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8 Things You’re Forgetting To Do On Show Day

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I meet (and play with) too many musicians who don’t want to get to the venue early enough. Some like to arrive shortly before they need to play, others slightly before doors and others feel they’re being responsible by allowing the bare minimum amount of time they believe they’ll need to load in, setup and sound check before start time or doors.

Until you have a tour manager, you will need to designate pre and post show duties within the band. These jobs cannot be overlooked.

I always schedule my load in time as early as the venue is comfortable with. Typically 2 hours before doors if there are just solo acts on the bill or 3 hours before doors if there are bands on the bill. And always 3 hours before start time for my solo show at colleges. Colleges are a different beast altogether.

Most musicians don’t understand everything that needs to get done before the doors open. The obvious necessities of loading your gear in and setting it up is understood. Many bands don’t fret over sound checks with an “it’ll be fine” attitude.

Leave Enough Time For Sound Check

Fret over soundcheck! It’s incredibly important. Sure there will be shows with venues that are so put together that everything runs smoothly and sound check takes 10 minutes or the engineer mixes you on the fly with no major issues, but you can’t plan for that. Always plan for something to go wrong: A faulty DI box, a shoddy mic cable, your tuner mysteriously stops operating, and the list is endless. Even if the equipment all works flawlessly, every room is different and responds differently to your sound. The room wasn’t built for your band so you have to allow time to let the engineer feel out your sound in the room. You don’t want the first three songs of your set to sound like butt, cluttered with feedback, because the engineer is attempting to mix you on the fly (giving the audience an unsettling opening feeling about you).

+9 Things Every Musician Needs To Know About The Sound Guy

You want time to feel it out on stage and get comfortable with the space. I’ve played too many shows where a sound check wasn’t possible or was cut too short and I hated performing because it felt awful on stage and I couldn’t settle in to my performance and therefore put on a bad show. This can be overcome by setting aside enough time for the sound check.

And yes, of course, there are venues that just do line checks. Especially in LA and NYC where they book bands every night on the hour. Nothing you can do about that! Bummer.

Setup The Merch

Once the sound check is finished your night has just begun. Setting up your merch is the next step and almost equally important as getting a good sound check. If you aren’t touring with a tour or merch manager, you should designate one band member who will be in charge of the merch for the entire tour. She should be responsible and decent at math. She’ll need to count in and out the money every night and she should also be friendly enough to train your merch seller (fan) for the night. And make sure your display is big, organized and in a prominent section of the venue near the door (or the place the venue has designated). You should bring lights for the merch display because many times venues will not have well-lit merch tables. And make sure you accept credit! Square, PayPal and Amazon all have free swipers and only take about 2.7%. It’s the difference between making an average of $ 5 a head and $ 10 a head in merch.

+Double Your (Merch) Income.. No Really

Get A Merch Seller

You see touring bands tweet about this all the time: “Need someone to sell our merch tonight in Lincoln. Get into the show for free. email merch@ourband.com” Until you’re packing theaters, you won’t be able to afford to bring a merch manager on the road with you, but you MUST have a seller at the table before, during and after the show. Not having someone by the table while you’re playing will cost you. Bands bitch all the time about low merch sales, but most of the time they aren’t selling because they aren’t doing it right. If someone wants your t-shirt or CD but has to leave early and glances at the merch table on his way out and there’s no one there, he’ll leave without buying anything. No one is going out of their way to try to pay you. And they definitely won’t go online and buy it once they leave the venue. Get a merch seller!

Park The Van

Many venues will allow you to load in near the stage door, but won’t have a spot for you to park and you will need you to move your car from the load in door. This can be huge hassle if there isn’t a free, dedicated parking spot. I’ve had to spend up to 30 minutes finding parking and walking back to venue. Be mindful of this and plan accordingly. And to make sure you avoid this hassle, always go over parking when you advance the show with the venue a week or two beforehand.

Setup the Room

This is typically very overlooked by most artists. It’s your night at the club and you want your fans to have a good show, so look out for them. Many venues (and especially colleges) will be able to setup their room multiple ways. Sometimes the way a room is setup needs to be changed for your show. For instance, if you want people to dance, but the room is full of chairs, all it takes is asking your point person at the club (or sound guy) if you can get rid of the chairs or shift them around to clear a dance floor.

Some venues are set as is and you will not be able to change anything ever, so be aware of that too.

Nearly every college I’ve played (over 100) I’ve had to rearrange the room to make sure people would be comfortable. No one knows your show experience better than you. Take initiative and work with your point people to rearrange the room to fit what’s best for your show and your sound.

Hand Off The Guest List

You then need to make sure the door guy has your guest list. Some venues require this list to be emailed well before the doors open. Make sure to go over this information when you advance the show.

Settle Up

You should also find out who you are settling up with at the end of the night. Hopefully that person is the same person you advanced the show with. Before the show, go over the other agreed upon details that are in your email confirmation and that you advanced: drink deal, food deal, lodging, door cut or guarantee, set length, curfew, etc. And ALWAYS count the cash in front of the manager. It’s not insulting, it’s expected.

I once played a show where lodging was included in my deal that I negotiated with the talent buyer, but the venue manager on that night didn’t know about it and no one booked a hotel. (I also forgot to advance this show!) At the end of the night, all local hotels were booked and I ended up crashing on the beer stained couch of a fraternity with a party happening around me till 5am. That’s when ear plugs come in handy!

Dinner

It may seem like musicians NEVER forget to eat, and most of the time you’d be right, but I can’t tell you how many shows I didn’t actually schedule time to eat, got caught up in all the other show prep, and felt light headed by the end of my set because of my growling stomach. Schedule dinner!

Photo is by Davmi Pics from Flickr and used with the Creative Commons License

Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter who has played over 600 shows around the world. He is the creator of the music biz advice blog Ari’s Take. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake

The post 8 Things You’re Forgetting To Do On Show Day appeared first on Digital Music News.


Ari Herstand
Digital Music News

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Flight of the Conchords Sell New Show to HBO

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Flight of the Conchords Sell New Show to HBO

Self-described as “New Zealand’s 4th most popular guitar-based digi-bongo a cappella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo,” cult favourites Flight of the Conchords haven’t been on television since they kiboshed plans for a third season of their HBO series way back in 2009. Now, five whole years later, they’ve announced that they’re returning to the small screen. According to the Guardian [via Consequence of Sound], the duo have signed on to create a new, four-episode comedy series for HBO. The duo’s Jemaine Clement is currently promoting his new vampire comedy, What We Do inRead More

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Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo Sells Autobiographical TV Show to Fox

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Bespectacled alt rock icon Rivers Cuomo has been busy working on Everything Will Be Alright in the End, the next LP from his long-running band Weezer, but he’s also been keeping busy in other ways. The singer has reportedly sold a semi-autobiographical television show to Fox. Deadline reports that Cuomo teamed up with Psych creator Steve Franks to create the show DeTour. The series will be a single-cam comedy inspired by Cuomo’s own real-life experiences. The show focuses on a rock star in his thirties who, when faced with the pressures of fame and the…Read More

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Jack White Succumbs to Mysterious Disease at Theatrical London Show

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Jack White Succumbs to Mysterious Disease at Theatrical London Show

Jack White’s album Lazaretto takes its name from a quarantine station used for maritime travellers, and the Third Man Records boss took the theme of infectious disease to the next level last night (July 2) with an elaborately theatrical performance in London. The secret show took place in the basement of a disused office building, and was a collaboration with the Punchdrunk theatre group. They had transformed the facility into the fictional Vescovo & Co clinic for contagious disease, which was staffed with actors playing doctors, nurses and orderlies. Following an online…Read More

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How You Promote A Show In LA (And Not Be A Dick About It)

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The first thing you hear as a musician when you move out to LA is “prepare to pay to play.” Virtually every Sunset Strip club hires “promoters” to book bands. And nearly every deal is some form of pay to play. These shows rarely contain bands in the same genre and, because the nature of the situation, rarely are these bands any good. The bands who know better don’t take these shitty deals. And the venues’ reputation suffers because of the poor talent, poor sound quality, and poor overall experience.

hand Why Live Music Sucks

But last night I experienced something completely different. I had received an unassuming email from a guy named Andrew who seemed to be promoting an evening of music in Hollywood. It wasn’t delivered in all caps. It didn’t scream this was going to be the GREATEST SHOW OF ALL TIME. It didn’t say this was the BEST NEW TALENT. The email was a simple invitation to a private, invite only  “speakeasy-style dinner music show.” He kept the lineup secret, but mentioned “I know you’ll love the rnb/soul talent we hand picked.”

And he was right.

In the email there was a link to a PDF doc that described the event in a bit more detail. It was welcoming and enticing. It listed “Attendees In The Crowd.” All well known (and powerful) players: record labels, managers, booking agents, music supervisors and publishers. This was a true showcase. Not a promoter blowing smoke up naive bands’ asses to get them to buy 50 tickets.

After RSVPing by entering the password from the email, I received a notification of the venue location in Hollywood, dress code and the title of the event: Champagne Room.

I got another email the day of reminding me about the showcase and something stood out. One little sentence that has never been uttered by another promoter I’ve met in my life: ” Once an artist is on stage, we politely ask guests to show respect as the talent pours their heart & soul into their performance just for you.”

hand Should You Pay To Play

I didn’t really know what to expect, but as we walked up to the venue I heard the deep groove of the first band. Even steps away from front the door I could feel the soul. Andrew was right.

The place was packed. Every table was taken (with bottle service of course – this is Hollywood). Standing room only. And the bartenders were working their butts off to keep up with the demand. But even they had to take frequent breaks to go check out the incredible talent. Which was undeniable.

People were engulfed with the performances. Each act more impressive than the last. 30 minute sets. Short and sweet. Three performers.

Andrew Cardenas has been producing these tri-monthly (that’s 3 times a month) Next2Shine Presents events in NYC and LA for the past year. He doesn’t like calling himself a “promoter” because he feels these events are so much more.

Next2Shine.com has been his digital discovery platform since 2008. For all intents and purposes it’s a music blog. But Cardenas doesn’t see it that way. He profiles emerging artists he loves.

It was the first US based website to break Sam Smith, Havana Brown, UsTheDuo and Elli Ingram. Kirby Lauryn, known for her song a day YouTube channel was also first featured on Next2Shine and recently signed a publishing deal.  He featured Allen Stone and Karmin very early on in their careers and caught Gotye months before he blew up.

He curated his first live event in NYC at Oz Studios, February 2013, and brought the show to LA this past December. Every event features different emerging talent all curated by Cardenas.

“Currently, the ultimate goal is respecting the talent, giving them a platform and honing in on authentic and true talent that speaks for itself.” – Andrew Cardenas, Next2Shine

His co-host of these events, a musician himself, Anthony Hall, was the emcee of the night. He introduced the talent and kept the night moving along while the acts set up.

Cardenas wants to expand his Next2Shine Presents: The Champagne Room operation to the UK and Nashville. He’s currently looking for partners in those cities to team up with. Something tells me he won’t stop at just 4 cities. I see a Champagne Room tour down the line.

The place was packed from start to finish. There wasn’t a mass exodus after an act finished (like every other show in LA). No band paid to play. There were ‘important’ industry people in the crowd. And above all, everyone had a great time.

I got a thank you email with all the acts information today with all the acts information:

“Anthony and I are thankful to have you as a part of the special musically-driven community that we are growing. Each month we pour our time, energy, & passion into producing this event both in LA & NY. We hope last night you had an unforgettable experience and left the venue as a new fan of the artists below!”

Why can’t other promoters curate evenings like this? Most promoters are passionate about music. That’s why they started in the field, but somewhere through the process their passion for music faded and their greed grew.

Live music can be magical. Euphoric. Spiritual. But it takes the right environment. The right talent. And the right audience. Cardenas realizes this and others have taken notice.

hand My Response To An LA Pay-To-Play Promoter

Photo is by Next2Shine and used with permission

Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and the creator of the music business advice blog, Ari’s Take. Listen to his new album, Brave Enough, on Spotify or download it on BandCamp. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake

The post How You Promote A Show In LA (And Not Be A Dick About It) appeared first on Digital Music News.


Ari Herstand
Digital Music News

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Ozzy Osbourne to Voice “Rock and Roll Fish” on ‘Bubble Guppies’ Kid Show

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Ozzy Osbourne to Voice "Rock and Roll Fish" on

Ozzy Osbourne will soon be making an animated appearance on underwater kids cartoon Bubble Guppies, trading in his duties as the Prince of Darkness to voice the role of a “rock and roll fish” named Sid Fishy. An upcoming episode of the Nick Jr. program will have Osbourne voicing the character, which as you can see up above is a total trouble maker. Sporting a bright red mohawk and an eyebrow ring, spokespeople for the program have confirmed the punnily monikered punk sea creature will be heading to the show’s home base of Bubbletucky to slather its residents with a “stink sauce.” …Read More

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Constantines to Perform Surprise Show in Guelph on Friday

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Constantines to Perform Surprise Show in Guelph on Friday

Over the next two nights (June 5 and 6), Guelph’s Kazoo! concert series (and annual festival) will be celebrating its eighth anniversary with a pair of shows. The Friday night bill promised that a “surprise guest” would be announced, and now this secret performer been revealed: reunited Canuck rockers Constantines. The news was confirmed on the June 5 episode of Vish Khanna’s Kreative Kontrol postcast (episode number 106, featuring Kazoo!’s Brad McInerney and Mike Deane). In the final moments of the podcast, we hear a conversation involving Khanna and the Constantines. In the…Read More

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Protesters Call for Metallica to Be Banned from Glastonbury over Bear Hunting TV Show

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Protesters Call for Metallica to Be Banned from Glastonbury over Bear Hunting TV Show

Metallica frontman James Hetfield is a National Rifle Association member and a hunter, so it didn’t come as too much of a surprise when the History channel named his as the narrator of The Hunt, an eight-episode TV series about bear hunting in Alaska. Some folks, however, are so upset about this development that they’ve called for Metallica to be banned from this year’s Glastonbury Festival. A Facebook page called “Remove Metallica from Glastonbury Festival for their support of Bear Hunting” has earned over 11,000 “likes” (as of press time) since being launched on May 25. The…Read More

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Vic Mensa’s Toronto Show Postponed Until September

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Vic Mensa

Vic Mensa was all set to support his Exclaim!-favourited Innanetape release at Toronto’s Tattoo Queen West next Thursday (May 1), but the rising Chiacgo rapper has been forced to postpone the set until this fall. A press release form the venue confirms that the gig, which is being presented as part of the Scion Series Mixtape Sessions, is now set to take place September 6. An exact reason for the delay was not given, though organizers notes that it was “due to circumstances beyond our control.” The concert will be the first instalment of the Scion Series Mixtape Sessions, a…Read More

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Freddie Gibbs Teams Up with DJ Fresh for ‘The Tonite Show’

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Freddie Gibbs Teams Up with DJ Fresh for

Having already killed it with his Madlib collaboration Piñata, no one would blame Freddie Gibbs for spending the remainder of 2014 firmly resting on his laurels. Instead, the rapper has a solo album on the way and now another collaboration too. Gibbs has teamed up with DJ Fresh (also known as the World’s Freshest) for the latest instalment of the latter’s ongoing series The Tonite Show. The project sees Fresh team up with artists for a full release, and previous editions have seen him work with Trae the Truth, Mistah F.A.B. and Keak Da Sneak. The Freddie Gibbs…Read More

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