Building An Army Of Fans Every Time You Perform

Have you ever noticed how some concerts are just that, a concert, and some are an all-out PARTY, where you feel you are as much a part as the guys on stage?

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How do you want your band remembered?

Have you ever noticed how some concerts are just that, a concert, and some are an all-out PARTY, where you feel you are as much a part as the guys on stage? You may have walked away from some concerts wishing you would have just listened to their CD at home and saved a few bucks. The CD was actually better. So how can you create that amazing concert every time you play, and begin to build an army of followers?

Obviously you don't want an army of mindless, robot zombies for an audience. But what about an ever growing number of active fans who can't stop talking about you? How can you walk off stage having added a room full of raving fans to your mailing list, and increased the number of people spreading the word about who you are?

What is it that makes the difference between just an average show and a concert experience your audience can't stop raving about? The key word in that last sentence is experience. Not experience as in skill or knowledge, but experience as in surrounding your audience with sights and sounds that amplify and intensify your music and message. Unforgettable concerts immerse you in a concert experience where you cannot help but be filled with the energy of the music.

So how can I do that?

Seeing your band from the perspective of the audience can help you create an amazing concert experience. You can be the best dressed, have awesome visuals, even the best sound, but if the audience's only response to your show is a hand clap, how many of your shows do you think they will attend? Will they even remember who you are? What will they say to their friends about the show? It was okay, They were alright; I kind of liked the music? But how do you get your audience to say, It was the best concert EVER!!

Van Halen made me feel like I was standing right beside him, indulging in his every wild gesture, moved to tears from the excitement and letting go with abandonment at the same time. He was playing to ME. The crowd went wild when he stepped off the stage to look me in the face as he played a few lines. I was every person in that audience. The whole band's energy was contagious. Others also had their two seconds of fame when they were handed the microphone to sing a few lines. Everyone was stoked. There was nothing else going on in the world at that moment but the life in that room. The entire stadium was hanging by a thread for three hours straight. To say it was an incredible night would be a major understatement. Let's talk about how you can create that same type of unforgettable concert

Mind control made easy

Of course I'm not actually talking about mind control. But just like Van Halen in the story above, you want a level of influence and connection with your audience that they will never forget.

Don't let the stage separate you from your audience! Being above the ocean of people allows you to better capture your crowd. All eyes are on YOU watching your every move. Your rapport with your audience will get you anything you want. Your connection with your fans should start long before the concert. Join the crowd before the show, talk to your fans, sign autographs, and even stay after the concert to continue the party and connect with your fans even more. This may seem like common sense to you, but are you really doing it? It's one thing for a band to be there before and after their time on stage to watch the other bands and perhaps talk to a few people, but it's much more powerful when a band makes it a point to make friends with everyone they can in the audience.

One thing to realize is that your fans are your family. Talk to your fans; tell them what you expect them to do at your shows. Ask and they will follow. Lead and they will imitate. Just like an ocean wave, the energy you put out there will ripple across the audience and back to you.

Red Hot Chili Peppers has the knack of getting the whole crowd to jump up and down. How? By jumping themselves. Have you ever been in a concert where the lead singer moshes across the audience and back? He joined in, became one of them, and the crowd went nuts. Do you want your audience to sing along, wave their hands, jump, yell, dance and scream? Whether through your words or through your actions, ASK and it's yours. For that moment in time, your band is the center of their world.

Janis Joplin described her concerts as making love to 25,000 people. She said it's like the incredible connection usually only felt by falling in love the first time, yet multiplied by the entire audience. Can you capture that same passion for your audience? Show them you actually care about them more than the money they put in your pocket. Give them more than they expect and get more in return. If big-name bands can do it, so can you. Watch them, learn from them.

Getting your audience involved is a matter of action, A LOT of playful action. From connecting with your audience before and after your concerts, to surrounding them with things that amplify and reinforce your band's energy, to asking your fans to get involved exactly the way you want them to, truly connect with your audience and you will grow an army of loyal fans.

But it doesn't stop there

If you can move the emotions of the audience with participation, what do you think would turn them from fans into fanatics? Think about how to appeal to all of their senses. Surround them with every part of your unique self. What imagery could you put with your music? What lighting, clothing, sounds, and more will pull them into knowing and being a part of who you are? Everything about the show should scream your message and the response you expect from your audience. The show is more about the full concert experience than the music. Take some time to talk with your band about different ways you can truly connect with your audience. Then write those things down and start doing them! Lead your army where you want it to go and they will follow.

Find the mentors and coaches you need, those that can help you create amazing and unforgettable concerts. You don't have to walk the road to success alone. Get this free 12 day mini course on how to turn your rock band into a success. In addition, test yourself in this free rock band success test. I hope you have taken this article to heart.

About the Author: On the ridged and often dangerous path to making it in the music industry, Draven Grey has been described as a friend, guide, and schoolmaster. Draven is a professional musician, producer, artist development specialist for Rockstar Mindset, and rock band success coach with Tom Hess and Alex Staropoli. To find out more, visit Rockstar Mindset.

42 comments sorted by best / new / date

    CoreysMonster
    why did I know this would somehow be connected to that Tom Hess guy? They don't seem to create successful musicians and bands, just people who seem to always push their lessons down your throat.
    tommaso.zillio wrote: That's a great read. In my experience I've met two type of performers:- the ones that THINK they are doing a good job because "it comes natural to them".- the ones that WORK on a better stage presence.There may be some natural talent involved, but the ones who actually work on their shows instead on relying on "natural talent" have the best shows, period. This article makes some good points on what you have to work on. Keep em' coming.
    wrong. when you're on the stage, be yourself. Don't put on an act, or it just looks stupid. if it doesn't flow, it'll look forced. if you're Phil Anselmo and are pissed off and do lines of cocaine everyday, a demented, agressive personality is gonna come more natural to him than to the lead singer from the Jonas Brothers, and it works. the frontmen with the best stage performance work on their performance not by rehearsing, but by performing a buttload of times. and again, **** off, Tom Hess.
    Cheesepuff
    its just telling you to get stage presence and a style. You need that for live playing in a band, it makes the shows more fun.
    Paul Tauterouff
    Some of this seems like common sense, but I have seen quite a few bands who do not do these things, especially at a local level. They hide in the corner with their girlfriends, wives or friends before their set. At the bigger venues, people pay a lot to see shows and want to get a lot of bang for their buck. I mean depending on the musical style I don't mind seeing some bands who just stand there, but in that case I hope there would be some nice lighting or other cool visuals to balance things out.
    Draven Grey
    Thank you all for your comments. There are a large number of bands that I've come across in my profession that haven't ever thought of creating a concert experience (hitting all the senses possible), extending from the core part of the concert, their music. While it may seem like a basic concept to many of you, this article was written for them. I will look into posting a few of my less "basic" articles in the future. Also, I'm not selling anything in the article, but I can understand what you might be feeling about the last paragraph. I'll watch the language at the bottom of my future articles so they don't sound like a sales pitch... that wasn't my intention at all.
    tommaso.zillio
    That's a great read. In my experience I've met two type of performers: - the ones that THINK they are doing a good job because "it comes natural to them". - the ones that WORK on a better stage presence. There may be some natural talent involved, but the ones who actually work on their shows instead on relying on "natural talent" have the best shows, period. This article makes some good points on what you have to work on. Keep em' coming.
    Randy Johnson
    Good stuff to consider Draven. I can think of some examples in my area that have leveraged a lot of this. You can definitely tell a difference between the next podunk garage band that "thinks" they are the shit (in the corners hiding behind their girlfriends and with the people they have begged to come to the gig) and those that have busted their ass in every way to connect and are kicking the shit outta everyone around them!!
    CoreysMonster
    also, I'm not bashing you, draven grey, but that tom hess guy just pisses me off with his unending sales pitches on this site, and his ideals of what a performing artist has to be like are pretty closed-minded IMO.
    eastern_riffs
    another marketing article by the tom hess group of people. there has hardly been one article by them that i've found useful and a good read. every article is basically a lead up to a link that shows a picture of tom hess. unless UG is making a financial gain out of this, please, Eugeny (if you still own this), stop this and let UG be how it used to when I first joined years ago-that's when all the quality existed. UG has really gone mainstream.
    eastern_riffs
    you might want to check this out, it's an article I wrote 5 years ago on the same topic, building and maintaining a fan base. its cool and everything that online music companies are writing for uG now, but please have a little more quality, especially since you're professionals. i wrote this article when i was 16. http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/j... ing_and_maintaining_your_fan_base.html
    BobBlunn
    Good article Draven. I kept thinking of Derek Trucks when I was reading this - Incredibly awesome guitarist but he doesn't play to the audience much. (At all?) Thanks for sharing, and... Jam ON! -BB
    tommaso.zillio
    CoreysMonster wrote: wrong. when you're on the stage, be yourself. Don't put on an act, or it just looks stupid. if it doesn't flow, it'll look forced. if you're Phil Anselmo and are pissed off and do lines of cocaine everyday, a demented, agressive personality is gonna come more natural to him than to the lead singer from the Jonas Brothers, and it works. the frontmen with the best stage performance work on their performance not by rehearsing, but by performing a buttload of times.
    I do not see the contradiction between "rehearsing" and "being genuine". In my performing career I've worked with actors (playing musicals): they rehearse everything a helluva lotsa times, and you can see how much they improve by doing this. The same is true for us musicians. What seems natural on stage may or may not be actually natural to the performer. Also, rehearsing IS precisely "performing it a lot", only with a public of helpful people who give you direct feedback.
    CoreysMonster
    tommaso.zillio wrote: I do not see the contradiction between "rehearsing" and "being genuine". In my performing career I've worked with actors (playing musicals): they rehearse everything a helluva lotsa times, and you can see how much they improve by doing this. The same is true for us musicians. What seems natural on stage may or may not be actually natural to the performer. Also, rehearsing IS precisely "performing it a lot", only with a public of helpful people who give you direct feedback.
    All I meant was, don't try to put on an act. if you're a band that likes to headbang, obviously practice headbanging in unison while rehearsing and stuff like that, but I got the impression this is all about some kind of choreographed stage act, which may have been popular in the 80's, but looks really stupid nowadays. I can't stand watching old Van Halen performances, with Sammy Hagar yelling "Iiiit's fifty one fiiiifty tiiiiime" and running around the stage like an idiot. It's too over the top, it's too staged, at least for my taste. Obviously if you want to do things like jumping or whatever, you need to practice them to get everyone together on that, but I'm just not a fan of "acts". And performing in front of a couple of friends and family will help, but it won't make you a great live band, IMO. that comes with performing live, on stage, night after night. also, just read your Ideas pt. 1 article. awesome stuff, man.
    CoreysMonster
    eastern_riffs wrote: you might want to check this out, it's an article I wrote 5 years ago on the same topic, building and maintaining a fan base. its cool and everything that online music companies are writing for uG now, but please have a little more quality, especially since you're professionals. i wrote this article when i was 16.http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/j... ing_and_maintaining_your_fan_base.html
    they don't WANT to write quality articles, they're just trying to get you to book their lessons. if they were to write quality articles for free, people would have no incentive to go to their site, which is one of the reasons people here hate Tom Hess so much. He doesn't really help, he just advertises his stupid lessons. "But wait a minute Corey, he's taught Rusty Cooley!" "Do you know any of his other students listed on his site?" "Well, no..." "Do you know any music of Cooley's other than the stuff he has on Youtube?" "Well, not really, but--" "There. Go away."
    PamG
    I tried just a few of the ideas from the article with my band and was amazed at the difference in our show. It was an experience like none we have had so far. Way to go, Draven! AND it cost me nothing but a great time for all.
    Schmeg Junior
    Ehhh, I'm kind of in the middle on this one. I mean, yeah visuals and junk certainly add a bit to a show, but I don't think that it's really anything that should hit unless it's simply an afterthought. And about the band connecting with people off stage, that's definitely a cool deal, and I dig when bands do it. But, I think a truly great live band can connect with their fans on stage even better. For instance, my favorite live show of all time is the '88 Ritz show that GNR did. The only visual they had really was a decent sized portrayal of their emblem on the back wall. No fancy lights or crazies effects, but the show kicked anyway. There was so much energy coming from the band. Not because they moshed or crowd-surfed or whatever, but simply laid themselves out in a very raw, down-to earth way. It was like they were having a conversation with the audience. THAT, to me, makes a good show. The band being just guys with songs. Being completely honest with themselves and the crowd. None of this "12 Lessons to Become a Rockstar" bull.
    wtfisthatadew
    yeah, music is only like 1/3 of the concert-going experience. Unless the people already know your jams, they won't care about you. Unless of course you do something crazy/memorable/awesome/wild/etc., the standard, non-musical emo girl watching you won't care. So saying the music is the only important part of a concert and gaining fans is a complete denial of fact.
    dgme92
    Not useful at to me at all either, but it was a good read nonetheless.
    paquiquinho
    paquiquinho wrote: It's a good, no doubt about it, but I disagree in some points. I mean just look at PJ's unplugged. No big things there and I think it's one of the best performances ever! It was, and still is, all about great music!
    *good read
    MrReMo
    There is no way visuals could affect my understanding of the band music because, for me, it's simply an addon. If I want visuals, I can see a movie. If I want costumes, I can go to a carnival. There is a fine line between having this addon (peter gabriel, R.E.M. sometimes, which I find quite cool) and Becoming this addon. If you NEED to become the addon, you are way out of the music path. Music is energy, and energy flows between you and the audience like a thousand images, a constant heat. If your music is good, creative, non-clich, mind blowing and from the deep of your being, you don't need anything more than a good and clean sound background, good mics, amps, whatever.
    SylKain
    Good concept but it's just another sales pitch for something ridiculous like "become a shredder in 10 easy steps". Stage magnetism is something you either have or have not, in the first case maybe you can improve mastery in those 12 days...if not nothing happens
    voodoochild23
    If you are a money hungry, naive band, who have gone the quick route and masked their weaknesses by playing under an unoriginal style, it'll show. And vise versa, if you love music enough to put ur soul into it, it'll show, and more often than not, you'll have an admirable personality to begin with. Concerts and careers and everything, they will go well if ur intentions are right n u put the hours in, nothing else matters
    Andragon
    Wrong. You develop stage charisma as you perform more and more. Are you willing to make the effort? That's the question. As for the article, well, it doesn't really say much. "Engage the audience."
    7thSonOf7thSon
    Last paragraph... "Draven Grey...rock band success coach with Tom Hess " - Explains why the article was another useless sales pitch.
    KwikKopy
    One time my old band played an opening act for a show in a venue that randomly had taped squares on the floor. So after we played, while everyone was waiting for the main act to set up, we found a ball, jumped into the crowd, and played four square with everyone while they waited. It was just a random fun way for the people to bond with us.
    paquiquinho
    It's a good, no doubt about it, but I disagree in some points. I mean just look at PJ's unplugged. No big things there and I think it's one of the best performances ever! It was, and still is, all about great music!
    EnDZYm3
    @MrReMo No, you're way off. Seriously, imagine a world where every band, and every show had no visuals or sfx....how the hell would anything be considered original or different? And if you are one to frequent the same venue on different days to see different bands, how will you tell any of them apart, or remember their name? They looked just like every other band, right? Record labels don't spend millions of dollars a year on visuals for nothing, plain and simple.
    Fatal Instinct
    As soon as I saw the links to quizzes and the like, I thought "damn you, Tom Hess!" And there he was. F***ED AGAIN!
    restless_thrash
    Somewhere, in a dark, alabama basement, the real tom hess is bound and gagged in a small wine cellar, trying to regain his career.
    iakirov
    This IS a sales pitch, no doubt about it, and that's something that UG should try to filter, but on the other hand, the author is right on what he says, that, plus the band attitude and talent on stage build those bridges we all want, even when you have not performed yet -being a new act, you can manage your band to got an army of followers if you let them know and see your rehearsals, hang out with them, or just say hi on the street, so when you go on stage you already got an audience of your own, hungry for you and your music.
    ihavenoname93
    at first i was like k, koo.
    You dont have to walk the road to success alone. Get this free 12 day mini course on how to turn your rock band into a success. In addition, test yourself in this free rock band success test
    then i raged
    Draven Grey
    Thanks! One thing that needs said...it's definitely about being honest and being confident
    paquiquinho wrote: It's a good, no doubt about it, but I disagree in some points. I mean just look at PJ's unplugged. No big things there and I think it's one of the best performances ever! It was, and still is, all about great music!