Five Steps For Super Success!

Five Steps For Super Success!

So – you and your mates have been hanging out and have put together some excellent songs that you know other people simply need to hear. You know a couple other bands too, other people you want to play with. Round them up, let them know you’re planning a show and follow through.

Basically, you’ll be organising a party for you, your friends and a whole lotta strangers; you’re organising a party geared towards showing off your talent, intelligence and superb songwriting skills.

For the purposes of this article we’ll be using the example of LOUD guitar bands in bars played to an audience who’ve sought out and thrive on beer-soaked nights among like-minded heads.

Alternatively, you could set up your experimental synth trio in a local church, a folk jam session at a school hall or your mate’s jazz-metal fusion band at his step-sister’s wedding reception. All these are valid – nay, vital – parts of your local live scene. But to keep things simple we’ll go with the basic Band-At- A-Bar set up.

Step 1 – Practice Like Hell.

Anyone who digs live music and has seen a band go off half-cocked will tell you it’s a miserable experience. Get to know your set, and your part in the songs, inside and out; work like a dog until you’ve got something your happy with - that really works - and will blow the roof off the venue.

Step 2 – Know Your Onion.

Get to know the people who run the bar and the guys who’ll be helping to run your show. It’s all too easy to just call up a venue, get a date booked and hope for the best. Bombard these dudes with questions; negotiate payment and what they plan to do to promote the gig. Talk to as many people as you can. Go to other shows at the same venue. Make sure it’s got the right vibe, is the better room for your sound. Ultimately, these guys are there to run a bar and may or may not be interested in your particular band. But if they see how serious you are about just one show, they’ll remember, and most likely, want to have you back.

Step 3 – The 3 P’s: Promotion, Promotion, Promotion.

Yeah, I know this is an ugly term, that it flies in the face of artistic expression, musical prowess and your pure raw talent, blah blah blah. But if you believe enough in the music you’re making you’re going to want to get as many people as possible along to the show. Facebook is great, but the 30 invitees who’ve clicked they’re “Going” won’t be an indicator of who’ll be there on the night. Send out a press release; have your marketing student mate throw some ideas at you; drop tickets into local record and skate shops; make up posters, put some on your dog and walk her around heavily populated areas; talk to anyone and everyone about your band, the other bands, the venue itself. Whip yourself, and everyone else, into a frenzy but simply getting the word out.

Step 4 – The Big Set Up.

The day has arrived. By now you would have negotiated all gear issues – whose drum-kit you’ll be using, all your leads and pedals, and got word from the venue about load in and soundcheck times. Here’s another chance to prove how serious you are about the show – get to know the guy doing sound, have a bit of back and forth, so that you’re all on the same page. Set up, run through a song or two, and get everything sounding just right. Now, let the nerves begin. . .

Step 5 – Play the F-cking Show.

This is it. You’re up. This is freaking IT – the part of the night where you channel all that nervous energy, all those taut riffs, all those fierce musical desires into one final explosion of raucous noise. This is the moment. Soak it up.

And then you’re done.

If you survive the come-down and the hordes of adoring fans, you may consider repeating the above steps for your next show. Or you might write your own rules. It’s entirely up to you.


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