Thursday, August 16, 2018

Showcase Tip-off part 3, Use your stage time.

I do this every year for Live at Heart (2 of September to 8 of September). A couple of posts to prepare for Live at Heart. So if you have followed my blog you probably have read it before. Still, there are changes from the past editions. And as usual, these tip-off works for any showcase festival.

Use your stage time.

A showcase festival will give you 40 minutes to play 20 minutes to change over. Prepare a set that really is 40 minutes, not 30, not 45. If you play longer, of course, you eat someone else playing time and that is not fair. Things like that can fuck up the schedule for the whole evening. So clock your performance.

Playing to short is equally bad. Okay, only you are affected by it. A showcase festival is several artists playing at the same time, during Live at Heart it can be up to 25 artists at the same time on different venues. And yes some people want to see artists at the same time. what you do is that you see a couple of songs from one band, goes to the next one. But if you end your show to early there might be people coming in that wanted to see your performance missing it, even if it was just the last song.

The 20 minutes change over. Practice this, I don't know how many times I see artists do change over and run around like chickens and it takes longer than it really should. Practice it so it goes faster. And another thing as a professional I actually look as much on the changeover as I do on the performance, you want to see how the artist solves problems.

And in all cases, it is line check. And when it comes to line check it won't be that perfect. Don't waste time to find the perfect sound on your snare. Don't try to squeeze in a full sound check into these 20 minutes it won't work. Also, everybody that is professional knows that the first song in the set usually sounds a bit strange since some of the sound checks are done there. We know it is your time to shine, still, we are also interested to see how an artist handles these situations, that is why I love showcases you can sort out the professionals from the beginners just by see the changeover.

Whatever you do don't go over these 20 minutes. It's horrible when you get into a show where you want to see the first two songs and they are still doing the changeover. In severe cases, we have left before it starts. If something is going wrong try to go around it instead of changing the fuse of the amp. One time it was a blackout in the mixer during a showcase with the band Like Swimming. All instruments except for the mics without effects went silent. It was during their last song. They could just have stopped and got off. But they were professional and played their 40 minutes by picking up the gear and started to play the last song totally acoustic, it was marvelous. See the clip at the bottom.

If you have some asshole artist that has gone over the 20 minutes and leaves you with only 10 minutes change over. It's critical to do it all in 10 minutes instead and rather start in time, here the practice comes in handy. If it's so bad that it even has taken off time of your set. Shorten the set to help the festival get the schedule on track. Don't think that you should have your time worth of show that you only contribute to the problem the rest of the evening.

Here is a live clip of the Like Swimming song where they played "Go Buffalo" acoustic on SXSW. Also alesson how even in an acoustic gig go out with a bang.

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