Ace’s Top 5 Tips For Gigging Musicians

06 Feb 2019

This post was written more than two years ago. The content or information below may no longer be accurate.

As a touring guitarist, “Ace” has lived and breathed the full extent of the music industry whilst a member of UK rock phenomenon, Skunk Anansie. Ace’s group went on to be one of the biggest rock bands in Britain and Europe throughout the ‘90s and ‘00s, selling over 6 million records and playing sold-out world tours. Check out Ace’s top 5 tips to help you along your way as a gigging musician!

1. Make Sure Your Gear Works

Before leaving for your gig, check your equipment in rehearsals or at home to make sure it’s all in full working order and able to survive the gig or tour. Create an essential “show stopping” spares list – amps, strings, guitars, fuses, sticks and drum breakables etc. Load them into a box and pack them in the van with the rest of your gear. You can then leave the box on the side of the stage throughout your performance for quick access! The last thing you want is for a rockin’ show to be halted by a blown fuse or broken kick pedal.

Look after your gear and be insured! Don’t leave it in a dodgy place overnight in your vehicle – in fact any place overnight unless you are assured it’s safe. If need be, sleep in the van with your gear! The last thing you need is a tour to be cancelled due to being ripped off mid travels. Also not being able to replace personal instruments or claim on the insurance could be a band killer. 

2. Promote Your Gig

Make sure that when you turn up to a venue there is an audience to enthuse over your hard work and monster tunes! Make posters and get them up wherever you can.  Post all over social media with links to tickets, the venue and any other incentives for people to attend your show. Link up with the other bands on the bill to get the message out to their audience too. Personally message your friends, family and work colleagues for their support. If you have any good live clips or pics, get them up too to show what they could be missing if they don’t turn up. And make sure to get pics and clips at your gig to promote the next one!

3. Get Your Merchandise In Order

This could be the difference between baked beans or decent meals on a tour. Merchandise can be the extra income that really makes a difference financially to a low paid gig or tour. Get a friend (if local) or driver (on tour) to sell it while you are on stage, and then after the show go to the stand and hawk your merch yourself. Sign it, bundle it, make deals and make friends! 

4. Have A Good Sound Person

These people really are the 5th member or the band! (unless you are 5 members or more already… just add 1). It doesn’t matter how well you play, if the sound is bad, a lot of your good work could go to waste! This may well lead to your audience going cold and never returning to your future shows. Do rehearsals with your sound person and really work with them to get the sounds, volumes and cues right live. If you don’t have the luxury of your own sound person, it definitely pays to make friends with the in-house one at your gigs – so treat them well. And you never know, if they turn out good for you, you may be able to steal them for more shows afterwards too!

5. Practice Your Parts

Rehearse effectively and know your parts inside out, e.g. any pedal changes and different tunings (for guitarists). This way you can enjoy the show and put all you can into your performance and not have to worry about what’s coming next musically. Preparation will breed confidence, which will really show in your overall gig playing and personal performance! Oh and remember to always try and connect with the audience so you can rock out and enjoy the show.

If you’d like to learn more about how ACM can help you with your music career, why not come along to one of ACM’s Open Days.

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