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First gig jitters and questions...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by phoenixjmw, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. phoenixjmw


    Jul 9, 2013
    Ok so next Thursday is my first gig ever so hoping to get some good advice as I am both excited but nervous as well. So anything you can share in the way of first gigs, band situation and my playing would be great!

    Besides my first gig, this is also my band and band members first gigs too (except our singer does open mic). But I am not sure if we (I) are ready. Granted I have some history with two of the members but really, this band formation came out of nowhere and we are only two weeks in - doing originals. Surprisingly we have amazing chemistry and the songs are great. But I think we are a few weeks away from being "Ready". So I am double nervous about next week. My drummer said don't worry it's only a gig and doesn't have to be perfect so sooner the better. I don't agree with this but wondering what the TB crowd thinks - gig before ready for the practice or be patient and prepared?

    My other concern is my playing and readiness. My natural ability seems to be when I am actually playing. Anything before or after goes blank but at the moment I seem like an idiot savant with the ability to come up with the spot on bassline for the song. This worries me that I will draw a blank at the gig because of nerves. However I am also afraid if I practice and memorize set in stone basslines that the music will be boring and I may still forget my parts. Making it more difficult is the band relies a lot on my bass for melody (only one real guitarist and kind of Pink Floyd like songs) so I can't just revert to roots if I get in a bind can I? How do I balance improvising and memorizing in this case?

    I know this is a lot to ask and yet another newbie question but would greatly appreciate any and all advice - thanks!

    Oh and the gig is like an extended open mic. We have to fill an hour so like 5 songs. The place is not charging so I guess no one expects perfection but first impressions count so I don't want us to lay an egg.
  2. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member

    Know the songs
    Make sure all of your equipment works the day/night before
    Get to the gig early so you aren't stressed getting set up at the last minute
    Invite lots of good friends for support
    Don't get drunk
    Don't be stoned

    Have fun!
  3. dwjazz54


    Jan 21, 2003
    Jersey City, NJ
    Pretty much sums it up - especially the "HAVE FUN" part, as it's the most important.

    Try not to worry about it - everyone has a first gig, and some of us (myself included) can get overly critical of our own performances and unnecessarily stress ourselves out. The reality of it is this: most people in the audience are not going to notice a "flubbed" note or what-have-you, especially if you're doing originals. But if you're not having fun, THE AUDIENCE WILL KNOW.

    And by all means, if you're of age, have a beer afterwards!
  4. Awesome! The only advice I can give, in addition to what has already been given, is;

    1. Try not to LOOK scared. Make it look like you're having fun even if you're shaking in your boots.

    2. If the audience is freaking you out, focus on your band members. You know them and trust them. It'll seem like a rehearsal.

    3. If you're drummer-focused, like most of us are, be very cautious NOT to turn your back to the audience too often or for too long. I was guilty of this when I first started gigging and it doesn't look good.

    4. Remember, it's not about whether or not you make a mistake...it's how you recover.

    Other than that.....just go out and knock it out of the park!
  5. phoenixjmw


    Jul 9, 2013
    Hmmm I was thinking keeping under wraps thinking more people more distractions. Is it really better to have a group as support? I am not typically a needy person but have a strange lone wolf/million friends balance going on depending on the situation. But I was planning to go it alone so I could focus on the gig. Not a good idea?
  6. 5 songs for an hour ? Unless you play super long jams, I don't think so.

    Also, you only have one chance to make a first impression, so IMO, the drummer is a moron.
  7. Flabass

    Flabass Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    St. Petersburg
    Keep smiling no matter what!
  8. Everybody's needs are different.
    If you'd rather not have your friends there, then don't let them know about the gig. However, don't offend them if they find out and want to go.

    You'll never be fully ready.
    Nothing makes you more ready than just getting out and playing gigs. It gets easier as you gain more experience. You'll also find that no two gigs are alike.

    You will make mistakes.
    Laugh them off, keep smiling. If we all give in to fear of making a mistake, then nothing would get done.

  9. Convince yourself that 'it's no big deal,' because it's not. It's fun. Make cheat sheets (charts). Don't play too loud. Have a blast!

  10. Not really. There's really just so much you can do in rehearsal, honestly you could spend an eternity trying to get "perfect". To a point, I agree with the drummer. Unless of course you're totally unprepared. Then....stay home.

    It isn't until you actually get up on stage that you see what you've really got. No amount of rehearsal time can train you for the unexpected. I've been up there with a guitarist who was 100% in rehearsal, never missed a note, and then when he got up on stage he froze and his playing went to hell. And I've played with a singer who probably put about 50% effort in at rehearsals but brought the house down whenever we went out. The gig is the real test, not the basement.

    I do agree that you will struggle to fill an hour with 5 songs unless your songs are particularly long or you have loooooong breaks between songs......
  11. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    First gigs with a new originals band are typically not great so don't beat yourself up if you feel the overall performance is lacking something, it won't be your fault, that's just first gigs.

    As for nerves, they'll disappear once you're into the first song, so that's really not worth worrying about.

    And expect to make some mistakes, you'll do that at every gig you ever do and it's unlikely anyone will notice, and even if they do they won't remember by the end of your set.

    Enjoy. :)
  12. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    I personally would practice to the point where it was tight enough that I wouldn't be ashamed to present it in public, but I'm a perfectionist. Your drummer's "trial by fire" attitude is valid too, if you guys learn something from the experience and use it going forward. Most of all, have fun! :bassist:

    EDIT: You can always revert to roots. That's your safety net. Just make 'em feel good! :bassist:
  13. repoman


    Aug 11, 2011
    Kinderhook NY
    I don't think Pink Floyd themseleves can stretch 5 songs into an hour. :D
  14. southpaw1


    Feb 15, 2014
    email me online..
    Jennifer Litham
    Gee I remember my first gig. Butterfly city. But I did have fun and that my friend is the whole point. The butterflys will fly away..your friends will be supporting..if there not..then they are not your friends. Most of all..make sure you are in tune before you get on stage. ...and tun on your Amp..helps alot...break a leg..
  15. Yeah. Tip; learn all the songs so you can play them flawlessly - but everyone makes a few mistakes, so more importantly.... if/when you stumble, don't think or worry about it - just quickly pick it up and keep going.

    And above all - have fun and smile.

  16. ZachariahLee


    Feb 3, 2013
    Advice from my first gig:

    1. Don't just rush through sound check, make sure you can hear yourself (I just played until I heard the bass, and heard my vocals but when everyone is playing it was quickly drowned out)
    2. Be yourself, but do dress the part ("Is that what you're wearing?" I heard this from 5 different people. Evidently shorts, cap and t-shirt doesn't cut it in a rock band, LOL)
    3. It's 5 songs, you'll be fine but practice them. I had a 4 (well 3 actually, but...) hour show, and taking requests so it could be worse.
    4. You'll get compliments, know how to take them. I missed a note here and there, and felt weird when people said nice things when I was upset at myself.
    5. Don't get upset at yourself, LOL
    6. It should be just as fun as practice, only less bs'ing between songs.
    7. Try not to make it obvious that you or someone else messes up. Don't look at your singer funny if he flub's a lyric for example.
  17. rust_preacher


    Dec 17, 2009
    Here's how I have answered this kind of threads:

    Remember it's not about YOU. It's about the music, and having fun. My mantra is always "These are the songs, this is how we practiced, this is how we perform."

    When I first played electric bass live, I rushed into the first song so hard my right forearm started cramping after a few bars into the song. Take it easy! And learn to let the amp do the hard work for you, play with a light touch!
  18. tmdazed


    Sep 29, 2012
    dont kid yourself, 6 songs, 55 minutes was our last gig , we do mashups and rearrangements , we will arrange three songs together and often times , we can get a ten minute jam out of it. had 6 songs total , but the bar owner swore up and down we did 14 songs and loved the energy, invited us back anytime
  19. philvanv

    philvanv Gerbil Turds, Kitsap County Turd Core

    Jul 2, 2012
    and at the bottom it says thank you, and now you can shag off
    Have fun...1 thing I have fun with is making faces. If we are playing a "tough":):D:p:rolleyes: song, I make funny faces and if playing a mellow song I try to put on the "heavy metal" face. :sly::screwy::eek::mad::mad:
  20. kikstand454


    Sep 28, 2012
    All of the above advice is spot on. Read it carefully.
    have fun. Don't grip. Enjoy the music and don't worry about what you think everyone else thinks. Just do it. Conquer the nerves by putting on your rock star persona. I. E.- this stage is your bitch. You're not scared....you're a bassist. You're gonna sleep with that green haired girl before the nights over.....etc etc.
    Its just rock and roll man!

    P. S. This is a rare opportunity in this day and age to be able to capture your first live performance in HQ video. Don't waste that. Even if its a girlfriend or family member on an iPhone.....record this. I PROMISE you you will cherish that video forever- no matter how awful it may or may not turn out. Many of us old timers would give anything to have footage of the shows from our early days- but things were more difficult then.