Why I Arrive Early to a Gig (and you should too)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Mr.MadMan, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. Hey guys,

    Man it´s been a while hasn´t it.
    For the past few months i´ve been wondering if it is better to come early to a gig or not. It got the best of me and i decided to do a test.

    The back story

    After taking the decision i attended a few gigs early. An average of 2 and a half hours before. Although some may feel this is a bad move due to people seeing you lurking around and because it´s mostly a waste of time. I too thought at first that this is not needed due to people seeing you. There is an unwritten rule that a performer must come on stage without anyone pre-seeing him. But this seemed to be impossible for me since i usually wanted to see the stage/setting and calculate my movements. Also a bit of practice and getting used to the scene is suggested to get a full feel of the atmosphere for maximum confidence.
    So i attended the gigs a bit earlier than most performers would like to(counting out musicians who have to set up their gear). This got me thinking that would there be a performance setback if i came a few minutes before or a few hours before.

    Coming a few hours early

    When i showed up at a gig a few hours before i got the chance to see the atmosphere and get used to the rooms. Also it saved me a lot of fuss concerning the layout of the building. Eg. where the bathroom is or where i could get a drink or two before the show. I had no trouble dodging any unwanted attention. Also i find it fascinating how cool musicians are. I spent a few moments with the guys who i would be sharing the stage with. I also warmed myself up by doing a few effects thus making them feel special and actually come and see the show.(it worked btw)
    Also i chatted with the manager of the place and the man who was supposed to say a few opening remarks about me. The manager got hit in the face with new knowledge of me and was pretty excited for asking me to perform. Also he gave me insight about hecklers and the situation of the party. He showed me where to get free coffee and food(i loved the man since i had not eaten for a few hours also i´m a big fan of free stuff, who isn´t right). Also i had a chat with the man who introduced me and gave him insight to how magic is doing and what i am and how i act. This was awesome because he literally took what i told him added jokes and probably gave the best introduction i have had in my whole life. We talked a lot after my gig and he took my contact information(win) for the future. A good point towards future gigs. Also meeting everyone who put together the evening and not only talking about magic but life in general, for a young guy like me information from people is the best.

    So what did i gain?
    *insight of the gig itself and the people i was performing to
    *i got to practice before my show
    * met some really cool people

    A few moments earlier

    Now as i´m a beginner performer this was a challenge. I had no time on stage so i had to gain knowledge as i did my effects. Calculate angles and so on, also i had no information about the people i was performing for. This wasnt a big set back because a lot of performances are like this and are somewhat more fun for me. But i like to know what im up for if i´m peforming for a crowd of 50-70 people. It´s more intimate than a 200 person gig. Also i had a problem with my setup which was caused by rushing into things since i was going on stage really fast. I mixed up a few pockets and it was a bit messy, no big problem tho but i´m a perfectionist.
    Also i had almost no time to get to know what people were the business so some of my problems were unsolved. Also the place didn´t have a backstage(i was behind the curtains in a very dark place ON THE STAGE WHERE I WAS PERFORMING). Also it turned out i picked a comedian for a trick, he made some jokes but i picked him for the wrong effect. Pissed me off a bit, would have loved to know he was in there. Also i wasnt at all as confident as i was with the few hours before gig.
    For me it wasn´t the best option. As i´m still learning a lot and don´t have as much knowledge with gigs as a pro.

    So what did i gain?
    *The worst heckler of all: a comedian.
    *Experience(the best of all)
    *Always pre-arrange your set at home
    *They probably wont ask me to come back because i didn´t have a chance to talk to the managment and first and foremost win their approval of me and thus get their credit and live up to what i said. I just did my set and that was it.


    I´d like to say that if you are a beginner try to show up at least an hour before. It will improve your people skills, get you into the vibe and give you an insight to whats going on. I hate storming in without a clue, i always have.
    Also always have your set prearranged if you do a fast gig(show up a few moments before and take off after your set). This will eliminate any suprises with backstages.

    What are your views on the subject?
    I´d like to hear anything you have to say from your experience for me and mostly for the benefit of others.

  2. That's some really good advice! I never thought about it that way before, but by showing up early you open many more doors to have a better show as well as expand your career, great post!

    One question though, what about a restaurant? How early do you think you should show up to that?

  3. When im doing table magic, i turn up about 20 mins early. I have everything prearranged with management and meet them before to show my skills, i go straight in, sign in and start performing right away. i feel that usually the venue is pretty quiet and so i get the early birds who are waiting for a larger group. This i find works perfectly as im still pretty new to this myself, From performing to these people which is usually just groups of 2 at this time, i can get rid off all nerves on these people and later when thier larger group turns up, i find that just by walking by the group, i get introduced and they sell me to the rest of the group. This is brilliant as it gets rid of having to go up to strangers and introducing yourself as they are doing it for you. this gives me such a large confidence boost that i destroy this group, have great fun and can bring these positive emotions to the next group that i have to walk over too, therefore making a better performance for everyone else i perform to.

    in short, turning up early is what works for me, but that is because it fits my style.

    Mr.MadMan you weighed up the positives and negatives greatly and i still feel, early is better.
  4. Yes i havent done these things in a while and got carried away with my own favourite view, but there is a big difference between restaurant work and stage performance. Restaurant work for me is not a typical gig, it´s a specialty that has it´s own set of rules and ways of dealing with things. My post does not really cover the topics a restaurant/bar worker would experience in real life because i´m not a restaurant worker and this post was not written in that sense. But to clarify and still keep the discussion going as a restaurant worker it is better to come a few moments before due to the bizarre nature of the "stage". When people see you chilling around it might put them into a negative mood towards you, as is with stage work where coming and fiddling with stuff a few moments before the show is not reccommended.
    On the other side if you are there for the first or second time you still need to take some time and see how the waiters work. (correct me if this can be done whilst performing)

    Although i agree with you that probably showing up a few moments before your restaurant job is better than an hour before and i really like your method.

  5. What are you on about Mikk:p

    Honestly there are many advantages of arriving early adn very few for getting there 5 minutes before the show.

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