7 Tips To Make Your Gigs Matter More

Why should one gig equal one gig when it can equal five?

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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

106 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Scourge441
    Fantastic article. If I had a band, I would use these tips every night I had a gig.
    hennebry wrote: Divinephyton, ur an idiot. Regardless of what music you play, be honest, would u like a band more if you got to TALK to them or if they just walked outta the gig? Really. I know id be pretty pissed because usually when a band would just leave, it would give the vibe theyre just way too good for the audience, cause what do they hav eplanned for the rest of the night? they could at least say Hi, or something. I mean really man, if they just walked outta the place and i considered listening to their music (REGARDLESS of genre) if they werent real down to earth guys i would think twice about goin to their myspace. If you think bands should just leave it at their performance, then i wish that band luck because theyre gonna need it alot more than the bands that follow these tips. btw good article.
    You obviously know next to nothing about black metal, otherwise you would know that Divinephyton has a perfectly legitimate point. He's not saying the band should completely ignore the audience, he's saying that for some types of music, keeping an aura of mystique around your band is better than interacting with them at every moment. Look at Tool, for example. When I saw them, they pretty much ignored the audience until right before the last song, but the show was still fantastic. Why? It was the light effects and such, and the aura it created.
    jpast
    Good article, especially about tipping. Being a former bartender/manager I can tell you we like the big tippers better and were more likely to bring them back and promote them more.
    TheSixxMan
    Ooh yessir, very usefull. I'm gonna show this to the rest of me band. Iain- 10/10
    Styx
    RAZGRIZ_666 wrote: Hardest part is finding the right musicians for the band! Bassists and drummers are really hard to find!
    Yeah most people like more the guitar cause is the outstanding instrument in the bands, i play bass and a little bit of drumms.
    Paul Lambeth
    I'd be a bassist in and around London =D! But first I need a bass. Always preferred bass to guitar though. Anyhoo, I didn't know this was a services ad page, so... Well I keep some of those things in mind Definately seeing how well you played and how the audience reacted is really important. Also social interaction is major - a local band Civillian always talk to me and a few of my mates after we see them, and it's made them stand out ahead of every other band I've seen locally. Plus it shows off their character - they're obviously metalheaded kids having fun, which you wouldn't know from looking at them on stage all the time.
    :-o
    RAZGRIZ_666 wrote: Hardest part is finding the right musicians for the band! Bassists and drummers are really hard to find!
    I'm a drummer looking for a band around edmonton p.s. awesome article
    Scourge441
    BTW, I know Tool aren't black metal (the genre Divinephyton used to make his point), but they were the best example I could think of to defend his point. (Sorry for the double post)
    SGstriker
    This thing taught me quite a bit. Now, to completely assemble my band and get some songs together...and book some shows... Ive got a lot of work to do lol
    flipdirtman
    look people the deal is that if somebody liked youre music then they will want to talk to youso its not a good thing to leave and its not a good thing to seem standoffish either the main thing is to do youre own thing but keep yourself open i mean you dont have to catch all the crowds attention but if someone compliments on youre show then its a pretty good chance to network a little bit oh and some thing that isnt up there is that at youre table you should always have a sheet of paper for people to give you their email address myspace etc.
    Divinephyton
    Hennebry, no... I never said you couldn't say ''hi'' or that you had to leave right away and stuff, where does it say that? tell me? Now, as for talking to them after the gig, not everybody that likes the band and their music wants to get to know them, I mean people are different, some search for different things in music and some bands don't have myspace, face it, it's true. I believe that creating a relationship with your fans can be dealt with in different ways, as I stated, you could just follow all these tips and create a relation like that, but there will can be a different one when one for example retains that air of mystique and carries on that ''show'' even after the gig. and neither are worse than the other per s. I will use as example early Marilyn Manson, who had a different relation towards his fans than let's say early The Offspring; I can imagine these guys talking to their fans and hanging out like you said and they've become very popular. I know pretty certain that Manson rarely talked after his shows and he became pretty popular too because of his image and stage-persona. These types of bands are not as rare as you'd think and definitely as intriguing to me as other bands that go and mingle with the crowd. So why do you people persist on trying to monopolize your view of how a band should be? Just to state here, no bad feelings or anything, it's just a matter of opinion.
    hennebry
    Divinephyton, ur an idiot. Regardless of what music you play, be honest, would u like a band more if you got to TALK to them or if they just walked outta the gig? Really. I know id be pretty pissed because usually when a band would just leave, it would give the vibe theyre just way too good for the audience, cause what do they hav eplanned for the rest of the night? they could at least say Hi, or something. I mean really man, if they just walked outta the place and i considered listening to their music (REGARDLESS of genre) if they werent real down to earth guys i would think twice about goin to their myspace. If you think bands should just leave it at their performance, then i wish that band luck because theyre gonna need it alot more than the bands that follow these tips. btw good article.
    giginthesky
    I agree with the small town-can't find musicians thing- it really is true. I'm having a hard time just finding people to jam with and it sucks. I think I'm gonna just have to by software for my computer and go Reznor on the world.
    XxPunkMafiaxX
    RAZGRIZ_666 wrote: Hardest part is finding the right musicians for the band! Bassists and drummers are really hard to find!DustyBannister:Especially in small towns, because lack of people most people just wanna strum an acoustic. But it's hard to find a fairly serious guitarist, one that knows more than just the pentatonic minor.
    i agree totally. i live about 10 miles from a town, i have a band but my own brother (a bassist) preferred to do another band. Still stuck for a drummer rite now.
    monox
    nice article, there are some pretty good tips we shall definetly use it next time when we are playing somewhere
    DustyBannister
    RAZGRIZ_666 wrote: Hardest part is finding the right musicians for the band! Bassists and drummers are really hard to find!
    Especially in small towns, because lack of people most people just wanna strum an acoustic. But it's hard to find a fairly serious guitarist, one that knows more than just the pentatonic minor. I like the article, I think the custom stamp is a bit much though. Plus the club/bar usually takes care of that around here and X's mean non drinkers.
    frottage
    nice article; although i didn't understand the tipping part; i'm supposed to pay a waiter/waitress because i played where they work? i'm sure i've got it wrong, but that's what i made out of it.
    HavokStrife
    I dunno, but it's a lotta sorta common sense to me? Either that or I've just been playing out for a while now. But, either way, some very good pointers. I've never played a show where a band could provide any kind of hand stamp print. Just one thing, something I think a beginner should know. Don't make your band go broke playing pay to play shows. In the long run it isn't much more beneficial than regular shows you might actually get paid at. And it's very, very unlikely that signed band is gunna see you, and like, bring you on their bus and offer your a record label or something.
    oyoyoytnt!
    good article.... but do u have any tips on getting ur friends interested in starting a band?
    Wilomentena
    ace, ive seen so many bands that do opposite to nearly all of them an they just dont go anywhere
    Mental Hop
    I rarely like the articles on UG but this one was good. Gave me some good ideas for my band. 10.
    chowduff
    great information my bands played only 2 gigs an we wernt really sure what to do but i reckon using these tips will make us a little better cheers!!!!!
    swinghead
    agree as for the first two tips.i'm a guitarist in a blues-rock cover band and most times we play in the street. when playing in bars it should be intended you are the waitress' pet and get some free beer! last but not least looking at a recorded gig always makes you think you're better than you really are
    olithebass
    seeing yourself perform is wierd cos you think 'whos that wierdo/good looking chap'. but it helps cos you can see what you're doing and when you're on stage, for me, what Im doing is the last thing on my mind, I make sure I do actually move around though. trust me Ive got an A level on this lol
    Five Magics
    I find this article impressive, in that it touches on a number of points that I hadn't even considered when I used to be in a metal band. Though it should mention things like interaction with the audience whilst on stage and showing general confidence and getting into the music .
    lamottobella
    THANKS FOR THE TIPS.....I WOULD LOVE TO SEE MORE OF THIS KIND OF HEADS UP WRITTING AND AWARNESS...FOR THOSE JUST GETTING STARTED AS WELL AS THOSE OF US THAT ARE PROMOTING OUR SELVES FOR NOW.....JRL
    -xCaMRocKx-
    Nerdo-sez-bo wrote: Very informative and helpful. I wouldn't be able to watch myself perform on video though, it'd be strange.
    you get used to it... kinda.... but yea. good artical, some good tips. taking to people from the crowd is always a great thing to do, especially if some of the crowd are musicians, so you can share tips and the like
    Kurapica
    Good stuff. Alot of it is basic overlooked stuff. I think the most important one is getting into the crowd after you've played. I've met 2 promoters, a bunch of new fans and some venue owners doing that just in the local area. It's worth doing.
    boxcarblink94
    i already know this stuff but it's good to reaffirm that i'm doing things right. great article for people who haven't much band experience yet. rock on
    mybandsuks_15
    you are a genius, and possibly the smartest person here *bows and chants i am not worthy* 10/10
    leftinflinflon
    Good artilce based on common sense. Musicians generally play their instruments well but fall short on any marketing savvy. The audience usually wants to mingle with a band if they like them. Networing by being accesible to the crowd after the show is cheap and effective. The "mysterious" factor is over rated and can be confused with ego "issues". I play in a band with 4 sisters, good singers, good performers and good looking. They work the room better than most snake oil salesmen. We always get asked back.