– by Brendan Reid, Editor –
As a musician just starting out in a live band, I was on a steep learning curve. Each performance was—and continues to be—a technical adventure. Until you are on that stage playing, you can never really know the venue’s set up or how eccentric the sound tech will be. With each concert, I felt as though I learned something new, be it in terms of my own musical ability, my technical prowess with the equipment, or my ever-evolving sense of self on the stage. While riding that learning curve through the early shows, it became abundantly clear just how important the fans are to the performance, and how we as musicians need to respect them.
As a musician and concertgoer, I have come to appreciate that figure more then ever. Truly, the fans legitimize the existence of a band. When your band is starting out, your fans consist mainly of your friends and family. The initial success of a show depends on the persistence of your promotion and networking. And of course, no matter how loyal your friends are, you must put on a good show to keep them engaged and keep them coming back to future events. Once you have the technical aspects of your promotion and performance down to a science and your product is something you are truly proud of, word will spread from your friends and across the web, and your fan base will grow.
Once a true fan base is established, an unspoken rule of mutual respect develops between the performers and the audience. As a performer, you have an obligation to your fans, and should always be thankful for where they have taken you. Their support allows you to fulfill your dreams as a musician, and you must do everything in your power to put on a good show, put out the best product you can, and keep a line of open communication.
As a fan, there is much you can do to support the artist. Going to shows is the best way to show your dedication, as concert tickets are one of the most consistent ways that a band can make their profits, and successful shows help ensure further bookings. Keep in mind that musicians are human, and are susceptible to the mistakes and changes we all are. Records take a long time to create, and sometimes things can go wrong during shows, even professional ones. A positive feedback loop between artist and audience can be achieved with patience and good humor, Complaining and frustration create a negative atmosphere that is exceedingly difficult to pull out of, for musician and fan alike. Likewise, by staying in a fun, positive state of mind the fan can influence the environment, creating a better show in the long run.
That is not only the case for a show with technical difficulties. Picture a concert where the audience is all sitting quietly vs an audience where the crowd is going crazy, feeding the musicians and creating energy. Isn’t that energy, after all, what live music is all about? Fans are an integral part of the music scene, and not only do they help make an evening fun and exciting, they can make or break the career of an artist. So be sure show your love!