50 Ways To Turn Live Audiences Into Raving Fans

staging© 2009Vinny Ribas

 Use this checklist to measure the potential of your act. What do you excel in and what needs to be worked on?

 The Sound

  • Every voice is on pitch.
  • Every instrument is tuned and the sound is dialed in. There is no experimenting on stage.
  • The band is tight; everyone does everything in perfect synchronization, including starting and ending songs.
  • The band is well – rehearsed, with everyone knowing his or her parts fluently.
  • Harmonies are well rehearsed and tight.
  • There are definite and pre-rehearsed dynamics within songs and in the song choices themselves.
  • The band is the right volume for the venue.
  • There is no dead time in between songs. The set list is well planned.
  • Instrumentalists know when to take leads and when to back off and let the singer shine.
  • Musicians are all competent. Soloists shine.
  • The drummer and bass player are tight and keep perfect time.
  • The instruments are balanced volume-wide, with everyone striving for a perfect blend.
  • The back-up vocals don’t overpower the lead vocals.
  • The band captures the sound and feel of the genre(s) that it is striving for.
  • The songs are a reasonable length. (e.g. There are no endless guitar solos that might impress other guitar players but bore the audience to tears.)
  • The band has punch! There is nothing wishy-washy about the sound.
  • The lead singer(s) has a strong and appropriate-sounding voice for the genre of music. If he or she has a unique voice that still fits, that even better.
  • The soundman has dialed in the room with the proper EQ.
  • The band has fun!

The Songs

  •  The band has chosen only the best songs. There are no fillers.
  • The band plays the right balance of original songs and cover tunes.
  • The band tests songs live once or twice and immediately eliminates the songs that do not get a highly favorable response.
  • The songs are appropriate for the venue (e.g. If it’s a dance room, the songs are all very danceable.)
  • The act picks songs with strong lyrics, especially in listening environments.
  • The language in the songs is appropriate for the venue, the music genre, the audience and the image of the band.
  • If appropriate, the band plays songs that get the audience involved. This might entail hand-clapping, singing along, dancing a specific dance etc.
  • The band does not try to play songs that it cannot perform competently. The songs are in the vocalist’s range and the players are strong enough to play the songs almost effortlessly. Nothing is ‘forced.
  • When playing covers, the band picks songs that the audience is familiar with. There are no obscure songs that throw the audience for a loop unless there is a specific purpose for those songs.
  • The band knows what songs that the audience expects to hear from them and has them well rehearsed.
  • The band knows when to copy cover tunes exactly and when to put their own spin on them.

The Look

  • The band’s overall appearance is appropriate for the venue, the audience and the genre.
  • The band’s look makes them stand out from other acts of the same genre, creating a unique and identifiable image. This is especially true if there is a lead singer who is the ‘voice and look’ of the band.
  • Every musician’s dress is consistent with the rest of the group. No one is trying to outshine anyone else unless it is done on purpose.
  • The band looks like they are having fun. Everyone is smiling, laughing etc.
  • The band knows how to use the stage. The members are spread out and balanced across the stage.
  • The lead singer knows how to use the stage, singing to everyone in the venue.
  • The band members play off each other.
  • The band moves. This is especially true in fast dance songs. There are no ‘stiffs’ on stage.
  • Choreography, if utilized, is tight.
  • The stage show is well rehearsed so everyone knows what everyone else is going to do.
  • The instruments and amplifiers are well kept.
  • The lighting is appropriate for the venue, the act’s clothing, the player’s complexions etc. The lighting tech knows who to shine the spotlight on at any given time.

The Performance

  • The band is engaging, interesting and entertaining. The performance is exhilarating, refreshing and unique. There is nothing ho-hum about it at all. Every member is ‘on’ 100% of the time,
  • The band plays to the audience, not just to themselves or to each other.
  • The band appreciates and respects the audience and lets them know it. They start on time, play longer if appropriate etc.
  • The banter with the audience is well planned. There is no meaningless, mood-busting chatter, and no dead air because no one can think of anything to say. Every word is respectful as well as appropriate for the venue and the genre.
  • The lead singer uses dynamics and song choice to lead the crowd through a wide array of emotions.
  • The band leads the audience in how they should act. If the audience should clap their hands, someone on stage starts clapping their hands. If the audience should dance, the band leads by moving with the beat.
  • The band acts professionally in every thing they do and say, before, during and after the show.
  • The band is consistently great every time a fan sees them.[/private_member]
About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.