This week I want to talk a bit more about the first gig. This time, I want to approach it a bit differently and give you some sense of what’s going on around you and show you which other factors besides your performance will affect how well the gig goes.

Keep the Bar Happy

Bringing friends who drink is a big plus, but if you bring 20 friends who don’t tip and are rude to the bar staff, this will reflect poorly on you. If you’re playing the first opening slot and a bunch of people show up and are partying hard, the bar staff will assume that some of them are your friends. It’s of course good to bring people out, but make sure both you and they treat the bar staff well. This means being patient and polite. And of course tipping is always a huge plus.

Keep the Other Staff Happy

This means bouncers, managers, dancers and other DJs. For your first gig try to act like a professional, even if you don’t have much experience. Your attitude goes a long way and managers will notice if you’re a genuinely nice person. Don’t drink too much or argue with a bouncer. Also keep in mind that it’s good to network and talk to the headlining DJ or the manager, but understand that these people are all here to work; they have busy nights and a lot going on as well, so know when enough is enough, otherwise they’ll just end up being annoyed with you.

Keep the Promoter Happy

If a promoter has brought you in for your first show, they’re taking some degree of risk with you. The first thing that can put a promoter at ease is seeing that you’ve brought bodies to the club. Bring some friends out and ask them to come early. This gives you a chance to show your stuff and get people dancing instead of just playing an empty room.

Another way to put the promoter at ease is to show up early yourself. Know your gear setup, and if you have any questions for the promoter, try to think of them all at once. Again, the promoter is probably busy, so you want to make sure you’re prepared, but you also don’t want to bother them too much.

The final step is to make sure you’re comfortable with the music. Have some variety and some routes you can go in case what you planned isn’t working with the mood, venue or crowd. You want the promoter to be able to relax and be comfortable with the music you’re playing, instead of being stressed about getting the next DJ on. Play slow, take your time and really play to the crowd.

Hopefully this helps shed some light on the other factors at play at your first club gig. Next time we’ll focus more on what direction to go musically for your first gig.