A playing live for beginners thread - sort of thing

This is a thread I’ve been mulling about for a while, especially since the For Musicians bit appeared. I dunno if anyone else here is in a similar boat but I want to get into playing live* and I guess thought a place to talk about those first questions (how to get a gig, what resources are there for learning more about sorting out yr audio / additional equipment needed, putting on DIY shows, whatever) might be useful

*I played three live shows in 2019 and the pandemic came about pretty much just as I was starting to feel confident basically

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Great idea for a thead! Haven’t played a gig in 100 years, but would love to achieve something next year in that regard!

Good thread idea. I really should branch out and play more shows. My current booking strategy - wait till @SunnyB asks if I want to play a gig - is only so effective. He’s a very busy man.

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I’ve had that same thought myself re: open mics, I know that someone had started an Electronic Open Mic thing that went around the UK (I actually think one of the Dis State lot played one of them?) that might be a better fit

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I believe our own @Twinkletoes will be doing music generated by a live chess game at one this very evening. Wish I was local to that, sounds wild.

I keep missing it whenever it hits Wales annoyingly.

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Ah! I hadn’t clocked that was the event he was doing it for. Glad to hear they’re definitely still going.

Yeah there’s a network of Electronic Music Open Mic nights. I’ve played a couple in Leeds (debuting some generative chess music tonight as @colossalhorse mentions) and a couple in Lancaster. Will probs do York and Sheffield too in due course.

Different folks run the local events - some go for 3 or 4 acts per event, whereas Leeds packs 10-15 each time in a proper bonanza of electronic styles.

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This might be my next step. Keeping an eye for the Midlands dates gives me a bit of a date to aim for!

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Yeah… might not be happening much in the future unfortunately. Bored of hearing myself talk about how busy I am, but something has to give and I’m not allowed to quit my family or my job.

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Largely influenced by wanting to get the fuck off social media as much as possible. Rarely open FB at all and only occasionally Twitter. It needs someone who is capable of engaging with that side of things or the gigs just don’t get promoted. A shame though,.they were some good nights when the Gods smiled on us and people turned up.

DiS doesn’t count as social media because it’s not full of cunts and doesn’t turn over information about teenagers having abortions to the police.

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I’m tentatively thinking about working on some new stuff with a view of playing live. Last time I had a gig would have been 16 years ago and so this thread will be really useful. I find it incredibly nerve wracking though.

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Idk about nowadays, but when I used to do open mics they were generally pretty varied. I think as long as your set-up isn’t particularly lengthy (most open mics thrive on quick changes) then it’s no biggie, and you’d be a welcome change of style. In my being an acoustic singer-songwriter days I went to absolutely loads of them and it was often the case that you’d find people doing instrumental stuff, and people are genuinely there to listen. Bloody love a good open mic, wish I had anything like the schedule space and general freedom to do it now.

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monitoring

Bands with any kind of touring budget will be using in-ears rather than on-stage monitoring. I mean, they’ll probably have on-stage monitors for the look of the thing and for some fill, but the useful monitor mixes come through the in-ears, which can be wireless. For bands with proper budgets, it’ll be a mix per performer; for others, maybe the singer/frontman gets an in-ear, the others use on-stage.

Also, don’t under-estimate how much stuff these days just gets played off a laptop (which will also be feeding a click to people who want it) with the band playing the bits that people expect to be played live.

edit: You’ll get none of that at an open mic night, of course.

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To add, when I did the handful of electronic shows I did, I had a mixer on stage with me, along with the laptop and interface; between the multiple outputs from the interface and the flexibility of the mixer, I could basically send whatever I wanted to my headphones whilst sending a finished mix to the FOH - but also I was working fully in-the-box, so it would’ve been hard to send anything other than a finished mix.

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I doubt that many/any diy/small capacity venies have the set-up for in-ear monitors, even if you could bribe the soundguy.

Also, I’d worry about Spider (the soundguy) accidentally deafening you.

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Well with the amount you have on your plate it’s pretty impressive/slightly mad you’ve gone as long as you have. Hopefully we can sort something out between the rest of us at WEPN - I can do waffling on social media thing but I’m not so good at dealing with real life human beings.

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One thing I keep thinking about is getting a mixer. Traditionally, when I try to rehearse / improvise live ideas at home, I’m sort of hamstrung by the fact that I can only really work with whatever I can plug into my little Tascam recorder (which allows for two inputs at any one time - hence why my live shows to date are just a guitar through a Kaoss pad and my sampler). I reckon a mixer would be a good tool for allowing me to open things up a little when practising.

This is the problem with me not being much of a gear head.

I’m far from an expert but I got a Mackie Mix8 (they’re often going pretty cheap on eBay, I think I got mine for £40) and I’m a big fan. Plenty of ins and built like a tank. Has no on/off switch so you have to unplug it whenever it’s not in use but I’m running a Elektron Samples, Microfreak, guitar and occassionally a walkman through it and it all sounds good.

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We’ve been putting on our own (free, byob) gigs in community centres the last few months and it’s been really rewarding/fun.
Not for everyone ofc and we do have a few members to share the price and workload an electronic act wouldn’t have (probably), but it’s been very nice making a more relaxed atmosphere from the bar scene for acts looking to have their first /second gigs and people to stroll in and give stuff a chance without any obligations.

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Another bonus is they usually have to end at like 9/9.30pm so you can start early and then get on with your night / go home at a reasonable hour.

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