The bar is set pretty high, when it comes to giving your audience a concert to remember. Regular concertgoers surely may have already seen gigantic spectacular shows, both in sound and light as well as in quality music. And while there’s artists that may even arrive on stage by helicopter… the basis, however, remains the same: the crowd pays for the show and they wish to have an unforgettable experience. And it is up to you to grant this with full conviction! So here are some tips to get you ready for your next gig!
- Build suspense
The first and final songs are the most important and it’s often what your audience remembers the most. This means setting the scene right off the bat and getting them hooked. A little smoke on stage, spotlights, faders and off you go!
- Dynamic, but patient
Going full blast every step of the way, can lead to over-stimulation and the audience won’t even be able to process it all. They’ll miss any highlights and you’ll find yourself drained with nothing left to offer. Be dynamic with your set, breaks bring variety and play off tension and build suspense. Give your band and your audience time to catch their breath, a concert is not a sprint.
- All good friends
A concert is a shared experience by both the performers and the audience, who have come especially to see you. In a way they are part of you, treat them as friends. Whether its 10 or 10,000 – they are the ones that you want to reach and bring along on your journey. Just as you would address your friends, look them too in the eyes. Make them feel welcome and invite them to participate. Humour them as you would your friends with a “spontaneous” story in between songs, which you already prepared. And there you have it, the ideal transition to the next song.
- Fired up
The magic word is “interaction”. Always include songs in which the audience can sing and shout along, get a moshpit going, a clap-along or whatever. ? You can’t always judge the crowd by their applause, pay attention to the spark in their eyes, their faces, their movements and reactions. And keep in mind that it’s not about you, it’s about the crowd. Get them to loosen up them and feel the moment!
- Let there be light!
Above all else, guests usually want to leave the gig with a good feeling. Besides good music, good lighting and effects is also crucial. Imagine a captivating movie, where the images and scenes are accompanied by the appropriate music thereby addressing all senses. Same principle with your live events: the music is accompanied with lighting and effects so that you subconsciously grab your audience by their emotional horns. This can even be done quite inexpensively using the available current LED technology which are perfect for small to medium-sized events.
Unless deliberately accentuated, music shouldn’t be stagnant and you surely shouldn’t be standing around like a bunch of motionless cardboard cutouts nor like nervously fidgeting penguins either. By adopting a wireless system the singer for example, can cover all areas of the stage, thus reaching more of the audience. This allows for more freedom in movement as well as maneuvering away from the center focus of the stage, to catch your breath and recharge yourself after excessive headbanging or choreographed steps.
- Improve your sound
You’ve mastered your instrument and all is good… in the rehearsal room. On stage, however, it’s a whole nother story. The sound has to be perfect, transparent although your environment is often completely unknown to you. We all know the drummer is always the loudest, followed by the string acrobats and by the third song the singer’s voice is already sounding like a hoarse crow. Reduce all sources of noise as much as possible and upgrade to In-Ear Monitor systems for example. As for the drummer, they can always be enclosed behind 4 Plexiglas panels 😉
- Sound at your fingertips
Unless you have the luxury of working with a sound engineer, it’s often you, the band who’s in charge of mixing. You should already know the basics of sound and how to use a mixer. Use the equalizer wisely to get a well-balanced sound, and help each instrument find its place in the sound spectrum. You can also use it to limit feedback or to correct room defects. Your audience will not forgive you if you spoil their eardrums!
- The fine line between volume and audibility
Physics and acoustics can be annoying sometimes, not just in school. But you have to be heard properly regardless of the position of the listener. You may encounter in larger venues that frequencies spread differently. Therefore it is sometimes necessary to install extra speakers a few meters from the stage and managed with a delay line controller. This way you can be heard reasonably loud everywhere, without the volume impairing the sound.
- Preparation is key
Making an impression starts long before the performance, as well as after, and it’s a question of attitude. It starts with good sleep, being fit and appearing at the gig on time. Everything should have been thought out, from your outfit to the sound, including equipment replacements such as spare strings, replacement microphones, etc. It’s not recommended to warm up in a place full of people, so use your time backstage, during soundchecks. And when it’s time to perform.. rock out in the truest sense of the word and make it the most important gig of your entire career. When you truly care for your audience and it shows, your band will go far. Break a leg!