It will have happened to us all at some point. A silly oversight has cost you dearly and you and the band are being chased to the parish boundary by angry locals with pitchforks. In retrospect it’s something to be avoided, so with that in mind…
1. Be polite and friendly to all the stage and technical crew, they will play a huge part in how you look and sound, so upsetting them is to be keenly avoided. You are not the Rolling Stones yet and if you are the Stones and reading this – Keith, when is my mum coming home?
2. Make sure that all your equipment is in good working order and serviced regularly. Don’t skimp on leads, buy quality. Your signal chain is only as good as it’s weakest link.
3. Write out your set list with a fat black marker pen and be bold. This is not the time for pencil, biro or red pen as stage lighting can make it difficult to see.
4. Make sure that your strap is securely attached to your instrument and could withstand deployment to a war zone. Likewise, make sure your keyboard / cymbal / guitar stands are secure and nothing is going to topple over when the singer is possessed with The Spirit of Jazz.
5. Eat healthily (complex carbohydrates) and hydrate…lots. You don’t want to feel sluggish because you’ve had four bags of chips ten minutes before you go on stage. Lights are hot and in no time you will be sweating like a demon’s ball bag, so plenty of water.
6. Carry spares, for example, spare instruments, strings, leads, tuner, batteries, adjustment keys, drum keys, cymbal felts, wing nuts, extra drum heads and sticks, plectrums, mains adaptors, some sort of torch and of course, duct tape.
7. Don’t put drinks atop amplification. Drinks and amps are sickly bedfellows and a spillage is likely to silence you with some haste. A costly repair bill will further excite your consternation. Consider taking an amp simulator as a back-up just in case of any amp related issues.
8. Get to the venue early, especially if there’s a multitude of bands on as getting organised can take time.
9. If you are using a PA, keep the volume of your backline at a comfortable level and don’t fiddle with it during the gig. There’s no need to try and match the power output of the entire PA system with your guitar amp. Screeching backline is one sure way of compromising your band’s sound and performance.
10. Tune up your instruments as close to going onstage as possible, as heat and humidity can and will throw out the tuning of stringed instruments. There’s nothing worse than hitting that first triumphant power chord only to hear it ring like a cat chewing a banjo.
Red Dog Music is the UK’s friendliest musical instrument and pro-audio dealer. Between our 5000 square foot Edinburgh shop filled with an incredible range of products, and a London showroom in Clapham specialising in high-end instruments, dj and pro-audio, Red Dog Music has you covered from north to south and from performance to playback.
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