Six Tips for Bands

We're no spring chickens... see, we just used the phrase "spring chickens." We've both been involved in and studied radio and music. We've even played with a few bands (when we were spring chickens). And in the span of four years, we've seen a LOT of Canadian indie shows, almost all in small venues where everything is up close and personal. All of which make us experts in everything.

Not really. But we do feel like we have a few observations and tips that would benefit bands and the folks who turn out to support them (there's a few in our last NXNE post, too). We offer them with genuine goodwill. If you're a band and have a comeback to any of these, share!

1. Don't bury the vocals. This one is first for good reason. We can't tell you how many hours of unintelligible lyrics we've sat through. You'd never get airplay if it sounded like that on the radio; why is a live show any different? We love guitar, drums, bass, keyboards, etc. But we love vocals and lyrics too, and we want to hear them.

2. Tell us who you are. Don't assume just because people are there they know who you are. Especially if you're in Detroit, and especially if you're the opener (as is often the case). Say it loud and say it proud. It bears repeating: repeat your band's name... and everyone in the band. We really do like to know.

3. Have CDs to sell. Seems like a no-brainer, right? And we understand you may run out, weren't able to stock up, or couldn't get them over the border. But it's such a disappointment when bands don't have their latest album, or earlier ones, too. We frequently wait to buy a CD until we're at a show. And chances are we won't be proactive enough to go online and order it. We have the money in our hand. Have something for us to spend it on.

4. Keep the energy flowing. We've seen most of the winners of best live act from the CBC Radio 3 Bucky Awards, and many of the nominees. They're not always the tightest bands. They don't necessarily have the stage banter of stand-up comedians. But what they do have are setlists that gather up the audience and take them along on a great ride.

5. Keep your Internets updated. For us, nothing's more frustrating when we're trying to promote a show, get your information or confirm a tour date only to find nothing's been posted to your website, blog, Facebook page or CBC Radio 3 artist page since 2011. Yeah, we know it can be a chore, but it's part of being in the business of music.

6. We really do appreciate what you do. We haven't experienced touring first-hand, but we've heard enough stories and we can empathize. Hours spent in a cramped van, driving through bad weather, your family hundreds of miles away, so you can play to a sparse crowd that talks through your set, all for music. Music that we love, love seeing you perform, and love you for doing it. When we see your show, you've made our night and memories we don't forget. Thank you.