Guest Columns

How To Not Be Boring On Stage


Today I’m going to help you out with something that a LOT of musicians/bands struggle with:

Their LIVE performance and stage presence.

So how exactly do you put on a performance so memorable that it gets reviews like this?

screen-shot-2017-05-07-at-11-12-03-am(Thanks Mr. Charlie Charpentier for the kind words!)

The surprisingly simple answer is this:

Do something that NOBODY does.

Think, how many bands have you seen wear neon speedos on stage? How many bands have you seen feature a saxophone player? How many bands have you seen feature a dude standing on his head? Licking his bassist? If you think hard for a couple of minutes, you can probably come up with a big list of things musicians HAVEN’T done.

Remember: Your job is to put on a PERFORMANCE. If people want to listen to your music, they can do that from home.

(I underestimated how short those shorts were)

Your stage performance doesn’t need to be as extreme as the examples above but it MUST be unique. Here are four things to think about when figuring out how to position your live performances differently:

Don’t feel self conscious for doing something different.

This self-conscious feeling is what is preventing OTHER musicians from breaking the mold. If you can push through it and execute on your stage ideas, this will immediately set you apart from other musicians.

There’s nothing wrong with planning out what you are going to do beforehand.

The problem arises when it’s the exact same thing that other bands do (example: headbanging in unison, jogging in place). This falls short simply because it’s both preplanned AND frequently done. You are effectively standing out enough for people to notice that you are doing something that has already been done before.

Ask yourself how you can interact with the crowd.

One of the quickest ways to leave an impression on your audience is to engage them directly during your live performance. On one tour we had the crowd do pushups every night. You can bet your bottom dollar that the audience will never forget that show.

(One of our earlier shows. Everyone left significantly buffer than when they arrived.)

Plan out your antics for the parts when your songs aren’t as strong.

Losing the attention/focus of your audience is deadly. If you strategically place audience engagement sections in parts where the music isn’t inherently engaging, you’ll minimize the risk of people losing interest.

For example, during a slow part of one of our songs, it’s pretty common that my band and I would dance around like slithering snakes. You could instantly see the audience’s eyes light up whenever we did this.

Merch is one of your biggest sources of income for any band. The way that people buy merch is by going to shows and seeing your live performance. So good performances really equate to more income! Not to mention, a whole lotta fun!

Now I’m going to flip it back to you: what are some of the most interesting things that you’ve seen a band/musician do on stage? I’d love to hear your stories!

As an aside, if you want to see more of me, check out my channel Riffshop where I do dumb things!


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