6 Ways to Put on a Great Live Show
Last month I took in the Jane’s Addiction concert at Massey Hall in Toronto. It was a great event and a fantastic show which started with a frenzy and built its way towards an all out love fest. Regardless of what you think of Jane’s Addiction as a band, as individuals or of their music, it is undeniable that they put on a great and memorable live show. So let’s take a look at what your band can learn from one the best in the business.
1) Put On A Show
Don’t just walk out and play, have an actual act to present. You are in the entertainment business so don’t forget to entertain. This can/should include décor, costume, visuals, theme and can include dancers, theatrical performers etc. This does not have to be elaborate, smaller bands will not have the budget for a rich production, but even simple attempts will add to the overall presentation. Put up a few decorations or props, have some interesting things to look at like video or lighting effects (you can bring your own to add to any venue lighting, again does not have to be elaborate) and dress to look the part.
2) Have fun and want to be there
Nothing turns listeners off more then watching a band who clearly doesn’t want to be there. Or even one who is indifferent to being there. Show people you are glad to be playing for them and project some positive energy. When the band is happy and having fun their energy spreads easily to the audience. You guys are steering the ship, so steer it in the right direction and you will get a better response and a better chance of being remembered.
3) Interact With the Audience
This one needs to be stressed because of its importance. Your job is NOT to play music for the audience, a Juke box can do that, your job is to entertain them. Engage the audience and let them participate in the success of the show. These people are your customers and they have as much to do with the show as you do, unless you like the idea of playing a concert for the venue staff. Play for and to the crowd. Banter with the fans, shake hands when possible, be accessible to those people at the front stretching their arms out trying to get a little notice, make eye contact! Fans want to connect with you and they are willing to pay good money to do it. Don’t let them down.
4) Interact With Each Other
Don’t be Simon & Garfunkel sitting in opposite directions not even acknowledging each others existence. Your band is a team and you need to be united. Look at each other, play to each other and appreciate each other. Get the drummer involved. Spend some time hanging out back there with him. Talk to each other, connect with each other. Fans love it when the band members have fun together. Public displays of dislike for one another will not win you fans but it might lose you some.
5) Personalize Each Show
Each show is different and each audience is different. Personalize your event to the demographic and to the style of venue you are in. This can be as simple as talking about the city or venue you are in, but don’t be patronizing about it. Find some common ground and you will be able to better relate to your fans at each stop.
6) Ham It Up Afterwards
When the show is done, especially if it was well received, don’t just bolt for the back. Stay on stage and ham it up with your fans. They want to give you their appreciation so accept it and reciprocate it. Make the fans feel that you enjoyed them as much as they enjoyed you and you will see them out again the next time.
The goal is to make every show a memorable event. ‘Remember that (band name) concert we went to? What a night!’ If you add a bit of each of the above you will improve your chance at a successful show and you will leave people remembering you and wanting more.
idle is the founder of MusicCavity.com. He has promoted concerts, promoted bands, and has worked in the Audio/Visual Staging industry for over a decade. You can follow ide on Twitter @MusicCavity.