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Help with BIG crowd jitters . . .

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Max, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. Max

    Max Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2000
    Bakersfield, CA
    I have been in a band for a year where we have played dozens of gigs in a small, small bar and my chops and confidence have greatly improved.

    This Satuday though, they are doing a grand opening of an outdoor ampitheater here in town that seats up to 6,000 and we play the final one hour slot that evening after multiple local bands and artists play throughout the day.

    I don't think there will be anywhere near that number of people. Probably in the hundreds at best. BUT we will be fully miked and mixed by a professional sound company for the first time.

    The band went out there last night and the place is BIG. Everyone commented that we will be nervous. I have historically suffered from some pretty big stage fright episodes and am already a little bit uptight. We have rehearsed the set a lot and it's tight. We won't play again until Saturday though.

    Any advice?
  2. Try to get to the venue early and get on the stage. Get comfortable with whats around you. Check it all out, position yourself where your going to be. When you perform you will only see the first 10 rows or so of people, everyone else will be out of focus from the players perspective. (at least for me anyway) Absorb it all, get psyched, you worked hard to get to this point, enjoy it.
  3. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Wet your pants right before you go on stage. You'll be so focused on that you won't even think about the crowd. :D
  4. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    DO NOT THINK ABOUT THE SET!!!! That'll screw you up. You know the set, so you're good there. As for the crowd, when you guys start kicking arse, the crowd is going to inspire you. Trust me on this. Also, try to take a short nap before the set.
  5. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    + 1 on pretty much everything Woodchuck said.

    Just don't lose your cool. Just remember, all of those other bands opening are just as nervous (if not more) than you. You are good enough. You know your stuff. There isn't any reason to be nervous. Take it one song at a time and you should be good.
  6. Gomez

    Gomez Live from the Shire

    Apr 15, 2005
    You wear glasses or lenses? Take 'em off or out before you go on.

    And remember, you play music to enjoy yourself and hopefully others right?
  7. Ibanezzer


    Aug 12, 2004
    Dayton, Ohio

    Hey Gomez, Just wondering but why would you want to take out your contact lenses before going on stage?

  8. The theory is, if you don't see the audience clearly, they won't make you as nervous. I have to say, large audiences do have what I call the "faceless mass effect" on me--perhaps it's the psychologist in me, but I start thinking of them less as a group of people and more as a manipulatable... something. I think it's the realization that I'll have little to no interaction with the vast majority of the crowd--since I'll only get feedback from a few audience members that I probably already know, it's really not much different from playing to JUST those people.

    I think the largest group I've ever performed before (outside of marching band festivals, which don't really count in my mind) was about two thousand people at a basketball game, with probably another couple thousand listening on the radio. I was asked by my choir director in high school to fill in for the bass part in the national anthem (in a SATB quartet)--about twenty minutes before we were supposed to sing it! I was nervous as hell before we walked out on the court, but once I got out there all I could think about was the absurdity of several thousand people listening to me sing the national anthem.

    Sorry, really no point to that story, but it seemed related.
  9. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    I always prefer the big crowd to the small crowd. Something about having 6 people in the audience makes me feel more nervous about actually trying to impress or touch them all... It's probably just because I can look at all of them and try to read their reactions.

    When it's a couple hundred people or more, though, the people who are interested tend to gravitate to the front of the crowd, which is always a plus. On top of that, it's nice to know that if you've got a crowd of 500, even in a captive audience, you've probably got a minimum of 20 or 30 who are totally into what you're doing. It's so cool to look out and not worry about individuals, but about the whole.

    You'll be fine. Try to play to the back row. You won't be able to make out their faces, and it'll still create the illusion of connecting individually with the majority of the crowd.
  10. Max

    Max Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2000
    Bakersfield, CA
    Thanks for the input. I've worked up the mantra that I'm repeating to myself.

    I know the songs backwards and forwards.
    We're playing a set of can't miss crowd pleasers.
    We've worked hard and earned this.
    I've always wanted to do something like this.
    Our lead singer is a maniac and the crowd will be focused on him running all over the place.
    I just need to fill my role.

    And, check it out: we're protected by a mote.
  11. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Get some gators in that there moat! You're gonna kick rump, bro!
  12. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    If you're nervous:

    - Avoid caffiene. If you have jitters, it will make it worse.
    - Get a good night's sleep. Being tired makes you feel less prepared, therefore more nervous.
    - Get there early, and set up as early as you can. Nothing is worse on the nerves than running up on stage before downbeat, fumbling to get your rig set up, and then worrying about your tone.
    - Simplify your rig. Reduce points of failure, and you'l have less to worry about.
    - If you make a mistake, immediately put it out of your mind. Dwelling on it increases your nerves, and increases the chances of further errors.
    - Relax, stretch, loosen up. Nervousness and stiffness interact with each other and magnify their effects.
    - Practice, practice, practice
    - Talk to the soundguy before.
    - Dig and enjoy the other bands who are playing before you. If they do their job right, you'll be so psyched to play that nerves won't be an issue.
    - Don't be afraid to make eye contact. You're the guy on stage, you're the guy with the power. It improves your stage presence and confidence. Have fun and interact!
  13. KOakley


    Sep 26, 2002
    Hampton Va
    Xanax can be your friend. Under proper medical supervision of course.
  14. I always find that if you don't mess up a single note you won't get fruit thrown at you. :D

    But everything that has been said is accurate ( my biggest crowd was probably 500, still the most fun I've ever had at a gig ). You're going to have a blast.
  15. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    OH dude! Just feel the vibe from the crowd. Don't do things to avoid being there in front of them. Just play and realize they are there to enjoy you, just like the 10-50 people in bars.

    I love playing for tons of people. Turn nervousness into creative and constructive excitement - and you'll have fun!
  16. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Rule #1. The crowd WANTS to like you.

    Rule #2. The masses are asses and don't know good from bad.

    Rule #3. If #1 and #2 fail, imagine them all naked.
  17. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    Dude...just know that me and probably a whole bunch of other TBer's on here are JEALOUS!!! :)

    I'm hoping by either this fall or next spring my band will be big enough to play these kind of gigs...

    So, what's it all about? Is there a website for the show? The moat is pretty wicked! If girls start crossing over and getting all wet trying to get to the stage, you'll know you're a hit! :p
  18. BadB


    May 25, 2005
    AZ, USA
    ONE shot of nasty Jagermeister clears my vocal chords and takes the edge off. It's part of my pre-gig ritual. Don't drink heavily, because you'll be the only one that thinks you sound good.
  19. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    And if number 3 gets you in trouble, you know where to wear your bass...
  20. BadB


    May 25, 2005
    AZ, USA
    HAHA. That aint buckle rash now, is it?

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