Why should one gig equal one gig when it can equal five? Here are some quick tips to make the most out of your gigs:
1. Get A Banner
Having a banner is an often overlooked, yet effective way to get your band name out there. You will be surprised at how many people will hear and see your band but have no idea who you are. You can have a banner made by visiting your nearest office supply store or going old skool and painting over an old beer banner. Be sure to include a link to your website at the bottom. Banners will usually range between $20-$150 depending on the graphics, size, and material. Be sure that it is big enough to be clearly scene by audience members, yet portable. Keep your atmospheres in mind also. How often do you play in a dark club or daytime outside?
2. Avoid The Band Table Of Doom
Your girlfriend will be there for you after the gig, audience members may not be! I am surprised at the number of bands that I see get off stage, go directly to their band table (which is sometimes BEHIND the stage) and not talk to anyone. I once saw a guy go off stage, immediately had his girlfriend wrap her arms around him, and did not move until it was time to go back on stage. That was very unwelcoming and I felt like I would be intruding if I tried to network.
I have also worked with bands at bigger venues that go off stage and straight back to their band hotel room, not to return until it is time to perform again. These are usually the same bands that are most difficult to work with and are not very outgoing. I notice the crowds react differently to these bands as well.
3. Creative Hand Stamps
Instead of drawing Xs on people's hands with a permanent marker, consider making a custom hand stamp. Custom hand stamps can be made from materials at office supply stores. Consider stamping the link to your Myspace account so people remember to add you when they get home after the gig. You could also create something such as your band logo as a hand stamp.
4. Record All Of Your Performances
An audio or visual recording of your performances can be used for promotional or educational needs. A previous band of mine used to videotape every performance and then analyze what was happening in terms of stage presence, crowd interaction, etc. This made us grow as a band. You also never know when a magical moment may happen onstage, which makes it the best performance of that song and can be used in the future. Having a visual recording will give you a glimpse through the audience eyes and will make you more critical about yourself for future gigs. Not to mention it could be nostalgic years from now.
5. Invite Press
Having a local journalist do a story on your performance can be a great way off gaining exposure, as well as add to your portfolio. If you live in a small town or suburban area with a decent art & entertainment scene, some journalists go out to random venues just to post pictures or write short clips. Either way, you should always be on top of your game and meet these people. If you are doing a major benefit, you may be able to get local news coverage.
6. Tip Your Waitresses And Bartenders
I do not care what your policies are on tipping people when in the general public, but you should ALWAYS tip when you are a guest performer in their establishment. Tipped employees remember those who do not tip and will hold it against you. Do not forget that they are working just as hard for you. I always tip 15% - 20% of my tab, but you can also consider giving your servers a flat fee for the entire band. Even if your entire tab is comped or you are just drinking water, you should leave a tip. This will establish good relations with your co-workers for the night (and future gigs) as well as keep things professional.
7. Flyers Are Effective, But Not The Only Method Of Promotion
Flyers have always been the de facto way to promote gigs, however you can find other standard methods to promote your gigs that give you double exposure. Scheduling radio interviews or acoustic performances before a major gig can place you into the public eye and promote the show at the same time. Think about what type of people may be at your particular gig, how do they get their information? If you have an upcoming gig at a local university coffeehouse, try scheduling an interview/short performance with the campus radio station. If you have a gig coming up at a well-known rock club, try scheduling a print interview with some of the publications that may be available in the lobby of the establishment.
In addition to these tips, complete the following exercise:
a. What was the best gig you have ever had and would made it great? b. What are three things your band needs to work in terms of stage performance? c. Name four outlets you use for promotion: d. How many gigs does your band play a month? How many would you like to be doing? e. Describe your last three gigs. Compare and contrast them. Which was more beneficial?
Dutch Apples 2007