This could be the most important gig of your life so far. You’ve managed to get this huge gig from practically begging the promoter to let you play even if it’s a 1 a.m. slot. Your band has been practicing steadily for two months now and you’ve already perfected your epic guitar solo on your brand new Les Paul. The band is ready. You head to the stage, hook up all your instruments, and begin to play your first notes, but from here everything went downhill. The sound levels are insane and you can’t even hear your band mates standing 5 feet away from you, let alone yourself. The sound guy is obviously pissed, the band is pissed, the crowd is pissed. Your band is definitely in dire need of some serious sound check 101.
First off, you should have a good conversation with the sound engineer of the venue before you even set foot on the stage. If you want to appear more professional, you should give him your stage plot. What’s a stage plot? It’s not only an inventory of your instruments, gear and your amps, and where they will be on the stage but it’s also a list of which instruments will be needing a mic and/or a mic stand and if you require a special placement of amps, keyboards, drums and percussion. This stage plot will give the sound guy an idea how you like your set up and will lessen unforeseen technical difficulties on the gig itself. this will eliminate a lot of the stress as you get to the stage. Relaxing is also key before the show, you want to relax your wrist and fingers from playing and practicing so you will be at peak performance. One way I have found that works is to play video games or online games to relax my mind and have a little alone time. If you’re into casino games such as Blackjack and Roulette, you can play on your browser or download the games online right from the dressing room. You can practice your gaming strategies and skills online without the hassle of going to a real casino. You can also practice your casino skills with Microsoft Studios’ World Series of Poker: Full House Pro coming in March for Xbox.
After playing some poker to get off some steam, you can resume on preparing for the gig and a sound check is just as important as the gig. As far as the gig itself, it’s important to arrive on time and sober. Let your manager or someone from your band coordinate with the sound guy regarding the stage plot if you gave him one and your plans for the show. If not, explain thoroughly to the sound guy how you want your set up. Get your instruments and gear ready, it should take no longer than ten minutes tops to get your gear out and ready, and make sure they are all tuned. Never tune on stage even if it’s a sound check, it will seem amateurish. Let each member play their instrument separately on stage and play some loud and soft songs to get a feel of the venue’s sound system and monitors. Always pay attention and look for visual cues from your sound man. Remember, he’s your best friend or your worst enemy and both of you just want to play the best gig ever.