Gig day can be so unpredictable. You have to be prepared for the absolute worst, I tell you. I say this based on experience and years of leaving a performance dissatisfied because I wasn’t ready for the worst.
Several gigs later I’ve realized that there are a few issues that make it to the list of things that tend to go wrong frequently – things that it is in your best interest to prepare for.
1). Set Time Change
Can you adapt your set from 30 minutes to 10 and still make your performance as compelling as you would want it to be perceived? I’ve been asked to cut down my set list from 10 songs to 2 songs just before I get ready to go on stage – it happens! The event could be running late or there could be too many acts that they are trying to fit in if it’s a festival style show. How can you be prepared for this? By having several configurations of set times. A 10 minute set, a 30 minute set and a 45 minute set. Configurations of instruments may change as well depending on the set time so always be prepared to reduce your band or do some songs completely acoustic too.
2). No Band
True story. I’ve shown up to a gig where I was promised that there would be backlines for a show – I get there and there is only a DJ. I’ve showed up with my entire band, we’ve rehearsed, we’ve prepared endlessly only to find that all there is room for is track! Don’t panic, don’t get mad – switch to damage control mode. There only way to be prepared for this is to have a USB and a CD of your backtracks at all times. Make friends with the DJ and let them know how long your set will be so they know how to mix things appropriately.
3). Tiny Stage
If you haven’t had a chance to see the stage prior to show day or the dimensions you were given are inaccurate, be prepared to reduce the number of band members on stage or what’s even better is – practice choreography in smaller spaces to see how you can adjust formations and positions for a smaller stage.
4). No Soundcheck
This is so common unfortunately and you have to be prepared – that is if you decide to do the gig. There are some gigs that aren’t even worth it and without a soundcheck, it could be detrimental to your brand. BUT there are other cases where a quick linecheck once you (and your band) get on stage is the next best option. A brief explanation to the audience is almost always seen as professional. Tell them that you want to get the sound right for them.
What else have you faced that we could add to this list?