5 things to have thought about before your first gig

Your first gig is booked. This is it, this is the night you will always look back on as where it all began.

So you really want to make sure you get it all right. For example by thinking about:

1. Your image
We understand that for a new musician the idea of image may seem grotesque, but everybody thinks about their image. Obviously for someone like Lady Gaga image is massive but even an artist such as Bon Iver has a distinct look that suits his music. Everybody wears clothes unless they are in private or being arrested, so make sure that what you wear represents you and your music well. Don’t be precious, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix both did the same.

2. The set list
Make a statement at the start of your set. Perhaps one of your faster, heavier or louder songs, or maybe an a cappella if you have a strong voice. Just make sure the first thing you play grabs people, shuts them up and lets them know you are there. If you have two songs that are in 3/3 or maybe more than one song in the same key try not to play them back to back. Make your set seem as varied as possible. Also end with your best, but you probably already know that.

3. Stage banter
Decide on how you would like to behave in between songs. You have time to change your mind but do be aware, if you have awful stage banter it will make people want to crawl into their shoes with embarrassment and will compromise their enjoyment of your set. Do what feels comfortable but make sure you know what that is before you take to the stage.

4. Your second gig
You have just played your first ever gig in front of real life human people. Oh my lord, they love you. ‘When are you next playing?’ they all ask. Have an answer. A contingency plan for things going well is the most important plan of all.

5. Your internet presence
At the very least have a Facebook page for your music. It is so important that you give people the opportunity to go from people that enjoyed your gig, to fans. If you start from the word go you maximise your fan-base. When people compliment you, respond. Interaction and regular updating will keep you in people’s consciousness. Make sure you’re on top of this and bear in mind you are competing with the rest of the internet.

When you are gigging more regularly it might be worth thinking about Merchandise. Check out Merch – Decoded.


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