How does a new band with little to no live performance experience get venues to give them a chance?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by DChalo, Oct 4, 2016.

  1. DChalo


    Dec 16, 2015
    Austin, TX
    I have my first gig coming up, but it is only because my friend in the band knows the bar owner. Other than that we've been trying to get gigs, but as expected, most venues want established and trustworthy acts to book. How does a newbie dive into the world of gigging, if no one is willing to hire you without experience? I mean you gotta start somewhere. Where and how did you guys get known?
  2. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    Well, you have one gig, so that is a start. Be sure you get some pictures and videos. Then you can go to other venues with something to show them.
    Another thing you can do if all the band members will buy in to it. That is if you get turned down, leave contact info and offer to be a fill in if they get a last minute cancelation.
    Also, do some benefits.
    RedHatter, csc2048b, RyanJD and 11 others like this.
  3. DChalo


    Dec 16, 2015
    Austin, TX
    Thanks for the advice. Do benefits usually let anyone play?
    Fxpmusic likes this.
  4. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Are you doing originals or covers? Especially for covers, get a video of the gig, hopefully with lots of people watching, drinking, and dancing. Start pounding the pavement and speak with owners.

    Benefits are like any other venue - they want people entertained (but generally are less concerned about how much of a crowd you can bring).

    Booking gigs is probably the toughest part of this business.
  5. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    As @buldog5151bas says, booking is the hardest part of the music business. It is a sales job. Benefits are usually happy to have anyone who will play for free.
    He also posed a good question. If you are an originals band, booking club gigs is almost impossible unless you are locally famous. People go out to hear the songs they know and dance to. To be a good cover and is to know your audience and play the songs you know they want to hear. You also have to be entertainers and communicate with the crowd. If you just stand there like a lump, you will fail, no matter how good your music is.
    btmpancake and Benny the Finger like this.
  6. DChalo


    Dec 16, 2015
    Austin, TX
    Our setlist is currently about 95% covers. The gig will have a big audience, since we are all inviting our college friends. Hopefully they like us and make us regulars
  7. twinjet

    twinjet Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Make a decent electronic press kit. Get good recordings, good video and a well-designed poster. Then, network like crazy. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, just go nuts.

    Play an open mic or two and use that SM58 to advertise yourselves.

    The singer in my duo started by playing at open mics. She has a fantastic voice and came to be known for it. She then started hosting, and when you're host... You occasionally sing. People listen and watch, even if you don't think they are. Audience members know who is worth checking and who isn't. When we paired up, doing the same open mic thing, we got some recognition. Just promote yourselves from there. Be nice to everyone and network like crazy.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2016
    Rickter, GregC, btmpancake and 3 others like this.
  8. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    Around these parts, every venue wants to see your band's Facebook page. They're looking to see video of your band playing in front of loads of fans who are having fun drinking and dancing . . . . especially drinking.

    They also want to see lots of followers posting positive comments like "Great show last night! Can't wait to see you next month at Lou's!"

    Do what you can to beg your way into playing a few gigs to get you started and then video record your shows. Then post what you have on Facebook and YouTube. Show this to prospective venues and you'll start to get gigs.
    twinjet and RoadRanger like this.
  9. Kevan Campbell

    Kevan Campbell Bergantino Artist, Vibe9 IEM Artist Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Might be worth hitting up other bands in your area to see if they'd let you guys open for them on occasion.
    lfmn16, kbakerde, BassFool61 and 3 others like this.
  10. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Show up ON TIME.


    Bring ZERO DRAMA.

    Don't ask for 75 people to get in free.

    Don't have a minute of silence between songs.

    Keep the floor full.

    Bond with tour audience.

    Find out what the bar needs to sell that night and pitch it.

    Don't call ANY bar manager "dude".

    ASK if there's anything you can do for them like announcing upcoming events.

    In short. BE PROFESSIONAL! That alone will set you apart from most bands. Your reputation will spread quickly.

    Also, I'm not one for free gigs, but if your market is a tough nut to Crack offer to open for a reputable band for free. Maybe a half hour set to strut your best stuff. Don't ever do a whole show for free.....ever. If you do you will never regain the respect of the management.

    Good luck! Report back after your show!
  11. Hamish MacCleod

    Hamish MacCleod Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2014
    South America
    It has been 40 years but in high school we set up a trailer like a stage, during halftime at one of the football games we rolled in, plugged in, hit 4 very popular songs and nailed them. We rolled off just as the second half was getting underway. It was pretty intense. This worked out because the school band was competing in something and wasn't available to play. We got a few gigs out of it. If it were today, with social media, our Facebook page would show us playing to 6 or 7 hundred people at night and outdoors, crushing 4 very popular tunes, in front of a psyched crowd. You might give it a try.
    Grumry likes this.
  12. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Best thing you can do is have your friends pack the place, spend money, and tell the bartenders they are there to see you, and want to know when you will be back. If it goes well, try that night to get another date.
    Ox Boris likes this.
  13. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Jam sessions.
    Freebie charity, fundraiser
    A thousand Likes on FB from your college buddies about that venue.
  14. Tanner5382


    Sep 26, 2010
    Canton, GA
    Slip the bar owner a crisp $2 bill.
  15. Grumry


    Jul 6, 2016
    Having some sort of recording, be it audio or video, will help a ton. Just make sure the quality isn't horrible.

    Try streaming your practice on something like Periscope, YT, FB, etc so people can see you and you have a recording of it as well. Maybe post your set list and have people make requests from that so you learn to interact with the audience. You can also have people make donations through PayPal and other similar services.
  16. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    You say you can jam the place. That is job one, job 2 and job 3 for a cover band.
  17. rumblejunkie


    Nov 19, 2011
    Get a good online pressence on social media and some decentish recordings on soundcloud . Join a few pages on things like FB as there are always venues and promoters looking for acts , post them a link to your recordings and FB/Twitter page and that should help greatly .
  18. You need to start at the bottom, (venue wise) and work your way up.

    Dive Bars don't pay much so they won't get the good bands. It's a place to get your feet wet and as stated above, get some vid and photos.

    The more gigs you play and build your venue resume, you can work your way up into nicer, (read better paying) venues.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
    csc2048b and buldog5151bass like this.
  19. FronTowardEnemy

    FronTowardEnemy It is better to go unnoticed, than to suck Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2006
    Chicago Illinois

    Get out in your local music scene and get to know the bands that are similar to your style. Make friends and promote your band to other bands and booking agencies.

    Opening up for established bands is a sure way to get more gigs and gain more fans. That is of coarse if your band is worthy.

    Talent does matter to some degree.
  20. mwbassace


    Jul 26, 2010
    N.W. Ohio
    Tell the crowd to tip the bartenders & waitresses several times a set, every set. I can't count the number of times we got told how much it helps improve tips. We got a lot of rebookings just by doing right by the staff. Alot of times the owner/booker wasn't there so the staff was our good reference to him/her. Doing right by the venue also includes what has been mentioned above, be respectful & professional.
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