Gig Business

Take Live Performances to the Next Level

By Tessie Barnett

It takes an enormous amount of creativity and style to craft music that's unique to you and your band, and that used to be all it took to stand out. But as technology advances and tools for musicians are made more available, the industry gets saturated with artists. Listeners are overloaded with new bands and music, so you have to deliver more than that to acquire fans. The experience is what they're after. Imagine yourself as an indifferent listener in the audience. What would grab your attention?

Special effects

The best live concerts envelope the audience with more than just their music. It's difficult to keep a crowd's attention, but if you're feeding their senses, they're more likely to stay engaged. ​If your setup allows for it, try adding some visual features to your performance. One of the most innovative tools we've seen is Magic Music Visuals. This app allows you to create interactive animation and video effects that react to the music as you're playing. Because the visuals can be projected anywhere, it allows artists to use special effects in every performance—a great way to engage fans in both traditional and nontraditional gigs.

Music Visualizer

This software is available for Mac or PC, and offers a free demo so you can check out the features before purchasing.

Iconic dress

​Some argue that rock and roll is dead, and it's been replaced by indie artists with a grungy, more laid back approach. Whether you agree with this or not, there's a clear difference in today's artist image than there used to be. For some rock and roll musicians, wardrobe was a thing of distinction.

Compared to many bands in rock and roll history, the modern day musician lacks the iconic dress that sets them apart. Much of the indie persona is viewed as approachable and candid, which helps them connect more easily with their fans. But when this band, that band, and all the fans look alike, you're also risking your visibility. Even if it's subtle, try incorporating a discernible element to your band's look. 

Stage persona

Stage persona is one of the easiest ways to brand yourself with an alter ego. By definition, the alter ego is an alternative version of yourself—it's who you would want to be if you could choose. Well, this is your chance to assume those characteristics for your stage image. Creating a "character" helps you push boundaries and exaggerate your eccentricities. As an artist, you can explore beyond your personal limitations and find yourself performing with more confidence than you knew you had. 

Living as yourself and performing with a separate stage persona can be a bit disorienting for some. But for others, it's the only way to get out of their own head. Whether you've created a character to mentally compartmentalize or to keep your true self a sacred thing only for your closest circle, make sure that you keep in mind what you've set out to accomplish. 

 

And of course, sound check

​This is a less grandiose element to a live performance, but it's possibly the most important. You can add all the special effects and attitude you want, but if your band doesn't sound great, you're not going to get the attention you want. Every venue and stage setup is different, so factor in extra time to get a proper sound check. 

Our most seasoned artists offer this advice: Make friends with the sound guy (or girl). Oftentimes, musicians shake hands with the talent buyer, venue manager, or event organizer but overlook the sound engineer. This is the person in control of the entire experience for you and your audience. Be sure to give a little respect to the person and position, and they'll be more likely to perfect your sound check. 

Clearly, with the advancement of sharing platforms and tools for creating, fans are beginning to expect much more from the modern day musician. The artists who stand out are the ones who create an extraordinary experience for their audience. If you can put your full, creative energy into every engagement opportunity, you'll turn your fans into lifers.

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