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My first gig is coming up!! need some pointers

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Broach_insound, Mar 7, 2005.

  1. Broach_insound


    Jan 25, 2005
    New York
    Hey wats up every body this is my first gig cominng up in a couple of weeks. When I say first gig I mean First gig ever in my life not first gig w/ a new band. I was wondering if you guys had any poiinters you could give me? anything will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanx ELLIOTT
  2. The Nanny

    The Nanny

    Dec 23, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Ah...to be a stage 'virgin' again...no kidding, you'll be spending the rest of your life trying to recreate that feeling. The closest things I've found to it is skydiving.

    Quick tips:

    - keep it simple! between technical details, lights, hiccups, last minute changes etc, you'll be very distracted. For your first experience on stage, keep your bass lines free-and-clear of complex riffs. You're fingers WILL cramp just from being nervous, and if you attempt anything complex, it'll sound like mush.

    - pay attention to the technical (non-musical) details. You don't want to be distracted by equipment problems, so bring backup chords, extra strings, anything. And duct tape. No kidding.

    - be early. Nothing goes as planned, and you always have about 1/2 as much time as you thought.

    - routine the day before - change all batteries (if you have active pickups, effect pedals), test all chords, store chords neatly and LABEL them (I use coloured stickies...one sticky taped to the end of a chord, and the same coloured sticky taped on the hole where it goes...useful if you have a system with effect pedals, loops, wireless, etc). This will all make setup much easier, faster, and reduce the chances of anything going wrong technically.

    - smile at your bandmates on stage. You're having fun, but you also have to look like your having fun. The audience will be more forgiving then.


    The Nanny
  3. Zirc


    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Be extremely confident in what you're doing, the crowd will notice. Rock out extremely hard. Move a lot, do not stay in one place. It doesn't matter if you screw up, as long as you have the best time of your life on stage, the crowd will notice this.
  4. gilbert46


    Sep 21, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    Thats cool, I played mine 2 months ago, what i woulda done different is MOVE !

    at all, mabye just alittle, i stayed next to the drummer like a statue i was so scared. Ive been using a 20 foot cable so i can wonder alittle so i atleast move some. i would get in front of the guitarist, singer drummer whoever and make some funny rockstar/orgasm faces and otherwise try to enjoy it. it help me loosen up a bit.
  5. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    Try to talk your band mates into starting off with a couple of easy songs. I don't mean they have to sound easy but make them songs that you know so well you can play them in your sleep. This will give the band and yourself a chance to get your feet wet. You may also notice that it doesn't sound the same at the gig as it does in your practice space. Don't panic this is natural and can't be avoided. Make sure you guys are in tune, and then check again.
    It will be a little scary but after it's all over it might be days before you come down. :hyper: If you guys get a chance try to practice your set/sets so that you have smooth transitions. Try to move around at practice as you would want to on stage. If you are affraid to move on stage go to your backup "power stance". This way you can still look like your rocking but you can stay near your amp.

  6. Yes, yes, yes! Enjoy yourself, it's contagious.
  7. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    i had my first gig in over ten years about 2 weeks ago. i spent a day making a list of EVERYTHING to take, including duct tape, fingernail clippers, basses, etc. the one thing i forgot was screwdrivers, but we didnt need them thankfully. the night before the show i set up my pedal board to only include what i would be using. the less equipment, the less chance for an equipment failure. i set up the pedals just as i would use them and made sure that all the cables worked. i dont use batteries so i threw my adapters and powerstrip into the pedal case as well.

    the morning of the show i was pretty nervous/anxious, so i played through the setlist a few times after that i was calm. before the show i took the basses out of their cases to let them get to room temperature for about an hour, then as the first band was playing i tuned them one last time.

    all, i had left to do was walk up, plug in and play.

    you definitely want to look like you are having fun unless you play really sad songs or something. you should make the audience know that you are doing something you absolutely love.

    be sure to interact with the crowd when possible...they love that.
  8. Commreman

    Commreman Faith, Family, Fitness, and Frets Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    New Jersey
    Know your material. Make sure your equipment is in good shape - bring extra cables, strings, etc. Show up on time. Stay sober. Stay focused. Breathe. BRING YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR. Don't be hypercritical. But the mopst important thing is - - - - HAVE FUN. I played mny first gig about 28 years ago and still remember it like it was yesterday. It will be an incredible rush. Savor it.
  9. Rockgurl


    Dec 17, 2004
    CT, USA
    Firstly, enjoy yourself! It's supposed to be fun. Secondly, don't jump around too much or you'll forget what notes you're supposed to be playing. Thirdly, practise your bass standing up. It sounds silly, but if you only ever practise sitting down, when you come to play standing up it will feel different and will put you off. Get used to playing standing up and looking straight ahead (as if into the crowd) rather than at your fingers.

    Make a list of things you need (spare strings, strap, tuner, duck tape, set list, tools etc) and stick it on your amp so you won't forget. Get to the venue early! There's nothing worse than trying to load your stuff into an already packed venue.

    And lastly...take a spare bass if you have one. You never know when something may go wrong (I learned that the hard way). I always make a habit of keeping a spare cable on top of my amp in case the one I'm using starts playing me up. I can then swap them over seamlessly without any hassle.

    Good luck and have fun!
  10. kansas666


    Sep 20, 2004
    Very good point! I have been playing for 25 years and we still do that. It is always good to be able to slide into a gig with something easy. It gives your fingers time to warm up and lets you shake off the cobwebs.

    That said, we also like to start with a good song that is upbeat, especially if we are trying to keep a dinner crowd. A lot of people will come for dinner and then listen to the band for a song or 2 before deciding whether to stay or not.
  11. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Good, good advice here!

    ..Except! If you haven't already practiced moving around or dancing or jumping or whatever, then don't feel like you have to! While it's important that you don't get flustered when you make a mistake - just let it roll off your back, and DON'T loose the groove! (I dont' think a single song goes by with my band that I don't at least doink-out a note or two) - you certainly don't want to screw up because you're trying too hard to look cool. The 'power stance' is good - and be careful about your facial expressions; it's easy to accidentally look scared or pissed or something of the sort during your first few gigs. Either a look of resolve or a raised-eyebrows 'oh-yeah!'-look or something like that is fine - it is important that the look on your face and the way you carry yourself is at least somehow 'positive'.

    As others have said: Bring extra everything; don't forget to breath during the first few tunes (after that everything should be fine); don't pluck your bass too hard - you'll tend to do that when you're nervous.

    Don't forget to say the band's name. Thank everyone for being there, thank the club owner or organizers or whoever (think of everyone you can to thank). Introduce the members of the band!

    If it's a club, then find out anything you can announce from the stage - like Lady's night, drink specials, if they serve food, do they have a sports team or a darts or pool tournament or something you could talk-up -- stuff like that. If you have another show coming up, it's improper to advertize it at from the stage (you're suggesting that the patrons DON'T come THERE on that night), but it IS proper and smart to have some itineraries printed-up (even if it's for only ONE other gig!), and say something like "It's so great to see y'all here; we sure love playing for you; stop up at the stage here and pick up an itinerary of some of our future shows..." -- ah..something like that (sheesh - is that how I sound?).

    If you're running your own sound, see if you can get someone with 'an ear' to come along and check that everything sounds OK around the room.

    Good luck - it's a thrill, Man.

  12. FUNKonthewall

    FUNKonthewall Nailing The Groove

    Sep 29, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Endorsing: Fodera Guitars, Aguilar Amps, Dunlop/MXR Accessories
    Don't forget to breathe. Seriously. :smug:
  13. chekerbored


    Nov 18, 2004
    I play in my praise band at church. I find when the crowd is having fun, im having fun. If we can get them dancing or moving, its amazing, so i dance a little myself. I'm usually tied to a microphone but i still get moving.

    Smiling is good, if your having a good time, the crowd will too. If you mess up, laugh it off, the crowd will too. generally. I've flubbed the intros to some songs, and had to start over. Twice even. I remember my friend was playing his first solo, messed up, and stopped the entire band, we started at the break and did it again, he nailed it, and we had a good laugh, and luckily the crowd did too. I dont recomend trying it though.

    But yeah, have fun, thats mostly my job is to get everyone else to stop being zombies. It makese it an adventure.
  14. Have fun. Seriously... enjoy it. If your crowd sees you enjoying yourself, they will forgive almost anything. You are held to a much higher standard if you stand still and stare at your fretboard all night.
  15. Nuttboy311


    May 30, 2002
    This is all great info for me since my first gig will be March 24th infront of all of our friends at the Roxy in Hollywood. Everything I've heard so far sounds good. I guess in the end, just don't overthink it. Like in golf, if you start to overthink your swing you slice it or take a chunk out of the ground, the second you take a deep breath and relax before your shot, you drive it 300 yards. Now if only I remember that on stage :p!
  16. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    Dont forget to bring a tuner.........

    Dont get intimadated...trust me the average punter in the crowd is not listening to the bass player...

    Enjoy it....
  17. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Relax, and keep a cool tool.
  18. maverick


    Mar 8, 2005
    London England
    rockgurl summed it up with the stand up practice. it may sound daft but a for a few nights before a gig i used to practice standing in front of the mirror. it just made me feel more relaxed when the night came around... that and my stuffed dog that sat on my amp (who sadly died in a car fire.... another story!) but most of all.... enjoy the moment, you'll never forget it and good luck :bassist:
  19. If I may... When you're on stage, in between songs while someone is announcing or talking to people, keep your instrument quiet! The sound test is over! There's nothing more unprofessional than musicians doodling on their instruments in the background.

    And of course, for the 1000th time in this thread, HAVE FUN!
  20. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    bring extra stuff!!!!

    ie, back up bass
    extra strings

    have fun
    dont get too nervous(i puked my first show, i still get nervous when we play shows with upwards of 3,000 people)
    dont drink or do drugs before hand
    stretch before going on stage