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> How To Prepare For The Gig, advices and tips
Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 13 2012, 11:35 PM
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It's great to plan a gig, and enjoy a good night with your bandmates on the stage smile.gif It's always nice to look forward to it, so I'll go through some of the things that I do when I prepare for it, and make it a successful evening:

Gig scheduling:
- Usually gig scheduling starts month or two before actual gig. For big festivals, this time can be even bigger, maybe two, three months in advance. Always be on a lookout during January and February, because then it's time for spring festivals.
- Keep a close eye on the calendar: important holidays, weekends, and if your date matches some other big concert in your town. This can be a big problem - since less people will come to your place.

Check the club:
- If you haven't played in that club before, it's very important to come and see how it looks like, what's the atmosphere, where is the tone tech, who will be in charge during your gig, what's the stage like, do you have enough room, and for what. Check the outlets, and see how many extra longer cables you need etc.. Agree with the tone tech to record the gig if possible. Recording will help you improve your next gig, and it's something that stays as a memory.

Inviting People:
- There are numerous ways to let people know of your gig: facebook, tweeter, google+, myspace (don't skip any social network, there is always somebody watching) various music forums, local posters, flyers in local clubs (including the one where you play).
- If it's possible, always use photographs, audio and video in network invitations: it means a lot for the people that will first hear your band to have some idea of where they are coming. If you have a live recording - even better. Let people know about how you sound on stage.
- A bit outdated method, but make sure you send mails and SMS to all the people in your phonebook and mailbook

Creating the program for the gig
- Be prepared! All people in the band should be well rehearsed, and have their set lists on spot. It's cheap to do them, and they are excellent guideline.
- Tape the list to the floor, or behind the monitors. Also, make sure you actually spend some time remembering the set list, at least some parts of it. And keep the list in front of you. This way, you won't turn your back to the audience, which can look a bit amateurish. Make the list with big contrasting letters (white paper and black market is usually good choice), so you can see the letters clearly.
- Leave some space within songs for the audience to sing it - this is great to raise the atmosphere and contact with them!

Use band support:
- If you think you can tackle the entire gig yourself, that is great, but sometimes it's great to invite one more band as support. You can make various deals with them, split sales, or be in charge. But, that band will bring more people, and more people means better gig. Have the other band included in the marketing as well if possible.
- Choose band wisely: Beginner band can bring more friends to first gig, but they won't play that great, band of your level will bring audience depending if they played recently, and bigger band can attract more people, but you risk of providing them the spotlight.

Creating media and merchandise for the gig
- When people come to the gig, they like to walk away from it with something physical in their hands as a memory. CD is a bit outdated, but a nice CD can be kept as a memory too, and it also serves for listening music. DVD is also great option, and you can make a bunch of them, and give them for free with the tickets for promotion. This is small investment that will pay out, but lots of people will have something to remember you buy, and video & audio material on it.
- If you can do it : definitely do T-Shirts. These are really nice and mean a lot to younger crowds (and those who feel young cool.gif ). T-Shirt can be used as fan clothes and as poster on the wall, so it's great for promoting your band.
- Be creative: flyers, posters, free tickets to next gig, rehearsal, lottery, bracelets, picks whatever you can produce that will have the logo of your band is super cool. In fact, the more original - the better for fans.

Bring the gear and tools
- Besides your usual music gear, it's important to have additional stuff. Usually there is a situation where there's a problem with something as simple as microphone clip. Always bring one pliers, one duck tape, one screwdriver, one flashlight, and couple of extra longer power cables. Having spare strings and audio cables should be carried if you have them, since they can easily help you keep playing if something wrong happens.

Organize recording/photo of your gig
Inviting a good friend to do professional pictures of the gig, or good quality video shoots can prove priceless for the band. These are the things that stay, and they should be done as much as possible. They can help you improve later on, you can watch it and enjoy your own gig (or discuss how you made a mistake there and there smile.gif ), and you can send them as material for festival appliances or post them online.

Make sure you handle ticket sales!
- some clubs will have their own ticket guy, but it's always good to have your own, because of the confidence. Somehow, relatives or good friends that don't really listen to that music always fall into that place at the door smile.gif Make sure you have some drinks and payouts available for the ticket guy, cause he'll be there for quite some time.

On the spot, try not the be nervous
- When the time for the gig comes, don't be nervous, and have some water/juice. If you drink, don't drink! One small drink before the gig is OK, to calm you down, but anything more then that can really make your performance sloppy. Worst part of it, you won't notice that your playing sucks while your're half drunk - in fact, it will sound great to you. The audience however, will not get the gig they deserved.
- Try not to eat lots of heavy food before the gig. Eat light, and some sugar if you want. Heavy food can make you sleepy, and heavy to move on stage, plus you can get tired more quickly.

Consider the image of the band
- Try to wear special clothes for the gig, and agree about it. Bands look LOT more professional when they come out with build image. Having singer wearing bright clothes and musicians wearing dark is a very simple example, but it can look great and effective.

Do a banner
- Having a banner behind you while you play makes you look LOT more professional. If you create good banner, audience will know that you own the place.

This post has been edited by Ivan Milenkovic: Jan 13 2012, 11:42 PM


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Dinaga
post Jan 14 2012, 12:04 AM
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Ivan, I can't thank you enough for sharing all this!
This is great stuff, and will definitely be more than helpful!
It's great to see everything from the perspective of an experienced, professional musician. You just put it so well.
So thanks a lot, this is GOLDEN biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by Dinaga: Jan 14 2012, 12:05 AM


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 14 2012, 12:21 AM
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My pleasure to share this here mate. I learned these things well (after making a mistake at almost every of these points in the past cool.gif )


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Todd Simpson
post Jan 14 2012, 04:31 AM
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This is some really great advice and some hard won wisdom. This breakdown of tips here represents years of gigging and playing live. This would make a great addition to the WIKI.

QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Jan 13 2012, 05:35 PM) *
It's great to plan a gig, and enjoy a good night with your bandmates on the stage smile.gif It's always nice to look forward to it, so I'll go through some of the things that I do when I prepare for it, and make it a successful evening:

Gig scheduling:
- Usually gig scheduling starts month or two before actual gig. For big festivals, this time can be even bigger, maybe two, three months in advance. Always be on a lookout during January and February, because then it's time for spring festivals.
- Keep a close eye on the calendar: important holidays, weekends, and if your date matches some other big concert in your town. This can be a big problem - since less people will come to your place.

Check the club:
- If you haven't played in that club before, it's very important to come and see how it looks like, what's the atmosphere, where is the tone tech, who will be in charge during your gig, what's the stage like, do you have enough room, and for what. Check the outlets, and see how many extra longer cables you need etc.. Agree with the tone tech to record the gig if possible. Recording will help you improve your next gig, and it's something that stays as a memory.

Inviting People:
- There are numerous ways to let people know of your gig: facebook, tweeter, google+, myspace (don't skip any social network, there is always somebody watching) various music forums, local posters, flyers in local clubs (including the one where you play).
- If it's possible, always use photographs, audio and video in network invitations: it means a lot for the people that will first hear your band to have some idea of where they are coming. If you have a live recording - even better. Let people know about how you sound on stage.
- A bit outdated method, but make sure you send mails and SMS to all the people in your phonebook and mailbook

Creating the program for the gig
- Be prepared! All people in the band should be well rehearsed, and have their set lists on spot. It's cheap to do them, and they are excellent guideline.
- Tape the list to the floor, or behind the monitors. Also, make sure you actually spend some time remembering the set list, at least some parts of it. And keep the list in front of you. This way, you won't turn your back to the audience, which can look a bit amateurish. Make the list with big contrasting letters (white paper and black market is usually good choice), so you can see the letters clearly.
- Leave some space within songs for the audience to sing it - this is great to raise the atmosphere and contact with them!

Use band support:
- If you think you can tackle the entire gig yourself, that is great, but sometimes it's great to invite one more band as support. You can make various deals with them, split sales, or be in charge. But, that band will bring more people, and more people means better gig. Have the other band included in the marketing as well if possible.
- Choose band wisely: Beginner band can bring more friends to first gig, but they won't play that great, band of your level will bring audience depending if they played recently, and bigger band can attract more people, but you risk of providing them the spotlight.

Creating media and merchandise for the gig
- When people come to the gig, they like to walk away from it with something physical in their hands as a memory. CD is a bit outdated, but a nice CD can be kept as a memory too, and it also serves for listening music. DVD is also great option, and you can make a bunch of them, and give them for free with the tickets for promotion. This is small investment that will pay out, but lots of people will have something to remember you buy, and video & audio material on it.
- If you can do it : definitely do T-Shirts. These are really nice and mean a lot to younger crowds (and those who feel young cool.gif ). T-Shirt can be used as fan clothes and as poster on the wall, so it's great for promoting your band.
- Be creative: flyers, posters, free tickets to next gig, rehearsal, lottery, bracelets, picks whatever you can produce that will have the logo of your band is super cool. In fact, the more original - the better for fans.

Bring the gear and tools
- Besides your usual music gear, it's important to have additional stuff. Usually there is a situation where there's a problem with something as simple as microphone clip. Always bring one pliers, one duck tape, one screwdriver, one flashlight, and couple of extra longer power cables. Having spare strings and audio cables should be carried if you have them, since they can easily help you keep playing if something wrong happens.

Organize recording/photo of your gig
Inviting a good friend to do professional pictures of the gig, or good quality video shoots can prove priceless for the band. These are the things that stay, and they should be done as much as possible. They can help you improve later on, you can watch it and enjoy your own gig (or discuss how you made a mistake there and there smile.gif ), and you can send them as material for festival appliances or post them online.

Make sure you handle ticket sales!
- some clubs will have their own ticket guy, but it's always good to have your own, because of the confidence. Somehow, relatives or good friends that don't really listen to that music always fall into that place at the door smile.gif Make sure you have some drinks and payouts available for the ticket guy, cause he'll be there for quite some time.

On the spot, try not the be nervous
- When the time for the gig comes, don't be nervous, and have some water/juice. If you drink, don't drink! One small drink before the gig is OK, to calm you down, but anything more then that can really make your performance sloppy. Worst part of it, you won't notice that your playing sucks while your're half drunk - in fact, it will sound great to you. The audience however, will not get the gig they deserved.
- Try not to eat lots of heavy food before the gig. Eat light, and some sugar if you want. Heavy food can make you sleepy, and heavy to move on stage, plus you can get tired more quickly.

Consider the image of the band
- Try to wear special clothes for the gig, and agree about it. Bands look LOT more professional when they come out with build image. Having singer wearing bright clothes and musicians wearing dark is a very simple example, but it can look great and effective.

Do a banner
- Having a banner behind you while you play makes you look LOT more professional. If you create good banner, audience will know that you own the place.



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Cosmin Lupu
post Jan 14 2012, 12:21 PM
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Good plan there Ivan! biggrin.gif It's a good reminder and it sums up pretty much everything there is to know!



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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 14 2012, 05:40 PM
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Thanks guys, I hope this will be a nice addition to the wiki smile.gif


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Daniel Realpe
post Jan 14 2012, 05:50 PM
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I agree, this is golden, and spot on!

You pretty much covered the fundamentals of gigging here,

I would add a subtle tip from Eckhart Tolle: "Be present to the moment, stop thinking" when you are playing. This can be hard to do, but you need practice....that's what the most famous musicians are really good at when performing,


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 14 2012, 06:21 PM
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QUOTE (Daniel Realpe @ Jan 14 2012, 05:50 PM) *
I agree, this is golden, and spot on!

You pretty much covered the fundamentals of gigging here,

I would add a subtle tip from Eckhart Tolle: "Be present to the moment, stop thinking" when you are playing. This can be hard to do, but you need practice....that's what the most famous musicians are really good at when performing,


Yes, I agree 100% mate. The audience can feel that, it's very important to have self-confidence when playing. Great tip smile.gif


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- (Please subscribe to my) YouTube Official Channel
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Dinaga
post Jan 14 2012, 06:28 PM
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I just have to comment again, these kind of topics just remind me over and over how unselfish and open-hearted GMC is. This is indeed the best music community out there.

This kind of wisdom based on a great experience should be paid for, and Ivan just put it right there, right on the spot, to help us. And there are so many other helpful topics posted by members who have different experiences, ideas... It's incredible how much a willing guitarist, or any musician, can learn around here, no matter what his skill level is. That is just... incredible. GMC is a wonder!:)

QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Jan 13 2012, 11:35 PM) *
One small drink before the gig is OK, to calm you down, but anything more then that can really make your performance sloppy. Worst part of it, you won't notice that your playing sucks while your're half drunk - in fact, it will sound great to you.


And this is so true. biggrin.gif As a lead guitarist, I was the only member of my band who didn't drink before the gig, because I didn't want to screw my lead parts. biggrin.gif

I once tried to play some crazy stuff while drunk with my friends at my place and I thought it was awesome, while the sober people knew it was less than awful! biggrin.gif

Beer after gig - great! Beer before gig - no way (maybe only one) smile.gif


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