Samuel Carter is the lead singer of a young Huddersfield, garage-rock band called Bad Knaves. In his first blog for Leeds Student Magazine, he shares his own experiences of playing in a band.
Driving your band 100 miles to play for a crowd of 6 people can be a harrowing experience. Here are some things I’ve learnt through playing in a band and my own band related incompetence.
Believe it or not, that giant lump of wood and metal isn’t a delicate little flower with special powers. It was made in a factory by soulless robots. Let people borrow your gear if it’s necessary, especially if you think it’ll improve the sound.
Pubs are fun, and it’s difficult to imagine going to a pub to do anything other than drink away your problems and suck Goldschlaeger through your tear ducts. If someone has been kind enough to offer you a gig then you’re there to perform, and unless you’re Mark E Smith or Shane MacGowan drink won’t do you any favours. It seems that drink makes eccentric people charismatic, but if you’re just a person called Ben who can’t stop writing songs about his ex-girlfriend and “Getting out of this place” it’s going to make you look like a poseur, or just a drunk person called Ben. Save it for afterwards, save it for pudding, it’s your reward for making some people so happy that they clapped their hands at you.
These are useful, especially if all your songs sound the same. They also give you a good idea if you’re overrunning. If you’re too cheap to buy some paper and a sharpie you can always just shout the names of your songs at each other until you’ve decided which song you’ll play next.
Everyone knows that sound engineers are so awestruck when they see your hip, new sneaks and cool haircuts that they’re just desperate to make sure you get the live sound you deserve. Nobody really knows how they do this, just make sure you follow the protocol and don’t make eye contact “More reverb please!”, “A little more in my monitor!” Nobody knows what these words actually mean, but make sure you say them or people will think you unprofessional. Just keep saying numbers into the mic over and over again until they tell you everything is fine.
Talk to people:
New people are scary unless they’re lovely, friendly people with the same interests as you. The chances are that anyone you meet whilst playing is the latter, despite some of their airs and graces. That bloke with lipstick round his eyes, wearing a bell round his neck might just turn out to be a great networking opportunity.
Break a leg:
This is your art, right? You’re a unique, edgy, wildperson and you want to leave a legacy! Gigs where exceptional things happen are memorable, So although you probably shouldn’t go all GG Allin (haven’t heard of him? Google him, you wont regret it), you should certainly make the effort to stand out. Do some walking around, tell some jokes, interact, drink a lit candle, call a bomb scare on the venue. That kind of thing. I used to wear a dead fox around my neck, but it got moths and they ate my nice cardigan.
You can follow the Bad Knaves on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/badknaves
You can like them on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/wearebadknaves
Check out their music here: https://badknaves.bandcamp.com/