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I've never played a show...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by 0scar, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. 0scar


    Jul 11, 2003
    and I feel as if I wouldn't be able to move while playing, like if I did, I'd mess up my playing or something. I'm into a lot of metal, so stage presence does play a vital role here...:( Is this just me being paranoid?
  2. 0scar


    Jul 11, 2003
    well...I kinda phrased that wrong. It's more like I can't be as active as I would want to be on stage because I feel that this would either mess up my playing or it'd just be hard to play. Since I've never really played a "show", is this just me having a normal newbie fear of crowd rejection, or do I have a serious problem? lol
  3. 0scar


    Jul 11, 2003
    And lastly, I've been playing bass for 5 years now, and I would consider myselfa good bassist, at least for my age group. A lot of people around here were impressed by my playing but I realized that I can only really play well sitting down, I barely stand up to play, and when I do I set my bass fairly high. Does this have anything to do with it?
  4. Jeb


    Jul 22, 2001
    Sounds like butterflys.

    Just play the bass. Don't worry about what you think others expect of you at this point because its too late for that. You just have to play,... so play as well as you can, take your lumps, take your rewards, learn from them, build your memories and experience. It really is as simple as that.
  5. Realise that the audience is there, but just lose yourself a bit. Just really get into the music. Our opening number is an original that just really gets me into the music that we play, so I can play and move about and just have a fun time, basically. It's as much fun to play music to people as it is to watch, so just remember that. Mess about on stage and so on. People have come to be entertained, so even if you're a bit poop or whatever, if they've seen a good show they'll be happy. People aren't going to be scoring you or anything; seeing how many mistakes you make - they're probably not even going ot notice, so don't worry about it.

    You'll look like an idiot, but try moving around and playing at home. Practise the lines too, so you can just play them and not really have to think about them. That way you can be free to think abotu moving and so on.
  6. The Nanny

    The Nanny

    Dec 23, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    The first song is rather key...pick something without a whole lot of wierd beats or silent counts...something easy, to build your stage legs a bit. Accept the fact ahead of time that your bass playing will not be your best...never is the first gig...so keep your bass lines simple (don't go overboard on fills 'n stuff). That will be extra important if your drummer isn't really experienced with playing live, cause he'll need you even more to help lay down a steady beat.
  7. check this article out: http://www.acousticfingerstyle.com/openmics.htm
    It specifically refers to Open Mic/Acoustic situation, but I believe it is true about any performance. The main point is:

  8. fatbassjazzer


    Feb 27, 2004
    Usually you will get nervous right before you are about to go on. But after the first 10 seconds of the first song, you love it. If the crowd is digging you, then it makes everything so much easier. Since you are in a metal band it isn't too hard to have stage presence. If you have long hair, make sure to headbang and stuff like that. I'm in a metal band, and when I'm not singing I'll just step back and let my head do all the work.
  9. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    Until you get a few songs under your belt you might want to stay near your amp and get used to the sound on stage. Try to get as much milage out of your power stance and head banging as you can before you go wandering about the stage.
    Be comfortable in your playing and your sound first and then work the other stuff out as you go.
    Are you currently in a band?
    Has your band practiced in a place that allows you some movement? You will know during rehearsals what you are capable of doing while playing.
  10. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    musician-ship first, showman-ship second
  11. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification
    first gig?


    but seriously...

    be preprared to play at about 50-75% of your normal skills - some people react better than others, but most of us get nervous - if you`re unable to play the songs at 40bpm with good timing, the chances are you will do some mistakes. if you have some difficult parts, it may be a god idea to play a simplier substitute - i`d rather hear a simple groove laid well, than a blur of 16th notes completely out of time. if you don`t play with a metronome, the chances are that some songs may be played a lot faster than usuall - especially if they begin with guitar parts.

    be prepared to play without hearing what others play really well - recently I had a gig when I couldn`t really hear what the guitarist playing/singing- room acoustics is a strange thing. after the gig I found out that the drummer didn`t hear him as well and was depending on me and our memory :D

    some other advice - DON`T dare to even think about noodling between songs or before the first song unless you want it to be the part of the show! pro musicans I see at gigs pluck an open E to see if the amplification is working, and maybe check their tuning after a few songs - and that`s it. noodling sucks.

    be prepared for "RANDOM ENCOUNTERS" - girls dancing on stage (try to avoid hitting the same girl with you headstock three times in a row, trust me - i`ve been there :D ), people wanting to sing a song, bassplayers giving you their basses to play a set with.
    i have under 20 gigs under my belt and seen all kinds of strange s**t happen durning our gigs.

    be prepared to help out your bandmates - pick up a drumstick your drummer slipped etc. etc. - WITHOUT stoping the song - my friends say it looks really cool, when we can do stuff like that without killing the groove:D

    MOST OF ALL - you are supposed to have fun, dammit, so have fun :D
  12. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    If you just stand in front of your amp and play that will be just fine. The music first, then worry about trying to look cool, jumping around, etc.
  13. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    There's some great advice for you here, Oscar. The only post I'd dissagree with is one that implied 'it's worth it to screw up, as long as you're expressing your self with body movements', or something like that.

    Here's what crosses my mind on the subject:
    Especially if it's a first gig for all of you in the band, DO check tuning of all the instruments.

    Definately playing the bass is more imortant than dancing or jumping or whatever, but at least be sure to be aware of your facial expression; don't catch yourself looking slack-jawed or deer-in-the-headlights or otherwise dorky; and don't look stressed or concerned; or look discusted or pissed if you screw up or something. I myself have this habit of rocking back and forth from foot-to-foot NOT in-time with the music; just randomly - that's not good at all! See? -there's plenty of stuff to think about NOT doing.

    See if you can get someone to video part of your show. Studying that will be very valuable to all of you (that's how I discovered my 'random-rocking' problem!).

    This "can only really play well sitting down" thing has gotta be taken care of! From now until the show, just play standing up! Our band always rehearses standing up.. uh, except the drummer - You should too, I think.

    I understand that body movement is more important in metal music than some kinds, but don't think that for a bassist there's anything wrong with just a good spread-foot stance and a good, 'determined-look' bass-face. Add even just a bit of headbanging motion, and you'll be set. ..And don't forget to at least glance out into the audience regularly - remember that if you have plenty of good front-lighting in your face, you won't be able to see anyone, but you have to scan your eyes around a little anyway (This can help a lot with any stage-fright fears, too - with pro lighting, you can't tell if there are ten people or a thousand!).

    This issue of long hair and headbanging is interesting. Fatbassjazzer is right: if you have a good head of metal hair on you - get a backlight on it! If you wanna look like a pro - and you have the hair - get as many watts of backlight on it as you can - maybe even aiming up from the floor behind you, but probably best would be from a little above and behind you (with one to the left and one right?) - and move that hair a little! The backlights will make even small movements look very animated. If you don't have a lot of wattage, then don't use a dark gel, or even leave it gel-less white - try'n make it look like your head's on fire!.

    It's easy to spend way too much awkward time between tunes (15sec is a long time!) - try to get right from one tune to the next. ..and noodling between songs is a definate no-no.

    If you're really nervous when you first go on stage (Like Fatbass says - it won't last very long into the set), remember to breath - if you make yourself take a deep breath (full inhale AND exhale) a few times during the first song, the nervousness should go away quick.

    Good luck!

  14. Hey Oscar, there is lots of good advice above :) . Some other things to expect:

    1) Important: practice standing up (!), with your bass strapped at a comfortable height. Then try your strap a bit lower, then a bit higher. You may find that your original height isn't as comfortable as you thought.

    2) The acoustics of every stage are different from one another, and different from your practice environment. Don't be afraid to communicate with bandmembers and (if applicable) sound men, to be able to hear yourself and other instruments. Often, rather than turning something up or down, re-positioning amplifiers / monitors is a better way of adjusting stage mix than just cranking volume knobs.

    3) Don't have a death grip on your bass. Your hands will cramp halfway through the first song. While playing, try to feel the song rather than your bass. This may help you to groove and feel more confident in how your bass part fits the song.

    4) Remember, the first few shows will not go as you expect; musically, technically, acoustically, or how you feel about the performance. Just enjoy the journey, the only way to dial in your performance is to do it a few times and learn from the experience.

    Do you have a show pending?
  15. Before the show, (you have practiced until you are confident, right? :cool: ) remember:

    -You are the best man for the job.

    -The people in the audience wish that they could do what you are doing.

    So get up there and don't be afraid to have fun.... and show it.
  16. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    I think the advice about being prepared for anything is the best advice i've heard so far. Remember, how things sound in your rehearsal room will be way different than what you hear on stage. I have encountered stages where I was right in front of my amp and couldn't tell what note I was playing. It was like being in some kind of strange acoustical nightmare.
    Worry about sounding good. If your tone is all f'd up and you have trouble playing you won't want to move around.
    Most of all try to have fun.
  17. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    You notice all this advice about 'having fun'? It's not just to comfort you or make you feel good, or to downplay the seriousness and work you put into your craft. A profound thing about live music is this connection that can be achieved between the performers and the audience. That's why I advised in an earlier post to be sure you don't look pissed or dissapointed if you hit a wrong note, and not to look scared or concerned while you're concentrating on playing; there are people watching you - connecting with you, grooving with you. If they're in the middle of this connection as they're watching you, they can definately be more 'shocked' out of the groove with a sudden look of "oh, dang-it!" than they were by the clinker-note that caused you to look that way.

    They're looking to you; you're leading them. They came to 'put themselves under the influence' of your performance. The band and audience are both opening themselves up to each other - see what I mean?

    This idea is one of the wonderful things about live music (and why anyone who says a disk-jocky can replace even a decent live band is just spun...). You're feeding off each other; grooving together. This connection that occurs between the band and audience is in a way unexplainable - it's metaphysical, it's intimate.

    Go for it, Man -

  18. rfalter


    Jul 20, 2004
    Pasadena, MD
    Man can I relate to this... Our band had it's first gig 1/1. The stage sound was too loud, so I could only hear what made it back from the house, mostly the low stuff. In addition to that, I was so nervous ( my 1st gig ever ) my hands were all tense. I couldn't play as well as I thought I should have. And to top that, some chick kept flashing us during the last set. Talk about "be ready for the unexpected" !

    The first one is the tough one, Oscar. I am definately going to loosen up next time. Have fun !
  19. 0scar


    Jul 11, 2003
    Hey everyone :)

    thanks a lot for everyones feedback...I read and took in every single post. I would respond back but I'm in school right now and I have to get off soon, haha...But again, thanks a lot for the advice. Anyone feel free to give more if you'd like, I must go now.

    Oh yeah, I still haven't played a show and I didn't have a show pending this whole time, I was just curious because I was very concerned about it and it just kinda hit me one day, a reality check I guess. Also, I didn't mean to come off too superficial here...the way I posted here made it seem like I was concerened more about the image than the music, I'm not I promise, it's just that I realized that I needed to work on this.
  20. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA

    I don't think you came off like that at all. Stage presence is a legitimate issue and if you are in a band the way you perform will matter in certain types of bands.
    I don't think you could play in a band like Slipknot and just stand there looking at your shoes or reading charts. On the other hand if you are doing weekends playing wedding receptions then your SlipKnot antics will not be acceptable.
    I don't think the mask would go over either. :D