First Gig Tips – 10 Things to Know Before Playing Your First Show

It’s been many many years since I played my very first gig. In fact, it was a MINIONTV gig in Liverpool in 2007, that’s 11 years ago. Back then people didn’t really have phones, it was mainly pitchforks. Anyway, in this guide I wanted to chat about tips for playing your very first gig.

Let’s just get this one out the way, have fun. This is going to be a time you remember forever so go into it with that mentality.

  1. Having a Drink – If you’re going to drink, just have one to settle the nerves. 
  2. Soundcheck – Make sure you get what you need out of a soundcheck (don’t settle or be rushed). If it’s not your turn to make noise, don’t make any! You want to aim for a good mix on stage, don’t pump up your volume, instead put your amp up on something so that it’s pointing nearer your ears, not your feet. The sound mix is never going to be perfect.
  3. Keep a Setlist – For ease of mind bring one and make sure everyone else has one.
  4. Bring a Checklist – Things you may forget, checking your gear, going through parts of songs you’re not 100% about etc.
  5. Be Prepared – Counter every issue you possibly think that could happen because believe me, at some point it will. What will you do if your guitar strap snaps or your pedals stops working?
  6. Don’t Be a Dick – Don’t say anything negative to a member before the show! It can really mess up your dynamic on stage as well as leave you with really bad feeling afterwards.
  7. Things Will Go Wrong – You’ll play too fast, you’ll hit bum notes, you’ll miss hit a pedal – whatever. This is  your first time in a new environment and it will get better once you’ll anticipate all that stuff. If you’re worried about playing too fast, there are ways around it. For example if you start a song, nod along with the drummer so you get the timing right. 
  8. Be Respectful – To the venue and other bands. If you can stick around and watch the other band’s shows, do so. They’ll remember.
  9. Get There Early – Know where you’re going to be on stage, where you can store your gear and impress the promoters or engineers.
  10. Get a Tuner Pedal –  If you’re using guitars. Don’t audibly tune guitars on stage. There’s nothing worse than loud tuning sounds! 

As always, let me know your thoughts on this. Got any more tips? Please don’t let this list overwhelm you in any way. Just take a few notes and have fun with it. You’ll always remember your first gig!

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