What's something you gigging button pushers wish you would've known when you started playing out?

  • I have my biggest gig to date this Friday night (Opening for Jonwayne!) and am curious if anyone has some sage advice about performance or anything you feel is relevant.

  • i noticed that people like a bold opening song that starts out full-swing instead of some long, slow, building song. but that's just from my experience and i dont want to modify your set.

  • Good advice! I think the old comedy rule of thumb "start strong, end strong" works well. On the other hand I saw Daedelus say something on stage like "It's going to get crazy but first lets fall in love."

  • yeah, it also depends on the audience, too.

  • Smile.
    Engage with the Audience.
    Get them to bring you beer on stage.
    Make sure by your act that they understand roughly how you're connecting to your music.

  • "Get them to bring you beer onstage" lol

  • Where is your show Cropsie? Maybe I could make it up to Atl.

  • I'm not one for niceties at all. I get on, play, and get off. Not to say that I'm not engaged with what I'm doing (mentally and physically (visibly)), but long ago I stopped talking, or prefacing anything.

    I say be 100% yourself, and that will end up turning into something that's compelling (if it isn't already). I'd prefer to see that than to see someone 'working the crowd'.

  • @shimoda Its at 529 in East Atlanta Village http://www.529atl.com/eventdisplay.php?id=192

    Thanks raja and rodrigo. I am going to be %100 myself. I don't really get a chance to show people how music really makes me feel and I've noticed when I get in front of a crowd its like an out of body experience type thing goes on. Plus, I made all the songs I'm going to play pretty much exclusively in headphones so once I hop on stage and all the sound from the button presses envelopes me, I get a little wild.

  • performance is your chance to show people who you are...
    whether they have heard you before or not, its your personality on display...
    you can get up and say nothing...
    but more likely, people will remember better and have a better impression if you engage them..
    make em laugh a bit...
    show that you're onstage and its your show...
    i.e. your in charge..
    you gain their ears and respect yo

    it's also pretty huge to keep things simple...
    the more you're worried about your gear and setup...
    the less you'll be engaging..
    know your rig... and make it easy on yourself...
    right now my set is a little wonky..
    switching songs is weird...
    my past couple shows have been not as good, due to not expecting certain issues... and having to worry too much about my computer...
    anyway...
    kill em in the face!!!!!
    best of luck!

  • "Kill em in the face!!!" is all you'll ever need to know in life.

  • +1 on speaking to the audience occasionally if you feel comfortable doing so.

    I suspect that most of us in this community are very serious about the music we make and the effort and focus we put into performing it. For me, though, that focus can sometimes disengage me from the audience- and them from me. It wasn't until I got a little extra drunk before a set (first Renegade Lights in Chicago actually!) and started blabbing on the mic between songs that I discovered how much better it feels to connect with the other people in the room instead of just my machines. It's an opportunity to be playful, funny, dramatic- whatever you're feeling at the moment. The result is that you as the distant performer are humanized, and the audience is brought a little further into your world as a person. Once they relate on that level, snagging them with your tunes is a more natural process.

  • Thanks for the wise words guys. The gig is tomorrow night and I've been practicing a lot. All my newer songs require a lot of difficult button presses and quick scene changes in mlr but I'm ready for it. I got my iPad/Touchosc in the mix now for a few fx which has helped transitions between ideas. I'm not going to make a set list so there will be some added pressure there but its a hell of a rush when you jump onstage and realize everyone looking at you wants a show. Definitely gonna burn one and have a few beers before so I'm sure I'll be little chatty on the mic.


    Monome em in the face!!!!!

  • Introduce yourself - several times. If people see a set and enjoy it, but don't figure out what your artist name is they won't be able to follow you or look up more material.

  • from someone that opens a lot:

    don't get discouraged if there's not a lot of people or if it looks like the crowd isn't feeling you. they usually are, and if you're doin' some dancey stuff and no one's groovin' it's because they're too afraid! there's always going to be someone that's going to be locked in on you that will detect all of your nuances while you perform. they will be the most vocal about your performance, often the most praiseworthy. if you are too down on yourself it will definitely show, so always be confident and treat every show like it's the best one you've ever done.

  • ^^ Sensei, shit.

  • the right amount of alcohol my system can handle:
    1 beer while waiting for the show to begin, another during the show.
    More than that and it get's ugly.

  • If things go wrong and you start freaking out, think 'it's only music'.

  • That I play everything faster in front of a crowd.

  • @trppng,

    That amount is probably unique to every performer, and to the complexity of their setup, but it is absolutely worth learning and remembering.

    (completely different genre, but when I'm doing the storytelling/standup thing, I can't drink at all. everyone else does, so I thought it would help, but I pretty much stop feeling the audience, and it isn't good. I do coffee instead now. But that's a precarious balance there as well.)

  • @Cropsie, apologies that I can't make it tonight but if you know about any shows in the next couple of months in advance at all, shoot me an e-mail: monkeymoda (at) gmail (dot) com. I'd really like to make it up.

  • speaking of knowing your limits, back in the day, a guy I knew ;) used to take in maybe a bit too much green smoke. It's a good thing Rhodes keyboard posts are pretty sturdy!

  • "If you are too down on yourself it will definitely show, so always be confident and treat every show like it's the best one you've ever done."

    Ha! If I could apply this to my life in general I would be much better off. Sadly, confidence, of both the real and faux varieties, proves generally elusive.

    Good advice on or off the stage, though.

  • best tip is not to bother what anyone thinks about what you're doin with the monome as you'll always get some mong walking over and asking can you play some jay z as he cant comprehend that you are playing your own tunes with a controller and its not a dj set