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GIGS & BEYOND - Tough Night? Piece of Cake
By Cyrus Rhodes - 05/17/2010 - 01:28 PM EDT

Ask anyone who has been touring for an extensive period of time, or played in a live circuit regularly - having a tough crowd, off night, belligerent hecklers, whatever is just a reality of the music business. How you handle it will determine how much of a professional you really are onstage. Yes these things have happened to Grammy winning Artists at some point in their career, so why shouldn't they happen to you. Below are things that will minimize the impact they will have on you as a performer. Hey - this stuff really works. 

ICE CUBE HURLER OR HECKLER Ė Yep Iíve seen this guy before. There is a right and wrong way to handle this one. Remember if you are having a good night and the majority of the crowd is with you have the advantage. Stop the show mid-song calmly announce that if it this guy doesnít cease and desist, the show will stop. Iíve seen crowds turn on these individuals making them either stop of leave the establishment. If they are with a date itís even more humiliating. Again this works like a charm if youíre having a good night. Resist the urge to pull an Axl Rose.

TOUGH CROWD - Most artists take this way to personally. Iíve seen this happen mostly on weeknight slots. The reality is it has nothing to do with you or your performance. First double check to see if the sound system to working properly If that checks out there are many things you can do to get the crowd pumped up. For example verse shout outs, putting a hand to your ear, donít be to overcompensating for attention, and even hand-slapping. If a certain song sparks interest play songs comparable to it. Again itís your job to pump-up the crowd. You are the entertainer, itís what they are paying you for. Keep delivering good music, eventually theyíll come around.

NO CROWD ďThe Big EmptyĒ Ė Most inexperienced artists will want to quit the moment this happens. The truth is it happens all the time to new bands So if you find yourself playing to a room of a half dozen homeless dudes give the show everything you got! Make this small show a memorable experience for everyone. Laugh it off, have fun with it and be a good sport. Trust me they will be grateful for the effort, and will never forget what you did for them,  

HAVING A BAD or OFF NIGHT - For what ever reason you can expect these nights. Nothing will go right no matter how hard you try. Amps not working, stings breaking, sound system malfunctions, lame crowd, you name it. When this happens you must find a way to just get through the show. Realize off nights area reality of the business sometimes. Keep telling yourself 5 songs to go and Iím out of here. .  

BAND MEMBER NO SHOW Ė Think thereís no way to pull this one off, guess again. Believe it or not Iíve seen mostly cover bands get over this hurdle by simply asking if thereís anyone that could play either Drums or Bass. The chances are pretty good if the draw is big and the songs are popular youíll be in luck.   

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