Nailing the Live Show: What You Need to Do

It’s one of the most important days in every musician’s life – that first day when you go for a live performance. You have practiced for days on end and have had sleepless nights rolling out lyric after lyric and trying to make it stand out for the upcoming show. But remember, even the most experienced musicians get a flop once in a while on the D-day. This is because even after the extensive preparations, some small mistakes happen and end up spoiling the day. Let us look at some of the tips to connect with the crowd, win them over to your side and make them fall in love with your performance.

Rehearse, Rehearse and Rehearse Some More

The live show begins way before you take the stage – in the rehearsal room. If you have taken the time to rehearse properly, no matter what might go wrong on stage, you will still be able to play your part and deliver. It is your role to know the songs you are going to perform inside out, front and back. You ought to be ready to play your songs regardless of what will happen. You can only achieve this if you perform a proper, focused rehearsal. It is only through this rehearsal that you can identify the mistakes, correct them and perfect the performance.

Don’t just rehearse the show. Get the look right, the image, and the different moves. Trust me, no one wants a band that just stands there and plays tune after tune without the signature moves.

Secure the Venue

You need to communicate with the venue staff so that you are assured of the performance come the day of the show. From the moment you get communication that you are in for the gig, start communicating with the booker or promoter.

Most venues will have their own sound system and a sound person to manage it. Make sure you keep an open line of communication with this person because he or she can break your performance.

You need this communication when it comes to sound check. Make sure you know what you need and ask for it the right way. You need to be ready for whichever situation you will get because for sure some sound techs in local pubs might not be the rocket scientists or sound engineers. When it reaches this point, you need to work with what is available, don’t expect sound akin to what you would get from a sports arena.

Be On Time

Nothing spoils a gig much faster than the lead vocalist arriving at 6.00pm and the drummer coming in at 7.00pm. You know you can’t get set up without the drummer and when he comes in late you have to spend another 30 minutes setting up the stage. You get behind schedule, an issue that pisses off the sound tech who has to move his schedule too.

Work like a pro – get in on time, set up quickly and give the show of your life. You are also aware that if you are late you might get struck off the list especially when you have other bands performing after you.

Always Be Flexible

This is especially true if you have a gig that incorporates multiple acts. You might be told that the show starts at 10.00 am only for it to start at midday or later. You don’t have to show your frustration during the live performance, instead, do what you came to do and complain later to the organizer. Handling the issue during the performance will look unprofessional and you will end up doing the performance with a negative mindset. Hint: the audience doesn’t care if you are annoyed just because you took the stage an hour late.

Focus on Your Role

A live performance can be very distracting. You will definitely notice the subpar stage or sound and too often, the drunk guy asking you to sing a totally different song. Hey, even the hot girls swaying near the stage can make you lose concentration. You shouldn’t be taken in by all these. Your job is to rock the performance and deliver what you came to do.

Distractions never end; the trick is to make sure you rehearse enough to acknowledge these distractions without veering off course. You can participate in these live shows but never do so at the expense of the show.

Know Your Audience

This is probably the most important thing to do on show day. This information helps you tailor your show to the needs of the fans, making them feel like they are part of the band rather than being spectators.  By knowing the fans, you get to know what sells and what won’t.

And while you are at it, make sure you don’t take your problems and transfer them to the audience. Well, problems will most definitely arise, and when they do, try to keep them contained. For instance, don’t take the frustrations of the bass guitar not syncing and transfer them to your audience. They will notice. And next time you get invited to a gig you might perform to empty seats because of the bad reputation.

Have the Perfect Set Up

One of the top ways to hit the live show jackpot is to achieve the perfect setup. You need the right tools to perform. One tool that will be a component of each performer in your band is the microphone. You need the best live mic for the show. Make sure you understand what each mic offers in terms of performance and features and how it will work in different environments.

You need to match your looks to your sound. Look good and sound good and you have the audience hooked. You can only sound good if you have the right mic. There are so many mics for live performances to choose from. Make sure you understand your budget, the genre of the song and the kind of sensitivity you seek in a mic before making the final decision.

You can also research on the common mikes in use by established artistes so that you can use them as your benchmark. If you don’t know where to start, visit to understand some of the available options.


I always tell my friends and band members that there is nothing more than being an awesome performer. Your talents might be less than stellar. Your looks can be “not there”. Your music can be “just there”. But if you have an electrifying performance, you will get noticed and capture the heart of the audience. First, you have to understand what the audience is looking for and give them just that without noticing the distractions.

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