BEING PREPARED IS A BIG ONE
This can be in terms of knowing tunes, having the right equipment and actually being there on time, or even early.
LEARN THE TUNES
If it’s a gig with a setlist make sure you learn the tunes; know them as best as you can and if needed, write charts. These can be full transcriptions, chord charts or little cheat sheets to sit next to your set list. Sometimes when you know the tune or have heard it on the radio a few times all you need is a little kick start, like the first note or lick. In this day and age it’s easy to have these written or printed, or on an iPad or device. There’s really no excuse.
HAVE YOUR GEAR AND SOME EXTRA STUFF
Throw in a distortion pedal, extra mic stand, power board, gaffa tape and the like. Sometimes the little things really help, like adding the OD pedal into your rig for the second set if you can see that it’s needed, or having a spare mic stand if some extra BVs are needed. An extra power board for the keyboard player’s wedge can win you some points and show that you’re doing more than just going through the motions.
KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING
Look it up in advance if you haven’t been there before. The internet knows everything, so there’s no excuse these days. No need for flipping through pages of the Melways on your lap in the dark, just Google Maps and you’re there. Being on time makes everyone’s job easier, yes it can be stressful if you’re late, but don’t forget that it affects the rest of the band too and then of course this can impact on whether they even book you again for a gig.
BE READY TO PLAY
Being able to set up quickly is a bonus for everyone. Fold up trolleys are readily available and can handle lots of weight and slide into your boot or backseat. Gigs where you can’t park super close – no problem. And when you get to the gig, be flexible. It might not be an ideal stage setup, but make the most of it. Negative attitudes can really grate on some people and drag others down. And if it’s a set break, take note of the time and be back ready to play, don’t just disappear.
Make your life easier, and in turn everyone else’s too… and then good things happen and you can play music and not worry about all the little stuff. Often the seemingly relaxed guys are actually really prepared too.
Feature image via Frankie Cordoba.