Feel the fear and do it anyway: upcoming gig anxiety

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Moriarty, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. Moriarty

    Moriarty Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    228
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2018
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Wow. Thank you.
    I am overwhelmed. You guys are really awesome and I appreciate the encouragement. There is a lot of good advice here.
     
    Chicago Matt likes this.
  2. Recce

    Recce Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,242
    Joined:
    May 3, 2016
    Location:
    Northern Alabama
    Next Wednesday I am going to do an open mic for the first time in over a year. I am nervous and I am practicing my songs. The comments on this thread are helpful to me also. I have only done this a couple times.
     
    ecoast and Moriarty like this.
  3. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Posts:
    16,198
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Location:
    Iowa City, IA
    Here's a very practical bit of advice, something that works and is something you can do right now. What is it?

    simplify

    If you think you're going to be nervous and possibly become flustered, take a few days and rethink things. Too many pedals to keep track of onstage? Do you have a cool way of playing things that really sound great, as well as a backup EZ way of playing a song?

    Think of it as just part of show-biz. The show must go on, means that even when things go wrong onstage, you've got to get yourself out of it. Being able to simplify is an indispensable skill to have.
     
  4. Moriarty

    Moriarty Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    228
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2018
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    By co-headlining I mean we're going on last after some established bands. We had planned a full on collaboration - learning each other's songs and backing each other up, mixing my stuff and his.
    The problem is he and I have spent the summer taking turns having health problems and we both have heavy family obligations.
    He still wants to do the whole collaboration thing, but we have a month to rehearse and can barely scrape together one meeting per week.
    I think I'm going to just suggest we do separate sets, and if he doesn't make it, I will go it alone
     
  5. Moriarty

    Moriarty Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    228
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2018
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I will try to be honestly smiling whewh I get up there.
    I can't call in sick though. I put this show together! I'm friends with at least one person in every band. A lot of us go back to high school
     
  6. Moriarty

    Moriarty Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    228
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2018
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    This is key. A bare bones set, just me and my Tele and the songs. One pedal.
    If the collaboration falls apart, so be it.
    I can still play
     
    Chicago Matt likes this.
  7. Moriarty

    Moriarty Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    228
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2018
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    You got this. Have fun out there
     
    Recce likes this.
  8. Moriarty

    Moriarty Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    228
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2018
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I am certain I will be surrounded by friends who will tell me it was great even if I suck. Which I will not.
    So yes. That. Thank you
     
    boneyguy likes this.
  9. Moriarty

    Moriarty Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    228
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2018
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    We had planned to learn each other's songs and back each other up but health problems and family obligations got in the way. I suggested separate sets but he still wants to go full on.
    He is nervous too.
    I think the show is too close - one month out - to overcome scheduling crap.
    He's already missed one "jam."
    I think I'm just going to put together the best set I can, rehearse it, and go
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
  10. Flaneur

    Flaneur Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,397
    Joined:
    May 24, 2010
    Location:
    Scotland
    Regarding anxiety: I try to maintain a flat demeanour, on the way to a gig. If I get over excited at the thought of a big show, I start making mistakes- even silly stuff, like forgetting lyrics or keys. I'll usually tape a set list on the back of my Tele- it's one less thing to fret about, under the lights.

    Good luck- and don't be too hard on your buddy. He's probably a bit worried, too. :)
     
    Moriarty likes this.
  11. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    62,533
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    Stressing doesn’t help.
    I try to remember that my performances are not all about me.
    They are interactive and respectful.
    When I was about 25, after gigging for roughly 10 years, I realized that all the eyes in the room were not on me.
    From that point on, I just did the best I could, and quit being apprehensive.
    Performing should be fun, or why bother?
     
    Moriarty and nojazzhere like this.
  12. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    792
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Location:
    CoolsVille
    A few weeks ago I played in front of people for the first time in a few years. I am typically a quiet & somewhat reserved person in public (without a guitar in hand), but when on stage it all goes away. I'm focused on the task at hand & "they" exist but are secondary to what's going on.

    By now I've played enough to know that even mistakes I think are huge are often either unnoticed by the average spectator or soon forgotten about as there is always another note, lyric, beat, or beer to take in.

    For the most part I've just been playing guitar & only recently started trying to sing & play at the same time, so I can relate to the struggle. I've found thinking less & just doing seems to be working. Seeing as you have some experience here, I would guess if you just let it happen ,it will.

    At my job I often feel like a fraud, but I've been there over twenty years so even if I don't think I'm all that, I must be doing ok. Give yourself a little credit. It's a benefit & you're helping. That's good stuff right there.
     
    Moriarty likes this.
  13. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    7,448
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Location:
    Indiana
    You just need one person to enjoy it. Look around the audience for him or her.

    Then play for that person.

    That's how you start to work a room. Getting that one will lead to another, then another, and so on. Get a critical mass going and you can move the whole room.

    It helps not to take yourself too seriously.
     
    ecoast and Moriarty like this.
  14. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    532
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2019
    Location:
    Scootchin' Over
    You know, in my own experience, when I put things together and stress about them, they always work out great. So will yours. I never have regrets and after the first 10 seconds of butterflies pass, I forget the stress and start having fun. Think about that when you smile. It'll be great.
     
    Moriarty likes this.
  15. Moriarty

    Moriarty Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    228
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2018
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Me and my buddy finally got together last night to work out some stuff. It went ok. Still hedging bets and planning on a solo set.
    I have never actually played with another guitar player before, and it was humbling. We've decided I will play simple bass on his songs. It's less for me to focus on and/or screw up.
    He had no problem coming up with complementary parts for my stuff, or at least it sounded good to me.
    Now he is hesitant about us meshing in a live setting. I think it's because I'm very rusty and I was never all that great to begin with. I only ever wanted to play well enough to back myself up. Alone, my little rhythmic hiccups and playing eccentricities don't make other people fumble.
    I don't know. He's hesitant now, I am ready to keep trying. Weird how we switched places on that.
    I'm still nervous but determined. Last night's mediocrity only strengthened my resolve to do better. There was a time a rehearsal like that so close to a gig would have lead me into despair and fantasies about canceling the gig.
     
  16. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    195
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2019
    Location:
    Earth
    You'll be fine, trust me. Been performing for years and even to this day, we all get a bit nervous beforehand. I'm usually worrying about the sound man, gear, heads blowing up in the middle of the set, screwy stuff like that. None of what I was worried about ever actually happens. In the end, the crowd has a good time, we have a good time, and we're usually getting encores to do more! So... my worrying is for nothing and I know that. But, it's what I do and many others do as well. You'll get past this gig and within minutes of the curtain close you'll say to yourself "what the heck was I so nervous about?" ;)
     
    Moriarty likes this.
  17. drumtime

    drumtime Tele-Meister

    Age:
    68
    Posts:
    243
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2018
    Location:
    the mountains of Virginia
    A friend and I just started a project where different players from local bands get together on an off night at a local venue and just jam -- literally no songs, just make stuff up on the spot. The idea is just to have fun, enjoy each other's creativity in the moment, and help our most supportive venue sell some beer on Tuesday night.

    Last night we had 3 guitar players, a drummer, a percussionist, a keyboard player who we called an hour before the show, and a bass player who is an old friend just happened to be in town & showed up to listen, not knowing who was even playing. None of us except the drummer and I had ever played together before.

    Sounds like a recipe for disaster, or at least some nervous apprehension, but it was a killer show, with people dancing til the last note. The audience was small -- Tuesday night and all -- but very enthusiastic.

    All that to say, attitude counts for a lot. If you're having fun up there, and pumping out some nice music, the crowd is very likely to have fun with you.
     
    Moriarty and ecoast like this.
  18. Recce

    Recce Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,242
    Joined:
    May 3, 2016
    Location:
    Northern Alabama
    So I went. I played Please Come to Boston, She’s Not There and Can’t You See. I did just fine. Not awesome but the audience liked my songs.

    I am going to do it again in a couple weeks.
     
    Moriarty likes this.
  19. Octorfunk

    Octorfunk Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    371
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2014
    Location:
    Midwest
    Funny, I was just having a conversation about this an hour ago with friends

    I'm a solidly average guitar player and singer. Not great, but have worked on my craft enough to get paid to do it occasionally.

    But to the average person showing up at the gig/benefit who most likely has very little (if any) musical ability, they see someone doing something that they personally could never do.

    The people showing up at this benefit only dream they could sing and play guitar the way you do, and in front of other people on top of that. A little flub here and there will not only be quickly forgotten, it will probably go completely unnoticed to begin with.

    I had a similar situation a couple months ago. Got asked to play a couple hours for a fundraiser, which I have only done once or twice. I obsessed endlessly over the setlist, practiced daily for weeks leading up to it, made tons of tweaks to the setlist, then during the event only made it halfway through my material and it was over.
     
    Moriarty likes this.
  20. Modman68

    Modman68 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    712
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    Location:
    La mesa
    You are getting lots of good advice here. I can only add two things.

    Some of my best shows were after bad sound check/ rehearsals.


    The audience is on your side! They want you to be entertaining and will cut you all kind of slack in order to enjoy it.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Telekarster and Moriarty like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.