Gig Like a Pro Part Three: Final Preparations

Don't fall at the final hurdle...

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Gig Like a Pro Part Three: Final Preparations

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.

You've got a good gig; you've got a good crowd coming. Now it's time to think about logistics. Is your equipment in check? Do you know where to be and when? Have you got kit sharing sorted with the other bands? Being unprepared for these final details can end up undermining all the good promotional work bands put in. But it doesn't have to be this way. Follow these three simple rules, and that vital last minute gig prep will be a breeze.

Draw up an equipment checklist

On the day of your big gig, there are plenty of things to worry about, so it's important to do as much preplanning as possible.

In the days before the show, I'd recommend drawing up an equipment checklist containing everything that you need. And when I say everything, I mean everything; from obvious things like guitars and amp heads to the easier to forget items like patch leads, duct tape and spare strings.

Lay out all that stuff well in advance of leaving for the gig so that you know where everything is, and run through that check list when you're loading everything up into the van. This might seem OTT, but the last thing you want is to start setting up your stuff, only to find that you're missing a lead, a pedal, or any other gear that's essential to your performance.

On a related note, make sure that all your gear is in full working order and ready to gig. Change batteries in pedals and re-string guitars. If your amp has been making a weird buzzing noise for a while, get it serviced well in advance of the gig. Sod's law dictates that anything that can go wrong will go wrong during the show. So minimize the risk by keeping your equipment in check.

Communicate with the promoter

Make sure you're in correspondence with the promoter of your gig in the days before to confirm all the necessary details. If you're intending to kit share with another band on the bill, then have that arranged well in advance. Get details of your band and your set-up to the soundperson; it's easier for them and will mean you get the most out of your sound check.

You should also make sure you know what time you're supposed to be arriving at the venue and what time you're supposed to be sound checking. Oh, and you should absolutely stick to those times. Key to a gig running smoothly is making sure things happen when they're supposed to. Being late is going to mess things around for the promoter and for other bands on the bill. Given that it will probably cut into your sound check, it will mess things around for you as well. So, if the promoter says get there for six, you'd better make damn well sure you do.

Don't be a jerk

Acting like a rock star on stage is one thing; acting like one backstage is another thing altogether, especially at a local gig. Primadonna don't endear you to anyone, so be cool with the other bands, cordial to the promoter and listen to what the sound guy/lady has to say.

At a local level, the bands that act like jerks gain a bad reputation very quickly. Promoters talk to each other, as do other local bands. Acting like a douchebag during sound check could have very real repercussions for your reputation (not to mention how you appear on the night. Remember that the sound person can make you sound crap if they want to).

Nobody wants to work with a band of dickheads, so make sure you're cool, calm, approachable and accommodating if you want those repeat bookings.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Following on from tip number 1, if you are bringing your own PA system, bring twice as many cabless as you need. I know how stupid that sounds but seriously, you never know how many cables can break. I once played a show here my guitar amp fell over, breaking 4 cables and damaging several others. We only found out about the damaged ones when they finally broke during the following gig a few weeks later. Thankfully, because we had lots of spare cables we changed the broken ones and finished the show. Anyway, if you are bringing any cables, it is generally a good idea to bring twice as many as you will need no matter what you need them for, especially if you are running a full PA.
    this, put all the spares in a bin, labelled with length and purpose
    I second on the middle one hardcore, one of my biggest aggravations with playing in bands is that every one of them were always LATE to the gig because it's "Rock N' Roll" - that's not "Rock N' Roll" that just you being a sodding fuckhead and fucking up everyone elses show. And it's not just young kids who do this, but old fucks who have been gigging since the eighties that I've worked with who were like this - jesus Christ.....may the child babysit the elders?