For a new band, venturing out on tour is one of the most exciting things in the world. Bands that haven’t had the chance to suffer the inevitable setbacks and disappointments that come with experience often feel like there’s a universe of opportunity and hope to be uncovered on the road, and they’re not wrong. Touring can be grueling, thankless, band-exploding work, but it’s also the sort of thing that can transform an inexperienced band into a confident and connected musical force to be reckoned with. It’s all up to luck and talent. Here’s three benefits new bands will get on tour:
1. New friendships/musical connections
From the acts new bands share the stage with to the audiences they perform for, interesting new friendships and musical connections almost always happen on tour, especially for inexperienced bands open to new experiences. These friendships and connections often end up being the most important benefit for new bands on tour. While profit margins and crowd sizes are typically razor thin or non-existent for an unestablished band’s first few tours, friendships, industry connections, and relationships made with venues can bring years of positive impacts. An established band you open for could ask you to join them on their next tour or the bartender might be interested in signing you to his small boutique cassette tape label. Or, you might just end up creating solid relationships with friends you’ll keep in touch with for years. Either way, the connections newer bands make on tour end up being a big positive.
2. The forging of musical identities and goals
Touring is an ideal time for unestablished bands to figure out who they are and what sort of music they want to make. There’s nothing like playing the same set of songs over and over again to make a band decide what songs they love and which ones they’re happy to never play again. This is important because when new bands play local shows every other month, it’s easy to accredit weaker parts of their sets to things like a venue’s bad sound or a poor performance. Touring gives clarity to musicians in this area while helping them take stock of their strengths and weaknesses at the same time. Other important aspects of live performance also get ironed out on tour, like stage presence and personality.
3. Valuable performance experience
We’ve saved the most obvious benefit for last. They say that one live show is worth ten rehearsal sessions, so imagine what a tour can do for an inexperienced band. It’s an opportunity crucial in building up a young band’s playing experience and confidence. A few weeks of touring can give new acts a tighter and more compelling sound in ways that playing local every other month for years can’t match. This mainly comes down to focus. On tour, there’s a unified purpose and goal between members. This energy and unity usually doesn’t happen for unestablished bands playing sparse shows in their local scenes.
Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.