#1
Hey, so i´m having my first gig ever in exactly a week. I made this thread not for story-telling of how your first gig went (there´s another thread especially for that, i believe). This thread is for sharings tips or "things to avoid" on first gigs, or like the title says, just things you wish you´d known at the time of your first gig but that you had to learn the hard way, that you feel you should share with someone else, so as they do not make the same "mistake". For example, things such as "i wish i´d known that i had to arrive earlier" you know stuff like that.

Having no experience whatsoever on gigging before, i´m pretty much freaking out, i´ve asked my band members for some tips but they weren´t really that helpful because they´re pretty amateur and new on the subject as well.

I´ve used the search bar, found nothing. So please, any tips are welcome, this could be a bit fun to read too so post away
#2
Have a spare guitar, if you break a string, or two, it's not good to keep the audience waiting for however long while you replace it, especially if your role is vital.
#3
It sucks but, have everything prepared from home, know the guy who's in charge of the sound and ALWAYS arrive at least 1 hours before, preferable 2 hours (then you've got time to get some booze also)
#4
If you mess up just go with it. No matter how bad it was just pretend like that's what was supposed to happen. More likely than not, the audience won't notice or will just forget that something sounded a bit off.
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#5
If your at a bar people will buy you drinks. Don't drink beer or anything that will make you burp until after you play. Its hella awkward when your in the middle of a song and need to burp. At least if your a singer!

Storys are always good to fill time as long as they are stupid pointless and hilarious.

Slow yourself down. Take deep breaths. Your heart is going to be racing and its easy to over translate that excitement into the music. After the first song it gets hella easier.

Most common mistakes for first gigging involve improper setup and volume levels on the instruments. Take your time and make sure everything sounds good.
#6
just have fun playing the music, dont give a crap about the audience, they paid to be there.

IMO make sure the sound guy turns your monitors way up, I really like to hear myself and the drummer.
#7
Quote by Crashton

Most common mistakes for first gigging involve improper setup and volume levels on the instruments. Take your time and make sure everything sounds good.

For the love of God do this. If you don't, you will regret it.
#8
My first and only live experience was purely by accident really. It was part of a student's council trip to somewhere and there was an option to do fun stuff while you were there, so being a guitarist I of course picked that. We were just jamming out although I wasn't very good back then so I was not doing that much. Then after like two hours of messing around with ideas they started organizing them into one full composition and said okay guys we have to hurry and get this ready for the show tonight. I literally panicked, cause I was really not ready to play live. After 20 minutes of sweating and being nervous as hell waiting until our act came up I walked to the area backstage to do some final tuning and some exercises and I was literally about to panic because I was really not ready to play live. The other guitarist which was way better than me kept reminding the other people in the act to show some color and that he didn't want to play with mannequins.

When the amp was all set up and the guitar connected I was just about "ready" to start when the guitarist does this one killer lick which had the audience cheering pretty much before we'd even begun. Not a very good ego-booster at all. I played the piece with as much precision as only two hours of practice offered me, and I certainly didn't do badly. A couple of mistakes, but nothing major. The bassist was playing out of key and out of rhythm so that really threw me off sometimes. The entire piece I was totally frozen in place, stiff as a corpse in rigor mortis and more stressed than I have ever been. So what was it that I wish I'd known? Well, namely that I would actually be playing a gig! Other than that, I wish I had known how small a deal it was in the end. I went in there stressed as hell and I came out empowered and grateful for the experience.

The following day a few people congratulated me on the performance and complimented my simple and stiff performance. It seems that the audience is not extremely critical like I had originally anticipated. Quite the contrary. No one there is out to get you; please don't stress yourself too much. Try and have fun, as I certainly did in hindsight. Also, put some color into it man. That's all I can say. Good luck with the performance.
#9
Just a few standard first gig tips:

Arrive early, for your soundcheck and the gig. Make sure each instrument and vocals get a soundcheck and that you are happy with the mix, have a band member stand and the back of the room and check if you have to. Also, have plenty of spare drumsticks, picks, leads etc. and have a spare guitar, or at least make friends with another band there so you can borrow theirs, if needs be

Don't get drunk or high before the gig. One or two beers will loosen you up, but any more than that and you won't be able to play your parts well.

Although a lot of people would say this isn't important, I would suggest you make an effort with your appearance. Of course the music is more important, but it just makes you look that little bit more professional.

Have the amps and equipment set up so you can start playing as soon as you come on stage, I can't count the number of times I've seen amateur bands mess around with amps and it just makes me dislike them before they've even started playing.

If you mess up, just carry on, don't stop or apologise to the audience and just carry on as if you hadn't messed up, unless it's a really bad mistake no-one will notice.

Lastly, have fun, that's the point of playing gigs

Quote by Sóknardalr
It seems that the audience is not extremely critical like I had originally anticipated. Quite the contrary.


Every person playing their first gig should be told this, we all seem to think that we'll got bottled and booed off stage if we make one tiny mistake, but it's really not the case at all.

If you generally play well you'll get a good reaction. To be honest, if it's your first gig, even if you totally suck the worst you'll get is polite applause. Obviously this wouldn't apply for an experienced band but for a beginner band playing their first shows, there tends to be a lot more sympathy, mainly because everyone as been in a similar situation themselves at some point.
Last edited by SilentHeaven109 at Jul 10, 2010,
#10
Get there early. Set up completely (including lighting). check EVERYTHING!

Bring at least one extra guitar and a tuner (I bring 2 extra guitars)

DO NOT drink an ounce of alcohol. You want to be A-1 on your game.

If you forget a few notes, etc....don't sweat it...nobody knows or cares as long as you keep the rhythm going.

if you feel you are losing the audience, then play fast upbeat standard that everyone can clap along to (this will depend on the type of crowd).

Don't hang out with staff or band members between sets, afterwards, etc. . Mingle with the audience. The audience is where some guy will give you his card to call for a future gig. LISTEN to the feedback from folks...say 'thank you'.
Last edited by Raptorfingers at Jul 10, 2010,
#11
If you're like me and you sweat a lot, have a cloth ready and wipe your forehead between every song. During my band's show last month, in the middle of one song sweat began pouring down my forehead and got into my eyes, and of course I had to keep playing while my eyes stung like hell.
#12
2 things I wish I had known:

1. Don't just let your bandmates "handle it." Know everything they know, and make sure you pay attention to all information you get.

2. People don't care who you are at your first show. Messing up means nothing. Just have fun.
#13
Quote by Crashton
If your at a bar people will buy you drinks. Don't drink beer or anything that will make you burp until after you play. Its hella awkward when your in the middle of a song and need to burp. At least if your a singer!

Storys are always good to fill time as long as they are stupid pointless and hilarious.

Slow yourself down. Take deep breaths. Your heart is going to be racing and its easy to over translate that excitement into the music. After the first song it gets hella easier.

Most common mistakes for first gigging involve improper setup and volume levels on the instruments. Take your time and make sure everything sounds good.

That is defintiely true.

I remember that being a problem in my first gig. It was a school talent show. We had absolutely no time to set up or do a soundcheck because the people running it had no idea what they were doing.
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#14
im no expert, but heres what i have to say... if your planning on jumping around alot bring a towel or an extra shirt. i just got back from my first gig (which went pretty well but it was humid as hell out and i was drenced before we even went on. uhh tune up beforehand so you dont have to onstage, interact with the crowd, overprepare, interact with the crowd, change pedal batteries before show. interact with the crowd. also make sure you have everything before you leave/get there early enough that someone can run back to grab whatever you forgot. some band playing before us managed to forget a drumset...
Last edited by SGRocker400 at Jul 11, 2010,
#15
Remember that to get a better balance on stage (or front of house), you can also turn something *down* rather than everything else *up.* The volume race *always* ends badly.

Don't expect a sound check unless you are the headliner. Accept the fact that you may well be given a quick line check and given the "okay, you're on."

A quieter volume on stage gives the person running sound MUCH more freedom and flexibility to make you sound good. "Can I get more monitor?" "Sure.... how's this? Need more? Just say when.... " Conversely, if you're too loud on stage, the best they can do is damage control.... and they'll just laugh at you when you ask "can I get more monitor?" "NO you CAN'T get more monitor, because if I even *breathe* on this fader, the whole friggin' thing is going to start squealing so loud that it will make everyone's ears BLEED!!"

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#16
Now, I ask you.... which band are YOU more likely to suggest to your friends and to go see again.....

Band #1....

Quote by Raptorfingers

Don't hang out with staff or band members between sets, afterwards, etc. . Mingle with the audience. The audience is where some guy will give you his card to call for a future gig. LISTEN to the feedback from folks...say 'thank you'.


or band #2.....

Quote by CamaroEric+
just have fun playing the music, dont give a crap about the audience, they paid to be there.


CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#17
Quote by CamaroEric+
dont give a crap about the audience, they paid to be there.


Um, when I go to shows, especially featuring local band, I don't like feeling isolated from the band. If you don't establish a connection, whether it's through your stage show or your music, you won't get any fans.

My best advice is to not stand in one place the whole time and just move to the music. Get INTO it. Also, if you feel stupid, don't stop. Be in your own world where you're a freakin rockstar and get into it. Just uh, don't look too cocky.
#18
The closest thing I've ever been to towards a gig was playing at my school assembly then again at the talent show. Second time was definitely easier, but anyways first time I was pretty ****ing nervous. Try to move a bit, don't be a statue like I was lol. I did mess up a bit but if you do, just continue it's not as noticeable to the audience as it will be to you.
#19
I saw Otep live a couple of days ago, and the bass was WAY too loud. You couldn't hear the guitar, the vocals were iffy, and all the songs sounded really repetitive. DON'T let this be you. Make sure all the instruments are loud enough, maybe have them all play a different note and see how well you can hear each one. Just make sure that everyone can be heard.

Also, the vocalist from the opening band, and unknown, came into the pit after his set was done. Try to do little things like that, people really like it.

Mingle with the other bands. Congratulate them after their set, talk music before yours, and just get to know them. You never know when they might be able to help you out.

The only thing I've ever played is my school talent show. I went on stage and almost didn't realise that my backing track had started (I was playing the lead line to Thunderhorse), but I just let my fingers do what they did, and everything worked out. Try to do things to get the croud to cheer, like headbang or putting a foot on the monitor, if that fits your genre. the cheers will very likely make you more comfortable, letting you play better and do more stunts, elicting more cheering from the audience, making you more comfortable... Don't just stand in one place though, the audience doesn't like that.

Random soloing during the verses or chorus is almost always a good idea, if you're good enough. People will be really impressed and more likely to see you again.
#22
What you need to remember at your first gig is that the crowd will not catch you if you jump off the stage.
#23
Bring spare strings, picks, and most importantly, a spare guitar. It really sucks having to change a string on stage.

If you have another band that's supposed to go on after you, don't bullshit around after the show until all of your gear is packed up and off the stage. It will really piss off the next band when they're trying to set up and your gear is still on stage and you are nowhere to be found.

Get there about an hour or two hours before you go on, so you have plenty of time to set up, sound check, ect.

Make a check list of all the stuff you'll need for the gig, so you won't forget anything while packing.
#24
well i had my first gig ever the last week and it went well. some things that helped me and my band members were:
-practice beforehand
-be sure to have your instruments checked
-if anything happens make sure you can borrow an instrument. i was lucky my bass didn't fail me because the other bands playing all had upright (psyhobilly night at a bar)
-try to keep calm and don't over think it, remember it's all about having fun once you're up there
-bring a rag or towel for sweat
-get to the gig early for setup and to prevent any problems from occurring.
-if you're going for state presence, make sure you practiced it before instead of improving something that could ruin the show. we all made it a point to do that so something unexpected doesn't happen

in all it was a good show and im glad my first wasn't a bad one.
Dick+strings= owww
#25
Quote by Joshua1207
That must of been embarrassing


I was only kidding haha, I've never played a gig yet.
#26
Make sure you check all of your amp settings. I had my first show yesterday, someone ****ed with my amp when I wasn't on stage and I didn't notice until the second song. Someone turned my Pre and Post volumes down to 3, and my Mids down to what most consider "scooped"

Also make sure your sound guy isn't an ungrateful dick when your drummer says he wants a monitor by him, and then doesn't mic his snare.
#27
Great advice everyone. It helps ease the nerves a bit. What i´m really concerned about are my hands... Sometimes on rehearsal during the first couple of songs my hands are really stiff and i mess up a lot, it´s like they don´t respond. It´s winter over here too, so that doesn´t help. I will warm up on the day of the show at my house, before going to the pub at night, but i´m sure my hands will un-warm (?) again, and get back to being cold and stiff. I´m not sure i will get any spare time to warm up right before the show. Any tips on this?
Thanks
#28
Quote by Andrew/WK
Remembering to plug my guitar in.


+1
you've got no chance of impressing anyone if your not plugged in:|
my band mess around alot with dynamics and texture so theres alot of solo rhythm sections and i'd managed to step on a lead and yank it out so it was dead silent for about 10 seconds... and this wasn't a first gig

the usual is bring spare equipment strings picks leads whatever just in case
usually nothing goes wrong but sometimes everything does:|
ALWAYS HAVE A BACKUP PLAN
our guitarist broke a string and had no backup guitar or spare strings....
so our bassist told jokes till it was sorted. certainly kept people entertained

monitors are you key to being able to play tight live
if you can't hear someone elses playing your pretty much screwed and are just gunna improvise
sound guys don't mind being asked to get your sound right on stage if anything if you ask for a bit more of others in your monitor they often respect you a lot more as they know your not an egotistical maniac
#29
Quote by Maru717
Great advice everyone. It helps ease the nerves a bit. What i´m really concerned about are my hands... Sometimes on rehearsal during the first couple of songs my hands are really stiff and i mess up a lot, it´s like they don´t respond. It´s winter over here too, so that doesn´t help. I will warm up on the day of the show at my house, before going to the pub at night, but i´m sure my hands will un-warm (?) again, and get back to being cold and stiff. I´m not sure i will get any spare time to warm up right before the show. Any tips on this?
Thanks

wear gloves and constantly keep them moving just little finger movements and stretches should help
#30
Quote by Maru717
Great advice everyone. It helps ease the nerves a bit. What i´m really concerned about are my hands... Sometimes on rehearsal during the first couple of songs my hands are really stiff and i mess up a lot, it´s like they don´t respond. It´s winter over here too, so that doesn´t help. I will warm up on the day of the show at my house, before going to the pub at night, but i´m sure my hands will un-warm (?) again, and get back to being cold and stiff. I´m not sure i will get any spare time to warm up right before the show. Any tips on this?
Thanks



Alcohol/cannabis, something to mask yourself (prevents stage fright, thats the reason buckethead wore the mask originally), use a finger exerciser.
#32
i wish i'd known how hot it can be under stage lights!

dress in layers.. on a stage a tank top will almost always be warm enough, even in the middle of winter.. have a jacket and whatever else to wear while you're not on stage

it's easier to understand why so many dudes perform shirtless after you've been on a really hot stage
#33
Quote by jimejames
i wish i'd known how hot it can be under stage lights!

dress in layers.. on a stage a tank top will almost always be warm enough, even in the middle of winter.. have a jacket and whatever else to wear while you're not on stage

it's easier to understand why so many dudes perform shirtless after you've been on a really hot stage


I have a question about stage lights...lol, does it allow you to properly see your fretboard? does it give you enough light? i don´t really know how the lightning is, i know there are stage lights, but not sure how dark it will be on stage. that´s one thing that´s really worrying me....what if i can´t see anything and mess up? i´m always looking at the fretboard!
#34
Quote by Maru717
I have a question about stage lights...lol, does it allow you to properly see your fretboard? does it give you enough light? i don´t really know how the lightning is, i know there are stage lights, but not sure how dark it will be on stage. that´s one thing that´s really worrying me....what if i can´t see anything and mess up? i´m always looking at the fretboard!


It will most likely be darker than playing a well lit rehearsal room, yes, but you should still be able to see your fretboard, I wouldn't worry about that at all.
#35
Quote by Maru717
I have a question about stage lights...lol, does it allow you to properly see your fretboard? does it give you enough light? i don´t really know how the lightning is, i know there are stage lights, but not sure how dark it will be on stage. that´s one thing that´s really worrying me....what if i can´t see anything and mess up? i´m always looking at the fretboard!

it shouldn't be a problem but you should really try to ween yourself off that, it could lead to a bad habit of you constantly looking at your guitar and not enough at the audience. stage presence is key
Dick+strings= owww
#36
Don't stress about it beforehand, if you've practiced with your band before hand. You'll be fine.

Keep the audience involved. Thank them after your set.

Enjoy yourself!

Don't look bored, cuz if you do, the audience will be too.
#38
The first time I got on stage, I was nervous as shit. I was taking over bass for an established band and all the guys in the band were a few years older than me. I was 17 they were mid-early 20s.

I knocked something over and one of the guitar players came over and said "hey, you nervous?" "Yup"

He said "well tough shit. You signed up for this, you came to practice and learned the sounds and you sound good... and if you F**k up, you're going to make all of us look band and we're gonna kick your ass in the parking lot" and he lit a cig and walked away.



Then he came back, "I'm just messing with you, once you turn around and see everyone out there, you're going to feel like throwing up, but as soon as you hit the first note, you're commited and there's really no way you can just walk off the stage, so you kinda have to go for it, and you've been sounding great, so really, don't worry until we're done"

I didn't really mess up too much. I also learne dthe bass player trick:
It's better to play nothing than the wrong thing

12 years later, I'm still friends with that guitar player... the rest of them are douche bags
#39
haha great story HalfDose, sometimes it´s better when people talk to you like that instead of the typical "hey don´t be nervous, you´ll do great"...

great advice everyone, especially the sound thing...the soundguy kinda screwed us over and we only got 6 minutes of soundcheck when we were supposed to have an hour...no we didn´t arrive late or anything. most of the tips here applied and they really helped. MY tip now that i´ve underwent my first gig would be: don´t expect things to come out perfect let alone decent on stage if they do not sound perfect or decent on the rehearsals. It won´t just sound okay because "you´re on stage". Really.
#40
Um, well, they main peice of advice I can give you? Get a really long ass cable, and move around. And don't just walk around, move your body in weird ways. During the guitar solo, your legs should be about 2 feet apart, your upper body should be tilted, and during the really high bend on the 22nd fret on the E string at the end of your solo, have your mouth really wide. Think iron maiden.

For the most part, I'm kidding. But seriously, get a long cable, and get moving. The last show my band did, I thought we rocked the place. We played the songs perfectly and my guitar sounded great. But When I saw a video someone took, I was standing in one place the whole god damn time >.<
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