Gig + etiquette = Getiquette 30/04/07
Gig + etiquette = Getiquette 30/04/07Today’s Sentric blog is to do with how artists should ‘behave’ at gigs. This is due to a certain artist messaging me telling me that he/they enjoyed the blog and this said artist has in the past played for the gig night that I run ‘Quids In’ and were a nightmare to deal with.
The reason I got into gig promotion is because I managed the band Karmen Vega for a year (now split up, but singer Eugene McGuiness has gone solo and is doing rather well, best of luck mate) and the amount of poorly managed gigs we played was ridiculous so myself and my partner in crime thought to ourselves ‘screw this, lets do it ourselves’. And we did! Rather well to I’d have to say (not wanting to blow the old trumpet or anything, but every gig we did filled the venue to over capacity and several artists told us it was one of their favourite gigs they’ve done).I’ll give you a quick idea on what Quids In is about as it’ll make the rest of the blog make more sense: Quids In is a gig night that we try to make ‘all about the music’. We only charge £1 to get in and all the money we make goes into future nights and to the bands for petrol money – we don’t pocket any of the cash for ourselves. The venue we use holds 130 and we get them to put on drinks promos so it’s only £1.50 a drink. Now the venue is an important part of this story because a) it’s in a great location which is one of the reasons it fills up so well, b) it doesn’t charge us because it makes more then enough cash on the bar and c) the equipment is rubbish.The equipment being bad has always been an annoyance but so far we’ve decided to keep it there as the benefits completely out weight the negatives, so, onward with the story…
Band ‘X’ arrived to soundcheck an hour late – not the best start – they then went on to moan quite audibly about the lack of monitors and the not-so-great-quality of the sound. Fair enough, I don’t mind that, I personally would be a bit annoyed if I was in their position but I kept reassuring them not to worry, as when the venue fills out the sound changes quite a lot and the atmosphere more then makes up for it. They then started giving the sound techs quite a bit of grief which is a completely stupid idea as they can make you sound as bad as Hard Fi with 2 turns of a dial. The keyboard player then kicked off as he couldn’t find his sustain pedal, it soon became apparent that he’d left it in Manchester so he went and fetched it (nothing wrong there, it was his prerogative but driving to Manchester and back for a sustain pedal? Why not have a pint instead). They then started making a couple of requests; 1) can we have some beer? And 2) can I have 2 beer crates to sit on.
1) I’d told them that we didn’t do riders as the whole ‘ethos’ of the night revolves around keeping costs down. They knew this before they agreed to do the gig so why they thought asking me several more times whilst at the soundcheck would help surpasses me.
2) My reply was an honest ‘no, but we can get you a chair’, which he dismissed pretty bluntly. This didn’t piss me off to much as all he was trying to do was to strengthen the image of the band to therefore promote the brand (which regular blog readers know that I’m a fan of), but after I tried 2 more times to get some beer crates to no avail, it would have been nice for him to accept the chair
So after all this malarkey which included them ‘threatening’ to walk out on 2 separate occasions, they eventually played the gig and low and behold! They loved it! 2 of the band members approached me afterwards all smiley and fucking chuffed at the amount of people there and the atmosphere of the gig.
No apologies though.
Pissing off a promoter can be a rather stupid thing to do. Quite often before I confirm a band to play at a gig, I’ll email or myspace a promoter they’ve played for previously to ask them what they’re like to deal with. If that promoter says they’re a nightmare then unless I really love their music then there’s a chance I might pass on them.
So here are my top tips on good ‘getiqutte’:
v Arrive on time for sound check – this one in important. We once had a band on the bill who were all based in Liverpool but came to the soundcheck at 2 hours late, pushing the band who came down from Scotland, on time, back.
v Buy the sound tech a drink – the sound tech can make or break you, offer to buy them a drink and do not wind them up. I’m aware that every so often you come across a rubbish sound tech but unfortunately that comes with the progression of venues that you’ll naturally play. Here is one tip: sound technicians hate being told what to do. So it’s not even worth doing.
v Be nice – quite a simple one here, but if you’re nice to the promoter, sound techs, bar staff etc then quite simply people will like you as a human being and will be more willing to go out of their way to help you
v Remember that you are not the Rolling Stones – band ‘X’ in the example had recently won a high profile competition and they thought they were the best thing since sliced bread and therefore their egos were more inflated then Rik Waller on pancake day. Remember that you aren’t the Stones yet (unless you are, then in that case, hello Keith and the boys) so be humble
In theory, all this stuff should be common sense, but for some reason, there are still bands out there who can be arses.
What I’m listening to this week: Eugene McGuiness and the Mama’s and Papa’s (the official sound track of the summer)