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First Gig

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by DSims63, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. Well in two weeks I am playing in my first gig! Sweetwater Sound is having their 5th Anniversary Showcase and my Build-A-Band class will be playing. We have a 3 song set and if I am honest with myself I am already getting nervous. We are all older players at 50+ years and relatively new to music, example I have been playing less than 2 years. My worry is the energy level we will bring to performing. It is a 4 piece band, drums, keys, guitar and bass. The guitarists is only comfortable playing when he is seated and is pretty much hunched over his instrument so that leaves me as the only one standing. My personality is more an Entwistle than a Flea but I think someone will need to project some emotion for the band. I also don't want to appear inauthentic either. My plan is to spend the next 2 weeks practicing emotional content, just hope I don't come off like Jack Black in School of Rock, although I did love his sincerity. Thanks for listening, wish me luck and I will update after the gig. Oh yes I want to thank everyone on TalkBass Forum, I have received more help here then you guys know, it has really helped me reach this stage of my musical journey. Thank you very much.
  2. Mogalen


    Mar 5, 2013
    Awesome! I'm only 16, and I'm gigging all over my town with my two bands.

    I'm quite used to be om stage from Said gigs, as well as school concerts and some other stuff. Just remember that if you look like you're having fun, the audience will have a Good time.

    I'd recommend that all of you stand, except for the drummer. It looks better. Also, if you've not decided with the responsible person of the place that you will only play 3 songs, you should probably add a few. The first time me and my band did an all-nighter we played 32 songs, and that left us with 20 more minutes... So we played the first few songs again.

    Other than that, good luck and have a good time!
  3. Hello! Congrats on getting your first gig! It's exciting.

    I think it's great that you are also thinking about the visual aspect of your band as well as the energy level that you will be portraying. So few musicians think about this...

    I think different bassists and musicians go about this differently. For myself, I always try to show externally what I feel internally when I play live. For me, I feel a lot of happiness and appreciation. So I try to smile and make some quick eye contact with people. Maybe for your first gig, this is a big enough goal.

    About the nerves, you know, it's normal. But I always tell myself that I am here to enjoy myself, enjoy the experience and that I won't let my nervousness get in the way of the experience. I also prepare a lot before a gig, so that I feel confident. If I'm well prepared, I know that things will go well and that I will have a good time.

    Finally, just go and enjoy it, man! Let us know how it went!

  4. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Northumberland, UK
    Just remember it's the law that you must play your first gig naked. Seriously man, the sound engineer won't let you play otherwise.
  5. Jkaz


    May 23, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    Ah! You're never too old to gig.

    I'm a late bloomer also, I started gigging in my early 40's, and the first gig I played was the battle of the bands. Talk about being nervous. I had my eyeballs glued to the fretboard, and I couldn't wait to get the four songs completed. It wasn't a very enjoyable experience for me, but now I'm in my late 40's, and I play about 10 gigs a year. I've evolved, I'm less nervous on stage, and my stage presence has improved.

    Understand your gig, and your audience expectations. Not every gig is about having the dance floor packed. Some people just enjoy listening to live music.

    Be who you are. Don't force yourself to be the focal point of the band, unless of course that's your role. My demeanor is layed back, and for the most part that's translated into my playing style.

    As someone posted before, you should try to smile, show that you're enjoying yourself. Making eye contact with the audience once and a while is also good. Those are the beginning steps of stage presence.

    Even though my first gig was stressful for me, it was somehting that I had to do. It paved the way for a hobby that I really enjoy. I hope your first gig will be fun for you, and your band. You guys might get the fever, and you'll be looking to gig out soon again.

    Keep us posted. By the way are you playing covers or originals?
  6. drea2304


    Feb 13, 2012
    Central IL
    Congrats! Just go have fun.
  7. Thank you. Luckily I have to talk to a group of people daily at work so I am going to use that to try and keep the nerves at bay.
  8. Thank you. Yeah we are trying to get guitarist to stand but so far no good. Keyboardist has some health issues so seated is the way to go for him. There are going to be a lot of people playing and we were told 3 songs was the max, however we are last so I have us with one more song in our pocket just in case.
  9. Lol, if I did that I would get a standing ovation.
  10. I understand what you mean about knowing the crowd. I don't see this as being a big dance thing I just don't want us to be these old stick in the muds. I am one of those look at fretboard guys so I have started practicing in front of a mirror to get used to looking out at others.
    We are doing covers. "Umbrella Man Blues" Gary Moore, "Wonderful Tonight" Eric Clapton, and "Black Night" Joe Bonamassa. Each of us singing one song, drummer first, guitarist second, and I sing Black Night. If we get to do one more it will be an instrumental, "Back Street" Don Celenza. Thank you for the advice it is all going into my preparation.
  11. Wow, I forgot to mention I am quite impressed at the 32 song gig. If I had to do that my hands would fall off, outstanding!
  12. Already In Use

    Already In Use

    Jan 3, 2010
    Congratulations! After the first few notes come out you'll be fine. Play and enjoy. Playing out is a blast. We also do a 30 song...give or take set list in both bands I play in..You'll do the same not too far in your future.
  13. Good luck!
  14. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    Don't forget to breathe....If you can can go and visit the stage - do a "walk about" a week or so in advance - test the stuff you'll be depending on such as power outlets, lights, PA. If the stage is elevated don't forget to lock down those casters and of course don't fall off.....AND since I come from a world that demands a plan "B"...I'd recommend you (and the band) have about 10 songs locked down solid AND spare equip. When you make a mistake and you WILL - just keep playing and don't stop. As someone said earlier - let us know how it works out.
  15. jefkritz


    Oct 20, 2007
    iowa city, IA
    good advice so far. i especially like the suggestions to breathe and smile. especially smiling. took me years to get that one down. still working on the breathing bit :)
  16. It's a 9 minute set. Stand tall, make eye contact, smile and if you can sing along with the vocalist - under your breath is OK, just look like you are having fun.

    A little walk - shuffle in your area never hurt anybody.

    Why do they call it playing? It's supposed to be fun. Look like you are..............
  17. bander68


    Jan 29, 2013
    Even though I've got a lot of performance experience on other instruments, I'm a practice-room bass player so far, so I'm jealous! Enjoy it! It's the best place in the world!!!
  18. Great advice, thank you!
  19. That is the great thing having my first gig being hosted by Sweetwater Sound, they are sound, music experts. We are playing on their stage with their sound techs on the job. Just me and the guitarist need to bring our instruments, they are supplying everything else. If something should go wrong with one of our guitars, there are literally hundreds we could use as replacements. I intend to watch these guys work and soak up as much information as I can. They are also making professional DVD's to give to all the participants. I am also told if we do well we could get a larger set during the Sweetwater Gearfest this year. That would really freak me out, I saw Marcus Miller there last year and I would be a little intimidated playing anywhere in his vicinity, LOL.
  20. From the date of the OP, the gig has not happened yet, so I'll offer one more piece of advice that I still find useful after hundreds of gigs.

    There will likely always be things that cause you to momentarily lose your concentration and focus while playing live. Equipment, band mates, audience can all cause you to glitch. The crucial thing to remember is to recover your focus as quickly as possible. Force your mind back to where you need to be as soon as you recognize that you've drifted.

    Practice this during rehearsal so you get in the habit. It's great mental exercise and even enjoyable when you get the hang of it.

    Best of luck, and have a great gig...

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