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opening for national act?


Eric VB

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It's no different than any other gig. Aside from the fact that there may be hundreds or thousands more people.

Just remember, they're regular folks like you. They might even come in and cheer you on.

Have fun Eric.

Visit my band's new web site.

 

www.themojoroots.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It is different from other gigs, other than you probably won't get as much money as you are worth.

 

The crowd may not pay attention to you. They will still be coming in, or may not even be there yet. If they don't like you, they may really let you know.

 

Don't expect great sound. Many sound men seem to sabotage the opening act so it won't compete with the main act.

 

But give it your all and you might make some new fans.

I've bought cds by opening acts whom I have liked.

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I recommend as little as possible of the "Hello, Cleveland, are you ready to rock?!?!" stuff. I'm going by my experiences attending rock concerts, maybe those jam-band audiences are different, and I can't remember what style of music you play.

KNOW the Audience and tailor your set accordingly. Nothing sets up an opening act for failure like a concert promoter booking a thrash-metal band opening for Phish.

 

Let's say I'm the typical concert-goer who's a fan of the headliner, unless I know one of the band members personally, the only thing I care about is when the hell the band I came to see is going to be on.

The opening act should let the music do the talking in order to get my attention while I'm checking out the headliner's merch, the girls, the line for beer, and looking for my best opportunity to get past security to get close to the front row.

 

If your lead singer is likely to be nervous, or is the typical attention-getter and babble between songs, make sure the drummer is ready to count off the next song. Let the music do the talking.

 

Other than that, I think opeing for a big act is a great time to play your best original songs, keeping the audience in mind.

Enjoy the experience of appearing before more people than you probably ever have. I envy you the opportunity, and I hope it goes well.

 

Oh, and I double dog dare your band to do a cover of the headliner's biggest hit song. ;)

"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet

 

Guitar solos last 30 seconds, the bass line lasts for the whole song.

 

 

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You may not get to use the whole stage--the drummer for the headliner may have his drums set up on the drum riser, covered with a tarp. Your drummer will then have to set up next to, or in front of, the riser, which will limit the amount of usable stage space.

 

You may not get any backstage space. That's just the way it goes sometimes. This means you'll not have a dressing room or any real room (other than in the main part of the venue) to sorta hang out, change, have a bite or just generally prepare. And take it from someone who has experienced it, the headliner will probably not let you hang out with them in the dressing/green room. Awkward.

 

Your set time may be severely cut, delayed or otherwise tampered with. Suck it up--them's the breaks.

 

As previously mentioned, the sound may very well suck--the monitor mix may be lousy, etc. Chances are pretty good the sound person will not make it better even if you complain. In fact, just don't complain--it's likely to get worse.

 

The lighting will probably be minimal and not exciting. That stuff is reserved for the headliners. If you are lucky, you will be able to see the front edge of the stage.

 

Your pay will most likely suck. What else is new, right?

 

As for performance suggestions... yeah, like the folks above mentioned, just play like you would normally. Do your best, be well rehearsed and make the most of the exposure by using as much of your stage time for playing songs, not rock-talking ("How you doing out there?" etc) or anything else wacky... unless that's your act.

 

I've done opening gigs in the past where the booking agent came up to me after our set and told me we looked more like headliners then the actual headliners. That's the kind of stuff you wanna hear. I know one that opening gig wound up securing us at least four other good (paying) gigs as a result. Reputations are built this way.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Captain Obvious here...

Who are you opening for?

Prefer not to say, I get it.

 

Go out there, have fun, play your a** off. Will many notice, probably not. Will you be better then the headliner? You got a shot. Watch out for potential Blues Brothers/Country Bunker incidents minus the chicken wire.

If you think my playing is bad, you should hear me sing!
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[...] I can't remember what style of music you play.
This is with the country band, Raw Sugar.

Who are you opening for?
Gretchen Wilson

KNOW the Audience and tailor your set accordingly. Nothing sets up an opening act for failure like a concert promoter booking a thrash-metal band opening for Phish.
Raw Sugar plays new/young country covers including Gretchen Wilson. It'll be a good fit. The guy setting this up is uber cool, too.

Oh, and I double dog dare your band to do a cover of the headliner's biggest hit song. ;)
Her hit, "Here for the Party", is one of our best crowd pleasers. It makes our job that much harder by having to skip it.

 

To everyone, you've given some great advice. I really appreciate it.

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At least you're not opening for Slayer. That is probably one of the hardest gigs known to metal acts. There are about four bands who can open for Slayer without being drowned out by boos and people chanting "SLAYER! SLAYER!" over their set.

 

I'm sure Gretchen Wilson's audience is similar.

 

More stuff to keep in mind (my memory sometimes kicks in after the fact):

 

Sometimes the headliners are really, really outgoing folks, and they'll go out of their way to be friendly, say hi to the opening acts and hang out. Other times... well, not so much. Sometimes you'll get very specific requests from the headliner's crew, like "Don't go near the buffet between 6pm and 8pm" or "Don't ask for autographs" or, on the weird side, "If you see (the headliner), don't make eye contact or try to engage them in any way." Almost like you're meeting a giant feral cat in the wild.

 

And yes, this has happened to me. Some people have been on the road too long and need to get over themselves. You'd be suprised how many people come off as personable, friendly folks in the media but are then kind of a-holes behind the scenes when the cameras and press aren't around. And vice-versa. You'll find out.

 

Anyway, for the most part, it's probably best to do the whole mouse thing backstage--stay out of the way and be inconspicuous until you get a lay of the land. Try to get (and remember) people's names. Listen to the stage manager--they tend to know what is going on.

 

As with most gigs, have your gear rigged in such a way as to allow you to break down and set up quickly. While this is always important, it's doubly so on these gigs. The stage crew will most likely have little-to-no patience with sluggish load-outs, so the faster you can make that happen, the better. One band I knew had a solid opening slot with a minor touring act (1,200 seaters) for two months, and they were allowed a total of 35 minutes onstage every night, including set-up and breakdown, before the road crew would come in and start "helping" them with the gear. This translated to some not-so-ginger handling of their amps and other stuff. The band learned to handle these processes with great speed and accuracy after about two shows. I've personally seen that whole band (including drums) set up in less than five minutes. Impressive.

 

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Nothing wrong with country music in my book, and Gretchen Wilson is not only easy on the eyes,

 

Good luck with the show.

"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet

 

Guitar solos last 30 seconds, the bass line lasts for the whole song.

 

 

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Sir,

 

If you have not yet worn The Shirt , perhaps you should have my band take your place. Did you wear The Sirt ....??? hmmmm??? Did you????

 

 

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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Congratulations! Sounds like it will be a good time. I can't give any advice but it seems all of the major acts that I have been around have been cool, but the local "major" acts that I haved opened for are total pricks.

 

I'm sure the country folks will be cool.

How do you sign a computer screen?

 

 

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Sir,

 

If you have not yet worn The Shirt , perhaps you should have my band take your place. Did you wear The Sirt ....??? hmmmm??? Did you????

 

:D

 

The Shirt scares me. :eek:

 

Which band of yours is doing country now? Rock or blues? :o:D

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At least you're not opening for Slayer. That is probably one of the hardest gigs known to metal acts. There are about four bands who can open for Slayer without being drowned out by boos and people chanting "SLAYER! SLAYER!" over their set.
Wow. At least it would be a pleasant change from bar gigs with people shouting "FREEBIRD!" :D

 

Thanks for the detailed insight, bro. You rock! :cool:

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Sir,

 

If you have not yet worn The Shirt , perhaps you should have my band take your place. Did you wear The Sirt ....??? hmmmm??? Did you????

 

:D

 

The Shirt scares me. :eek:

 

Which band of yours is doing country now? Rock or blues? :o:D

 

Gretchen W. will be doing country.... I think the blues band would be a nice opening act...

 

Really, congrats!! Good luck.

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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Wow, congrats on opening for Gretchen! :thu:

I've warmed up for some semi-national acts in the past that it was implied that they got to use our equipment. They just showed up with their guitars. Then they bitched about our stuff. At least you won't have to do that.

It sounds like everybody has already given good advice so just enjoy yourself. Lucky dog!!

Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.

http://www.myspace.com/theeldoradosband

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That's pretty awesome. My family back in Bumpkinville, FL would poop a squirrel if I opened for her.

 

In her video for Redneck Woman she even looks like she put in a genuine effort to look like she hadn't just been shown that power chord before getting in front of the camera. :D

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I've warmed up for some semi-national acts in the past that it was implied that they got to use our equipment. They just showed up with their guitars. Then they bitched about our stuff. At least you won't have to do that.

 

This happened to my band once. We were the one of the support bands for an Aussie band on it's way up the indie charts and they 'apparently' asked to use our gear. I hadn't been asked so I was sketchy on the whole thing from the get go. Anywho they turn up to sound check and are incredibly rude, forced us to get off stage so they could do theirs and then complained about the gear as well.

 

So....

 

We played our set, packed our gear and went home. They were not impressed. We thought it was rather funny. :)

 

Moral: Don't bitch about people doing you a favour.

 

 

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...This happened to my band once. We were the one of the support bands for an Aussie band on it's way up the indie charts and they 'apparently' asked to use our gear. I hadn't been asked so I was sketchy on the whole thing from the get go. Anywho they turn up to sound check and are incredibly rude, forced us to get off stage so they could do theirs and then complained about the gear as well.

 

So....

 

We played our set, packed our gear and went home. They were not impressed. We thought it was rather funny. :)

...

 

Great move! :thu:

 

Did you get paid for the gig?

Mudcat's music on Soundclick

 

"Work hard. Rock hard. Eat hard. Sleep hard. Grow big. Wear glasses if you need 'em."-The Webb Wilder Credo-

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This happened to my band once. We were the one of the support bands for an Aussie band on it's way up the indie charts and they 'apparently' asked to use our gear. I hadn't been asked so I was sketchy on the whole thing from the get go. Anywho they turn up to sound check and are incredibly rude, forced us to get off stage so they could do theirs and then complained about the gear as well.

 

So....

 

We played our set, packed our gear and went home. They were not impressed. We thought it was rather funny. :)

 

Moral: Don't bitch about people doing you a favour.

 

 

Pretty funny! I have to admit not all were jerks. Rare Earth were pretty cool as the were friendly and offered us some of their food and beer. They used our equipment but were civil about it.

Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.

http://www.myspace.com/theeldoradosband

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Do what we did:

Sneak into the "green room" backstage and swipe the "stars" water, eat her M&M's, and while her band is away at the hotel, ride around on the Segway they asked for, but missed while away at the hotel.

 

:D

 

[Edit: Ok, we weren't really "sneaking" because we weren't told we couldn't go in there, however, Kelly's manager didn't like us in there and had a fit when we drank a few of the 2 dozen Fiji water bottles. The Segway was a blast, though - their loss]

A stiffy somewhere in the city sewer system...
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We actually got kicked out of a green room by a big headliner while we were on tour. It was the middle of the winter, and it was freezing outside. As luck would have it, there was nowhere for us to hang out when we weren't playing... other than in the club (which was ridiculously packed) or in our van.

 

Well, as I said, the headliner booted us out of the only dressing room/green room/warm/quiet place in the immediate area... with the help of their huge security team.

 

So, naturally, this aggression could, like, not stand. We waited until we knew the headliner was onstage and snuck back into the green room... because we knew their security would be watching the front of the stage during their set.

 

Let's just say that anything they might have wanted to use or eat after their set was.. ahem... "tainted."

 

Pun intended.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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My advice: Don't be an a-hole.

 

Once while waiting backstage with the Gregg Allman Band, my singer asked Mr. Allman if he had seen Cher lately.

 

What had been a perfectly beautiful evening quickly turned very sour.

My whole trick is to keep the tune well out in front. If I play Tchaikovsky, I play his melodies and skip his spiritual struggle. ~Liberace
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I opened up for Saliva once and literally NEVER saw them. I didn't stay for the show, of course, but you'd think I would have seen the do a sound check or something... nope, it seemed like just roadies.

 

I don't do the hard rock thing anymore, and frankly I really sucked when I did (I'd been playing for not even a year so please hold back thy tomatoes), yet there were way more "important gigs" to be had from that scene, it seems in retrospect. At least in this area.

 

Eric: congrats, play your butt off!

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