And now the hard work begins. For a function band, professionalism comes first. Make sure your dealings with the venue’s staff are polite, especially when confronting them about issues such as the dreaded venue sound limiter, curfews, or problems with the performance area. Venue owners often know other venue owners in the area, and bands with a bad attitude end up being blacklisted.
Here are some rules-of-thumb from celebrated author and experienced player Paul Day:
- Play to please the client/promoter first, audience second and yourselves an often distant third
- Entertainment is more important than expertise
- Always act confidently, audiences can smell fear
- Play within your abilities on stage, stretch yourself at rehearsals
- Master the art of the short soundcheck – keep it as brief as possible
- Intros and endings must be tight, they're what get remembered
- Talk to your audiences, don’t ignore them
- Play to the back of the room, not just to the front row
- Work out an act/routine and stick to it, regardless of audience size or attitude
- Aim to be consistent every night, on stage and off
…And more from Guitar Techniques Senior Music Editor and seasoned performer, Jason Sidwell:
- Making up your own solo for a song such as Hotel California or All Right Now is never better than the original solo
- Frontline musicians: be careful how much shoegazing you do due to performing concentration or nerves. The more eye contact with an audience, the better the gig will be
- No one in the band should be heard playing before they start a set. Jamming along to the DJ’s song is not pro. Specifically, anything other than a quick one-to-two second snippet of guitar just before your first song to make sure your guitar and amp is working is annoying. Keep the volume to zero until the first song kicks in!