by Ari Herstand
1. We’re Having Technical Difficulties
Even if your guitar just caught fire. Well actually, that would be hilarious
if you said it then. But when bands sheepishly admit it into the mic, it’s
uncomfortable and kills the vibe. Technical difficulties are your fault. Even
when they’re not. It’s your stage. It’s your show.
You should know your gear inside and out. If something is cutting out or screeching
or feeding back, you should either know immediately what it is and be able
to remedy it in 13 seconds or know how to quickly figure out what it is.
It’s your job, as the performer, to command the
attention of everyone in the room from start to finish.
2. I Forgot The Lyrics
The worst is when singer/songwriters sing a line like “I forgot this
next line la la la.” That is so annoying. Not funny. If you can’t
memorize your lyrics then bring a lyrics sheet on stage as reference. Or make
shit up on the spot.
The only thing worse than shitty lyrics is forgotten lyrics.
3. I Want To Thank My Girlfriend
It’s like having a one on one conversation with someone in the audience
off the mic. Uncomfortable for everyone else in the house.
Leave her out of it. It makes you look whipped. If she
did something truly awesome, then you can say something like “we’d
like to thank our friend Sarah for getting this song into the hands of the
music supervisor at Parenthood.”
If your girlfriend needs to be publicly thanked for her support then you have
bigger issues you have to work out.
4. I’m Sorry
Don’t every apologize on stage. It makes you look weak. I don’t
care if you just dropped a baby. Don’t apologize.
Making excuses for your shittyness makes everyone in
the house uncomfortable and feel bad for you. I hear it all the time: “I forgot the rest of the
song. Sorry.” “I’m sorry if this song sucks, we just wrote
it.” “I’m sorry there aren’t more people here.” “We
haven’t rehearsed this much, it might suck.”
Own the stage. Own the room. Own your set. Or don’t
5. Your City Sucks
Should be a no brainer, but I can’t tell you how many touring bands I’ve
seen make fun of the city they are in – ON STAGE. It may be fun to joke
about in the van, but your audience takes pride in their city. No matter if
you think their city is cool or not.
Never say anything negative about the town you are in while on stage unless
you want a beer bottle thrown at you.
6. This Song Is About My Grandma Who Died Of Cancer. Love You Nana.
Don’t depress your audience. You can play a song about your dead grandma,
but you don’t need to tell the audience that’s what it’s
People don’t pay money to come to shows to be sad.
They come to be happy. To have fun. To be enlightened. To be inspired.
If you can’t communicate the power of your song by just playing it,
then maybe the song isn’t really that good.
7. I’m Broke
Don’t make your audience feel bad for you. It removes the mystique and
coolness factor. You can say “help us get to the next city and pick up
a T-shirt.” That offers an emotional appeal in a positive light.
But saying “we’re broke, so buy a t-shirt,” just
turns your audience off.
Guilting your fans into buying your merch never works.
8. You Guys Suck
Even if 95 out of the 100 people are screaming above your acoustic set while
smashing glasses and vomiting in the corner, 5 people are engulfed in your
set. Never insult your audience. They always have one ear to you – even
if you are just background music.
You may think no one is listening, but you’ll be
surprised at how many compliments you get and how much merch you sell once
you hop off stage.
9. Any Requests
You’re never going to get the songs that you actually have prepared and
there will always be that one asshole who yells “Free Bird” as
if he just came up with the joke.
Play your set as is. If someone drove 300 miles to hear
one song, she’ll
yell it out whether you ask for it or not.
10. How Does It Sound
This is a slap in the face to the sound guy. Never ask the crowd that. It should
sound amazing. If it doesn’t, then it’s either your fault or
the sound guy’s fault. Either way, you just pissed off the one person
not in your band who can actually make you sound WORSE.