Monday

Bringing the Crowd... Back

How do you get more people to your shows? That's easy; Marketing and Promotion. The best marketing tool you could have is your actual performance. So, what if it's not good enough?
EVERY BUSINESS THAT INTENDS TO GET BETTER, FINDS A WAY TO MEASURE IT’S PRODUCT OR SERVICE. If the product is razor blades, they will use high tech devices to measure how well the razor blades cut. If the product is customer service, then they use customer satisfaction as a measuring tool. Bars determine how well you satisfy their customers by noticing how many come out to see you play.
 There are many ways a band can grade themselves; and it wouldn’t be a bad idea for musicians to use the same measuring tool that the venues use.

Like it or not, the patrons in the bar/tavern/restaurant are the customers that you are hired to entertain. If you do not notice a lot of ‘repeat customers’ on the nights that you play, you have to look closely at your show, to determine what needs to be fixed. Find them and fix them.
Being a musician myself, and going out to see bands play, I have noticed that many musicians spend a great deal of time getting their instruments setup ‘just right’. They spend a lot of time and money on getting a good amp, and a good instrument or two, and they spend a lot of time learning to play the songs in the set list.
But when they get to the gig they come up short in a few areas; Crowd involvement and the crowds’ perception of the band.
Engaging the crowd is, in my opinion, the easiest way to get ahead in the ‘customer satisfaction’ business.
You already know how- you pull out the tired old tricks- “ARE YOU READY TO ROCK?!?!” or “How are we doing out there?!?!?”  
You also pull out the old reliable- “ We haven’t played this one in a LONG time….but we’re gonna pull this one out of the vault, just for you, cause that’s what YOU want!!! YOU'RE the best crowd we've ever seen!

And of course, “We are going to rock this place ALL NIGHT LONG! You’re not getting tired are ya!?!?!?!!!!!
These are all cliché’ and we all know it, but it’s part of the show. They are OLD tricks because they work.
Check out Paul Stanley . He was - and probably still is - the king of stage banter….
Getting the crowd to scream with you, to get them laughing, or to get them singing along; all result in increasing their heart rate. Increased heart rate will cause the release of endorphins and sweating. The result: people get happy and thirsty. Lo and behold…There’s a bartender RIGHT THERE to help them quench that thirst. Hmmm….I wonder if the consumption of alcohol will have a positive effect?… Anything you can do to get their heart rate up is going to translate into a happier crowd. This is the crowd that will return the next time you perform.
There are certainly other ways to get the crowd going-you could buy shots. You could pass out Tshirts or play ‘Sweet Home Alabama’…. again. But stage banter doesn’t cost money, or require you to sell your soul.  Use it sparingly and you’ll be packing the house in no time.
Another issue is your PA system. For God sakes man….have a little pride in yourself. Spend a little to get your sound straight. It’s totally worth it. It doesn’t matter how good you are on guitar if the crowd is not hearing that awesome tone you dialed in.
It pains me to say this, but most lead singers in Middle Ga. break the cardinal rule regarding their vocal reverb….Only use as much as you need- no more. And most importantly, TURN OFF THE REVERB WHEN YOU START TO TALK TO THE CROWD.
When you talk with the reverb on, the crowd hears muddy talking. They can’t understand half of what you’re saying, and that alone is a pain in the ass. One thing you don’t want the crowd to say to each other-“I wish he’d shut the hell up and play a song.”  If used correctly; reverb is like a perfectly executed ‘levitation illusion’ to a magician’s show. Reverb is the magic vocal secret, and no one wants you to reveal it to them. People WANT to believe you’re that gifted. (On a related note, take the bag of rice out of your pants….NO ONE wants to believe you’re THAT gifted. Really. You know who you are.)

I’ve noticed a few singers don’t use any reverb at all. On rare occasions I’d say that it’s not needed. But in an awful lot of cases; it is. Figure out a way to turn it on and off during your performances, and keep it at the minimum according to your need.

There are plenty of people out there who will give you good, honest feedback that you can use to get your show better. If you want me to do it just ask. If you’ve seen me perform you’ll know I’m much better at GIVING advice than taking it.

You might also consider enlisting the help of a professional- There are a few around town which I will add to the ‘Musicians Resource’ , But one you should talk to would be Hugh Hession. He also has a website (Making It In Music ) full of great insight. A very wise friend to have if you want to be a performer.

If nothing else- get video of your show, and use it to find your flaws. Fix them and do it again. Don’t make excuses; If it’s a turn off you don’t need it on stage.
Ok. Let’s recap. Get the crowd dancing, singing, laughing, and screaming. Make sure your music is beautiful and your speaking is clear. Get video of your performances and feedback from veterans. Rehearsal is not the same thing as practice.

Practice is where you get the SONGS right…Rehearsal is where you get the SHOW right.
Oh…..and leave the rice at home. Seriously. Your kids are going to have to eat that.

3 comments:

Brandy1535 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brandy1535 said...

Well said, Chris.

Cowboy said...

Great advice!!!

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