Welcome to gig like a pro, the series that teaches you how to maximize your band’s gigging potential, to get shows that will improve your reputation and to avoid the mistakes that many young acts make.
So you’ve just played a great show, as part of an awesome bill, to a packed out crowd. Job done, right? Time to sit back with your band mates, sink a couple of beers and pat each other on the backs…
Not quite. You’ve still got work to make the most of your gig. So get off your stool, put the pint down and follow these three simple rules. Because, what you do when you come offstage is as important to your success as what you do onstage.
In my experience, some of the most important networking opportunities are those that come directly after a performance.
Think about it: a gig is typically a space where lots of people relevant to the continued success of your band have congregated. Promoters, photographers, zine writers and other bands are all useful to you, so make sure you use the time after your performance to get to know them.
Assuming you’ve played a good set, then chances are you’ve made a good impression. Consolidate on that impression by being friendly and approachable to these people, and chances are that more opportunities will start to open up for you and your band. It might be tempting to chill at the bar for the rest of the evening after giving it your all on stage, but taking some time to network will pay off in dividends.
As well as figures central to your local scene, there’s another group that you want to engage with after the show: prospective new fans.
The same principal about having made a good impression applies here. Assuming you played a good set, you’ll be well on the way to winning some new fans over. You can consolidate that impression by talking to those people.
Generally, when onstage, I make a point of identifying a few people in the audience that are into the show that aren’t friends and family. Then, when I come offstage, I try to find those people in the audience and strike up a conversation.
That conversation doesn’t have to turn into a hard sell for your band (though if you can flog a couple of CDs and t-shirts in the process, that’s a definite bonus), just be friendly. Ultimately, people like to feel a connection, and being approachable pays off in dividends when it comes to growing your fan base and getting return business.
The word consolidate has appeared a couple of times in this article now, and I really do believe it’s the key term when it comes to making the most of your gig post-show.
The day after the gig, make sure to message the other bands on the bill, as well as the promoter, soundman, and anyone else that helped out in the organization to thank them for a good night. Add the relevant people you met at the show – be they fans, zine writers, photographers – on social media. Speaking of social media, post about the gig you just played. Share photos, videos and audio and remind everyone, including your new fans, of just how awesome the show was.