10 ways to behave like a pro at gigs


This seems obvious but so many times I’ve seen bands where someone doesn’t know what they should be playing. It’s much more enjoyable when you are sure what you are supposed to play. Just put the time in!

2. Turn up for sound check at the right time.
You’re not Axl Rose so don’t get there just before the gig expecting it all to be done for you. If you want to sound good then the soundman needs to get your gear sounding good through his P.A. If you are late the best thing that will happen will be that the first couple of your songs become the sound check. Want to make a good first impression to the audience? Forget it. The worst thing that could happen is this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwJ-i167bAU

3. If one of your band members makes a mistake, don’t all stare at them.
The audience probably won’t have realised so you are just drawing attention to the fact. You can always just shrug it off as a ‘jazz note’.

4. Make sure your gear is working.
Test your cables before the gig and make sure your amp is not making any funny noises. When it comes to gig time anything can happen but if you make sure everything is OK as far as you can before the time comes, you minimise the chance of a serious problem stopping you playing.

5. Be polite to the audience.
They might not all be watching you and they might not all be dancing when you think they should. That does not give you the right to call them boring or insult them. All that will happen is that they will start to dislike you. Be encouraging or just try to enjoy yourself. Nobody wants to see a spoilt child on stage.

6. Take a spare guitar.
If you break a string there are few players who are totally comfortable carrying on with one missing.

7. Engage with the audience.
They have come to see you so don’t be shy. At the least, look at people and try to hold their interest. If you just look at the floor it’s really boring to watch.

8. Start and finish at the agreed times.
If you are on a multi band bill then you will have a designated start and end time. Don’t run over and then ask the crowd if they want one more song. The band after you is likely to come and punch you in the face. If not then probably the promoter will think twice about booking you again.

9. Don’t have your amps turned up really loud on stage.
It makes it much harder to hear what everyone is doing. The soundman will likely ask you to turn down so listen to him. Don’t be tempted to start notching it up throughout the gig either. Only do this if you are REALLY struggling to hear yourself.

10. Enjoy it!
Music is an amazing thing and a great live gig is one of the best nights out you can have. If you are obviously having fun then people will feel this, want to be involved with you and come and see you again!

Mitch Cockman
Musician and blogger at Yorkshire Bass Player
Mitch is a musician, band leader and web designer from Yorkshire. He is primarily a bass player and you can find links to most of his work at:

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