1. Noodling Between Tunes
There’s no good reason to be playing
little licks and riffs between songs. It’s unprofessional
and annoys bandmates who are ready to go. Plus, you steal
the thunder from a song when you reveal part of it beforehand.
The audience shouldn’t even have to hear you tune.
2. Not Pacing The Set List
Like a full-length CD (remember CD’s?),
a good set is sequenced carefully. Consider how song order
will affect the flow of mood and energy in your performance,
and work out a few segues so you won’t have to interrupt
that flow. Be ready to make changes as you read the audience,
too — but don’t pull out the big guns early if
you want to go out with a bang.
3. Bad Banter
Think ahead of time about what you might
say when you address the audience, and keep it brief. You
can get the momentum going at the top of a set by not talking
at all until you’re two or three songs in. If you don’t
have anything interesting or funny to say, please, just shut
up ’n play yer guitar.
4. Gear Malfunction
Part of being prepared is having all
of your gear is in working order before you leave the last
rehearsal. There will be times when bad luck throws you a
curve, but 99% of onstage gear malfunctions are avoidable.
Give everything the once-over ahead of time and be ready to
field any emergencies with extra strings, spare cables, fuses,
AC adapters and duct tape. Good lord, don’t forget the
5. Frowns All Around
Smile, for chrissakes. The audience gets
its cue about whether or not this is fun from you. Unless
you’re playing in a death metal band, where smiling
could reveal you to be a total wuss, let them see that you’re
6. No Thanks
Want to endear yourself to bar owners,
waitresses, and the guy behind the board? Meet them before
you play and throw out a thanks from the stage before you
wrap up your set.
7. Slow To Strike
You were dying to get onstage to play,
right? So think of the next band on the bill. Don’t
start chatting up fans or ordering drinks before you strike
your gear. Get the hell off the stage and give the next act
a chance to play their full set.