, impress, and be willing to work with the venue or event planner if any logistical hiccups come up.
2. Sell Your Merchandise
Sometimes, you can land a sweet gig that pays well.
But playing a show isn’t just about the money you earn. It’s about creating a memorable experience and pleasing your fans too.
Forgetting to sell your merch can actually take away from an otherwise great show, because you’re not giving your fans something to remember you by. You’re also going to miss out on some income.
At minimum, have some business cards and a mailing list signup form ready.
3. Make Sure the Audience Knows Who You Are
Not everyone in the audience is going to have cash on hand, nor is everybody going to be sticking around the whole night.
If they went away enjoying your performance, they should know who you are (and be able to find your website or Facebook page), don’t you think?
And yet, this opportunity can be easily missed if you don’t make it obvious.
You can have a banner with your name (and web address) on it, your logo on the kick drum, a sticker on a guitar… there are lots of ways to build awareness.
4. Communicate Clearly
If possible, work with the sound guy to come up with a couple of different presets for your mic; for speaking and singing.
If your audience can’t make out what you’re saying, it’s pretty obvious that even the best call to actions are going to be ineffective.
You should try to avoid speaking over applause, unless you’re just saying “Thank you.” That’s pretty basic.
Additionally, remember to speak slowly, and avoid mumbling.
5. Bring Backup Gear
Even great gigs can suddenly come to an end for a multitude of unforeseeable reasons.
Some are outside of your control (like light outage), but some of them are fully within your control.
You can bring spare cables, batteries, straps, strings, sticks, and so forth. You can bring backup set lists or lyric sheets if necessary.
This certainly goes hand-in-hand with being professional. If you are adequately prepared, the show can go on, even if it is briefly interrupted.