Whilst gigging as a solo artist might feel quite lonely at times, it’s worth remembering it’s a lot easier to organise and a lot more hassle free than being in a band (let us all spare a thought for The Polyphonic Spree). It can be very easy to fall into bad habits when there is no group to lookout for each other. Here are a few good things to do when gigging as a solo artist.
1. Get a good musician to accompany you and stick with them
As you progress and you feel you are ready to play with other people you might want to start looking for musicians to gig with. This can be a wonderful way to colour your songs and fill in the space. Make sure you choose someone who fits musically and also who you get along with. Once you have found the right person, stick with them, be loyal and foster a strong working relationship, your music will benefit greatly.
2. Make sure you look at the other performers on the bill and don’t be shy to ask for your preferred placement in the line up
More and more promoters are booking eclectic bills and abandoning the previous ethos of putting on nights that strictly adhere to genres. It might be a good idea to look at the line-up and research the other acts on the bill. There is nothing wrong with asking a promoter if you could change you position on the bill (as long as you give enough notice), Laura Marling wouldn’t want to go on after Slayer.
3. Let people know how to follow your career
Even if you are trying to develop a dark twisted Tom Waits-esque persona and you just want to look weird and be brooding and quiet in between your songs it would be still be in your best interest to mention things like your website, twitter, facebook and Spotify. Do it in a bizarre and interesting way if needs be. There is no use being awesome if people have no way of finding out when and where you are going to be awesome next.
4. Don’t be late for soundcheck (and yes it’s important you turn up)
Even if it’s just you and an acoustic guitar do not underestimate the importance of sound checking. Every room has different sound qualities, every sound man is different. Too many artists today rush their sound check or even worse don’t turn up. It’s important to the quality of the gig and to promoters knowing you take yourself and your music seriously.
5. Watch the music and hang out
If you arrive five minutes before gig and leave five minutes afterwards it will be almost as if you were never there. Even if you played a set of fantastic songs you will still not last as long in the memory as if you had been there to support and talk to the other bands, the promoter and fans who watched you play. Being there the whole night is a good way to increase your standing in peoples consciousness, which is only a good thing. A very good thing.