How do you want your band remembered?
Have you ever noticed how some concerts are just that, a “concert,” and some are an all-out party where you feel you are as much a part as the guys on stage? You may have walked away from some concerts wishing you would have just listened to their CD at home and saved a few bucks. The CD was actually better. So how can you create that amazing concert every time you play, and begin to build an army of followers?
Obviously you don’t want an army of mindless, robot zombies for an audience. But what about an ever growing number of active fans who can’t stop talking about you? How can you walk off stage having added a room full of raving fans to your mailing list, and increased the number of people spreading the word about who you are?
What is it that makes the difference between “just an average show” and a concert experience your audience can’t stop raving about? The key word in that last sentence is “experience.” Not “experience” as in skill or knowledge, but “experience” as in surrounding your audience with sights and sounds that amplify and intensify your music and message. Unforgettable concerts immerse you in a concert experience where you cannot help but be filled with the energy of the music.
“So how can I do that?”
Seeing your band from the perspective of the audience can help you create an amazing concert experience. You can be the best dressed, have awesome visuals, even the best sound, but if the audience’s only response to your show is a hand clap, how many of your shows do you think they will attend? Will they even remember who you are? What will they say to their friends about the show? “It was okay,” or “They were all right; I kind of liked the music?” But how do you get your audience to say, “It was the best concert ever!!”
Years ago, Van Halen made me feel like I was standing right beside him, indulging in his every wild gesture, moved to tears from the excitement and letting go with abandonment at the same time. He was playing to me. The crowd went wild when he stepped off the stage to look me in the face as he played a few lines. I was every person in that audience. The whole band’s energy was contagious. Others also had their two seconds of fame when they were handed the microphone to sing a few lines. Everyone was stoked. There was nothing else going on in the world at that moment but the life in that room. The entire stadium was hanging by a thread for three hours straight. To say it was an incredible night would be a major understatement. Let’s talk about how you can create that same type of unforgettable concert…
Mind control made easy
Of course I’m not actually talking about “mind control.” But just like Van Halen in the story above, you want to create and maintain a level of influence and connection with your audience that they will never forget.
Don’t let the stage separate you from your audience! Being above the ocean of people allows you to better capture your crowd. All eyes are on you, watching your every move. Your rapport with your audience will get you anything you want. Your connection with your fans should start long before the concert. Join the crowd before the show, talk to your fans, sign autographs, and even stay after the concert to continue the party and connect with your fans even more. This may seem like common sense to you, but are you really doing it? It’s one thing for a band to be there before and after their time on stage to watch the other bands and perhaps talk to a few people, but it’s much more powerful when a band makes it a point to make friends with everyone they can in the audience.
One thing to realize is that your fans are your family. Talk to your fans; tell them what you expect them to do at your shows. Ask and they will follow. Lead and they will imitate. Just like an ocean wave, the energy you put out there will ripple across the audience and back to you.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers has the knack of getting the whole crowd to jump up and down. How? By jumping themselves. Have you ever been in a concert where the lead singer moshes across the audience and back? He joined in, became one of them, and the crowd went nuts. Do you want your audience to sing along, wave their hands, jump, yell, dance and scream? Whether through your words or through your actions, ask and it’s yours. For that moment in time, your band is the center of their world.
Janis Joplin described her concerts as making love to twenty-five thousand people. She said it’s like the incredible connection usually only felt by falling in love the first time, yet multiplied by the entire audience. Can you capture that same passion for your audience? Show them you actually care about them more than the money they put in your pocket. Give them more than they expect and get more in return. If big-name bands can do it, so can you. Watch them, learn from them.
Getting your audience involved is a matter of action, a lot of playful action. From connecting with your audience before and after your concerts, to surrounding them with things that amplify and reinforce your band’s energy, to asking your fans to get involved exactly the way you want them to, truly connect with your audience and you will grow an army of loyal fans.
But it doesn’t stop there
If you can move the emotions of the audience with participation, what do you think would turn them from fans into fanatics? Think about how to appeal to all of their senses. Surround them with every part of your unique self. What imagery could you put with your music? What lighting, clothing, sounds, and more will pull them into knowing and being a part of who you are? Everything about the show should scream your message and the response you expect from your audience. The show is more about the full concert experience than the music. Take some time to talk with your band about different ways you can truly connect with your audience. Then write those things down and start doing them! Lead your army where you want it to go and they will follow.
Find the mentors and coaches you need, those that can help you create amazing and unforgettable concerts. You don’t have to walk the road to success alone. Get this free twelve day mini-course on how to turn your rock band into a success. In addition, test yourself in this free rock band success test. If nothing else, I hope you have taken this article to heart.
About the Author: On the ridged and often dangerous path to “making it” in the music industry, Draven Grey has been described as a friend, guide, and schoolmaster. Draven is a professional musician, producer, artist development specialist for Rockstar Mindset, and rock band success coach with Tom Hess and Alex Staropoli. To find out more, visit Rockstar Mindset.