Even under the best of circumstances, performing can be an anxiety-inducing experience for artists. Since artists are under so much stress at shows, they’re easy to offend. The musicians that artists perform with end up being massively important connections throughout their career, so staying on their good side is essential. Here are four show faux pas to watch out for while playing live:
Weirdness with other bands over gear
If you’re the kind of band that intentionally shows up to a venue without the right gear in the hopes that another performing band will let you borrow theirs, then I heartily urge you to reconsider your life choices. Shows are already stressful, and springing the gear question on other musicians at the very last minute just makes things worse. This is especially frustrating because this is such an easy fix, which is to get in touch with the other performing bands before the show and asking then.
Openers playing too elaborate or long of a set
Being asked to open a bill as a supportive artist can be a major benefit to unestablished bands, but some wear out their welcome with elaborate stage setups or by playing too long. Fans ideally come to a show with the intention of trying to catch every performing band, but most shows are centered around the headliner. This means that openers have the opportunity to connect with new fans, but should do it in a way that gets the audience ready for the main event. From complicated stage setups to sets that drag on and on, openers blow their chances to win over new audiences when they try to make the night all about them. So saving the confetti, pyrotechnics, and marathon sets for when you headline is your best bet.
Talking over another band’s set
Most artists hate it when people talk during their set, and for good reason. But, strangely, lots of them don’t think twice about talking through the sets of the other bands they play with. Doing this is a surefire way to get other bands not to like you. Pretty easy fix for this one, folks. Either take your conversations to the van or green room, or shut your traps and support the bands you play with.
Being overly picky about the sound
Shows get off schedule in a hurry when artists get precious about the sound on stage. Yes, sound is hugely important for putting on a great show, but taking too long to line-check leaves you at risk for killing the energy of the show by losing the audience’s interest between sets. Perfect is often the enemy of the good in music, and this cliche definitely applies here.
Play great shows and respect the musicians you perform with, and you’ll have a chance to create meaningful musical relationships that will help your career. Treat other musicians without consideration and respect, and you’ll lose out on these connections no matter how stellar your live show is.
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.