Ask anyone who has been touring for an extensive period of time, or played in a live circuit regularly – having a tough crowd, off night, belligerent hecklers, whatever is just a reality of the music business. How you handle it will determine how much of a professional you really are onstage. Yes these things have happened to Grammy winning Artists at some point in their career, so why shouldn’t they happen to you. Below are things that will minimize the impact they will have on you as a performer. Hey – this stuff really works.
ICE CUBE HURLER OR HECKLER – Yep I’ve seen this guy before. There is a right and wrong way to handle this situation. Remember if you are having a good night and the majority of the crowd is with you have the clear advantage. Stop the show mid-song calmly announce that if it this guy doesn’t cease and desist, the show will stop. I’ve seen crowds turn on these individuals with a vengeance making them either stop or leave the establishment. Either way you win. If they are with a date it’s even more humiliating for them. I cannot emphasize enough Again this works like a charm only if you’re having a good night. Resist the urge to pull an Axl Rose.
TOUGH CROWD – Most artists take this way to personally. I’ve seen this happen mostly on weeknight slots. The reality is it has nothing to do with you or your performance. First double check to see if the sound system to working properly If that checks out there are many things you can do to get the crowd pumped up. For example verse shout outs, putting a hand to your ear, don’t be to overcompensating for attention, and even hand-slapping. If a certain song sparks interest play songs comparable to it. Again it’s your job to pump-up the crowd. You are the entertainer, it’s what they are paying you for. Keep delivering good music, eventually they’ll come around.
NO CROWD “The Big Empty” – Most inexperienced artists will want to quit the moment this happens. The truth is it happens all the time to new bands So if you find yourself playing to a room of a half dozen homeless dudes give the show everything you got! Make this small show a memorable experience for everyone. Laugh it off, have fun with it and be a good sport. Trust me they will be grateful for the effort, and will never forget what you did for them,
HAVING A BAD or OFF NIGHT – For whatever reason you can expect these nights. Nothing will go right no matter how hard you try. Amps not working, stings breaking, sound system malfunctions, lame crowd, you name it. When this happens you must find a way to just get through the show. Realize off nights area reality of the business sometimes. Keep telling yourself 5 songs to go and I’m out of here. .
BAND MEMBER NO SHOW – Think there’s no way to pull this one off, guess again. Believe it or not I’ve seen mostly cover bands get over this hurdle by simply asking if there’s anyone that could play either Drums or Bass. The chances are pretty good if the draw is big and the songs are popular you’ll be in luck.