A blog about songwriting and about the songwriter Luigi Cappel

Posts tagged ‘support act’

Tips on being a support act

The first thing to consider is that you are a support act and one of the key things you are there for is to support the main act. First of all, as I mentioned in my last blog, your music should be in the same vein as the main act.

You are there to warm up the crowd as well as to make a name for yourself. If you are the last act before the main or you are the only act, it is a great idea to be able to build the audience up so that they are really getting into it and having enjoyed your act, will be in the zone to enjoy the feature. An excellent example of this was the band Blue King Brown who I mentioned in my blog about the Santana ‘Live Your Light’ tour. They were amazing and everyone was fizzing when Carlos got onto the stage. Blue King Brown. They built the crowd up and were a great act on their own, but didn’t detract in anyway from Carlos’ magic performance.

Start your set with something really good, as a support act you don’t have much time, so you need to build attention as quickly as possible so they will keep listening, you can’t start up with a quiet ballad and build up to a climax from a quiet opening number. People will start talking and they will treat you as background music. Once you have their attention you can start working them up to a grand finish which will have them wanting to hear more and remembering who you are.

When you finish and have the crowd on a high looking forward to the main act, build the act up, tell them they are in for something special that they will really enjoy. Praise the upcoming act to build the expectation and to show the lead act that you value the opportunity they gave you.

When you finish your set, get yourself and your gear off the stage as quickly as you can so that there isn’t too much silence between acts and the crowd holds on to their warm anticipation.

Use these simple ideas, and assuming you had the right material for the type of audience, you should find yourself being offered more gigs, whether as supporting act or as the main deal. You might even get opportunities to tour with an act.

If you found this blog useful, please tell other people, send them a link and subscribe yourself for future blogs. If you want to hear my songs or are looking for a new song for yourself or your artist, please drop me a line. If you want to add to this, please leave a comment, it’s about sharing. If you would like to hear some of my songs, check them out on my MySpace Page.

Get a support act gig

One way of looking for gigs to perform your original songs is to look for opporunities to become the support act. There are all sorts of opportunities out there and they all come from networking. On 4 September I will be one of 4 or 5 suppor acts at Forde’s Bar in Auckland. I found out about it from a friend in a local songwriting group. I don’t know who the main band will be. but all I had to do was ring and ask if I could get a 20 minute spot.

I guess then, the first thing you have to do is ask. The next thing is networking. The reason I heard about the opportunity was through networking. It, as is often the case, is about who you know.

The support acts for main shows are often friends or acquaintances. So you need to become friends or acquaintances with the people you would to support or their supporters, because of course it can also come from a referral.

Who would you like to open for? Go to their gigs, introduce yourself and talk with them. If you liken them you will be able to sincerely talk about their music and what you like about it. Don’t go up to them and ask for a gig!

Your music should fit with theirs if you are going to open for them. A country artist is likely to get boo’d off the stage if they are opening for a Metal band. On the other hand you don’t have to be of the same genre. At a Bic Runga concert a couple of years ago, her openers included Anika Moa (who has a nice smooth sound and fits the easy grooves of Bic’s music and has her friend (get the picture?) Anna Coddington opening for her on tour right now). Another opener who were extremely popular were Flight of the Conchords. This was the first time I and (by the reception) had heard or seen them, so they came accross as fresh and new, but also very different. But they were laid back which was how the whole show came accross. They were very different but they still had a good fit to the environment and atmosphere and the mix of audience.

Muso’s are usually very friendly and open for a chat in their breaks. Don’t be afraid to go up and talk to them even if they are surrounded by people they know and you are a stranger. A few years ago I was in Fiji and had a listen to the house band at the Suva Travelodge as they were doing their sound checks. I sat in the empty lounge and had a listen and ended up having a chat with the band. Next thing they were asking me what I was doing that night. I replied that I had no plans and next thing they are saying “You have now, you’re playing with us”. So that evening I found myself playing the blues with an awesome band, on a very nice Gibson Les Paul.

So what is the lesson? Find bands you like (and have some synergy with yourstyle) , go to their gigs, get to know them and when the opportunity is right, ask if they have or need an opening act. Bands and solo performers generally know each other, at least a little and are likely to know if there are other similar bands needing openers.

Last but not least, try your local music shop, check their notice board or during mid week, when they are fresh and recovered from the weekend, ask them if they know of any acts looking for support bands or artists. They are probably in a band themselves.

Oh, I almost forgot, if you are looking for a country opening act for your gig, have a listen to me at MySpace and give me a call.

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