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Post  Dmanlamius on Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am

I knew you would ask that!

So I got some info together. Get your readers round this lot:

Get a pair of compasses and draw a circle on a map to work out how far a field you can travel on any given day or night, then contact all the venues in that area.

The demo is crucial as a starting point in getting your first gig. The demo does not need to be as polished as if you were sending it to a prospective label - its main function is to show the promoter what you sound like and how suitable your band is to the venue. Sometimes thrash metal doesn't tend to go down well in wine bars. Sometimes.

Along with the demo recording, bands should include full contact information and a useful biography. Don't be afraid of self promotion, but try to keep things short and informative. Keep it sweet, and don't get heavy. I once met a band that outlined their political beliefs in their bio.

They didnt get many gigs.

Promoters will want a demo CD - three songs are ideal - with tracks that are representative of your sound. Don't send in a CD of your rockier moments and then choose to play jazz on the night.

Sometimes it's easiest to just get in touch with a local promoter with a phone call or email. With demos it's nice to see an effort being made: a nicely presented package with a printed cover and nicely done biog makes the promoter pay more attention.

When chasing a venue, don't worry about ensuring a sold out gig. Sure, promoters will be more receptive if you can guarantee a good crowd, but bands should worry more about sounding great and less about pleasing the promoter. Some bands bring a lot of friends, which is fine, but sometimes the band ends up messing around and joking with their friends rather than playing an awesome set.

If it's your first gig, patience is a virtue. Promoters receive lots of demos, so be prepared to wait a while. Do chase up the venue, but refrain from bombarding them with reminders - be assertive but be prepared to wait. A small nudge a few days after should do the job.

But what to do when you've successfully secured your first gig? What should you do when you're in the venue? Every band has a different approach to their sound, but there are some basic pointers that should ensure a trouble-free experience.

Check equipment specs thoroughly within the venue. Find out what they have and haven't got and get in early for the soundcheck, and be nice to all the technicians. Should you get the wrong side of them, they have the ability to make you sound terrible.

Also, keep your ego in check - it's your first gig, don't make it your last. Do ask for payment though, even if it's only to cover your petrol. Be reasonable and you'll get some money - you're doing this for fun, but collecting scraps will help pay for new kit or gigs in the future.

Take note:

A Gallagher-esque attitude and swagger may be good for the cameras, but you should ALWAYS be nice to promoters and venue staff. If you don't treat the promoter with respect you can kiss any other future gigs goodbye and you will have lost a potential venue.

Finally, remember to have fun! Once you're first couple of gigs are out of the way you can build contacts with venues and promoters. You'll increase your exposure and play more regularly, and they will come to you rather than the other way round.

Tell us how it goes!

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Post  Street Voice UK on Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:39 pm

As a person who puts gigs on I have to say it doesn't matter whether a band specifies it's politics in the bio etc.

You're spot on about a decent package for sending in to promoters. Uusually scratched CDs and messy artwork goes in the bin.

Other points are don't send in MP3s. Most mail boxes can't take them. I alone get 50-100 emails daily. If they were all MP3's they'd bounce!
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