How to be a good frontman - any tips?

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ijontyijonty Frets: 28
Hey folks, me and the band are playing only our second proper gig next week, in a club in London. We've only ever played in a pub garden before, so feels like quite a step up being in a proper venue.

I'm not often the lead singer, but will probably have the responsibility to do the between-song-chat and generally be a bit frontman, so any advice out there? Obviously the best way to be a great frontman is to do it for years until you're a natural, but unfortunately I've only got four days before the gig so that's not an option.

Also, any advice about playing in clubs generally? Wondering if the sound will be quite different to playing on an outdoor stage like our other gig.

Cheers!


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Telecaster American Deluxe, Cornell Romany amp, without the talent to use them properly
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  • HattigolHattigol Frets: 1407
    Three words.
    Be. Dave. Grohl.
    "Anybody can play. The note is only 20%. The attitude of the motherf*cker who plays it is  80%" - Miles Davis
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  • John_PJohn_P Frets: 1668
    If you’re not a natural take over the room type character then don’t try to be.     Just look relaxed and like you’re enjoying it .    Make eye contact with the audience.   Avoid big gaps between songs, and do the here’s a song by xxx line over the intro.   Hi we are xxx, hope you enjoy the songs - here’s one by xxx and do it after the second song or there about.  
    If only some people clap or dance look at them when you say thank you etc etc

    Main thing imo is to just look like you’re having a good time and do a good job in the songs.   Anything else is a bonus and not really necessary if you have a good band.  
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  • Modulus_AmpsModulus_Amps Frets: 660
    Assuming this is an originals band?

    Do mention the name of your band, several times during the gig, defo at the start and the end.

    Do actually sing, your voice leads the band and the crowd, don't shy back or put your vocals back in the mix, even if you can't sing it is better to be loud and proud than a mouse in the corner. make sure you can hear your vocals, so if the monitors need to be louder get them louder.

    Relax, be cool, be yourself.... unless you can be Batman... in that case be Batman. Seriously though I don't think you can force charisma, it looks cheesy when non charismatic people try.

    Every venue is different, that is why the pro's travel with sound men, just get it the best you can.

    Good luck

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  • joeyowenjoeyowen Frets: 3208
    My main goal of any gig, was to make the band playing after us nervous

    I remember watching a band we were playing after and though we'd lost the crowd (lol, audience) before we started.

    From then on, we made each show electric, and I wasn't happy until any band following us was nervous.

    Own the stage.  It is your stage.  Rehearse so much you are easily performing, not just playing.

    Also, take one look at Brandon Flowers, he's not the best singer live at all, but he owns the stage, and performs night after night.

    Also, a few jaegerbombs and a line of coke before your set
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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 443
    edited June 15
    Be yourself, and enjoy the show! You have to lead from the front, and try to put on a persona if its not usually your thing, I mean, look at Freddie Mercury. Very shy and nervous in interviews but on stage a completely different human being.

    Obviously talk between songs but don't rabbit on too much, audiences will get bored if you don't keep the flow going, a simple intro on the next song, maybe a story behind it. Keep saying the band name (esp if its an originals band) and plug social media. Shout out the next band (provided you ain't the only band playing or headlining) or the ones who have just played.

    Explore the stage a bit, don't just stand in one position, if its not a very big stage, you still have to have some presence (I'm probably talking about more heavier metalcore bands).
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 7288
    Unless you are very good at the talking inbetween songs stuff just keep the songs going and save the talking for a forced break. 
    Look suitably into the songs ( smile during a fun song, look sad during a sad song) and what is occurring on stage, your audience is subconsciously looking to you for cues. Try not to look bored or nervous. 
    Have a good time.
    Dum dum dum, dum dum de dum, dum dum dum, dum dummmm.
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 566
    Don't get too shitfaced as you'll show yourself up and the band. Don't get your knob out as you'll get 200 community service and your name on the pervs list.

    Don't stress out, perform the best you can and if they like you there will be more bookings to follow.
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 352
    I remember many years ago being taught some basic stagecraft by an actor. The thing that has always stayed with me is that it's quite easy to stop yourself looking nervous, even if you actually are shitting bricks. What gives the game away is if you fidget and shuffle around, or look momentarily at people and then look away as soon as they make eye contact. So either stand completely still, or make big confident movements; and either don't look at the audience at all, or look them straight in the eyes.
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  • ijontyijonty Frets: 28
    All really helpful, cheers! Key points seem to involve being Dave Grohl/Batman, not getting your dick out, talking, but not too much, giving it some welly with the vocals, and trying to enjoy it. I can probably do some of those things without too much of a problem. I'm reasonably comfortable talking to a group of people. Sounds like it's not actually a good idea to plan what to say – like specific things to say – but rather just introduce songs, the band, namecheck the other bands, that sort of thing?

    One thing that worries me is the gaps between songs while we check tuning and stuff. As we're new to this, we're perhaps overly worried about going out of tune during songs, then look like idiots while we tune up again. Oh, and our drummer has a habit of just launching into the next song without checking if we're ready.


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    Telecaster American Deluxe, Cornell Romany amp, without the talent to use them properly
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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 443
    Also make sure the band knows when you're coming in for the next song, so have like a rehearsed cue or pause where you know how long it'll take the guitarists to tune and when to start the next one, provided its not from a ring out.
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  • ijontyijonty Frets: 28
    Also make sure the band knows when you're coming in for the next song, so have like a rehearsed cue or pause where you know how long it'll take the guitarists to tune and when to start the next one, provided its not from a ring out.
    You mean have something I say which means where all ready? Not sure what a ring out is either?


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    Telecaster American Deluxe, Cornell Romany amp, without the talent to use them properly
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  • mr-macmr-mac Frets: 197
    You need that gift of gab, able to talk to and connect to audience.  You can be the best player in world but unless you can connect to audience then don't be the front man even if you still do all the fancy playing.
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  • valevale Frets: 1039
    romantic mid-song bantz (4min30s+).


    hofner hussie & hayman harpie. what she said...
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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 443
    ijonty said:
    Also make sure the band knows when you're coming in for the next song, so have like a rehearsed cue or pause where you know how long it'll take the guitarists to tune and when to start the next one, provided its not from a ring out.
    You mean have something I say which means where all ready? Not sure what a ring out is either?
    Yeah kinda, more like you know how long it’ll take to tune between songs. So if it’s 30 seconds then find something to say within that time frame, then the count in should be right on cue so it’s slick.

    A ring out is when you end a song with the guitars still ringing out the last chord, e.g no dead stop and it can run into the next one if it’s in the same key. Good if it’s uptempo tunes to keep the energy going.
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  • slackerslacker Frets: 955

    One thing that worries me is the gaps between songs while we check tuning and stuff. As we're new to this, we're perhaps overly worried about going out of tune during songs, then look like idiots while we tune up again. Oh, and our drummer has a habit of just launching into the next song without checking if we're ready.
    two things here...

    Gear

    Tuning, guitar changes, Capos etc are done quickly and quietly. If you and your gang don't have mutes on the pedalboards get them. If you don't have at least on spare guitar between you get one. Same for strings in an interval, picks sticks etc.

    If you use multi effects don't, controversial but I've seen too many gigs dicking around with levels.

    Everyone should be ready for the next song and if not communicate and sort it quickly. Be ready.  I played bass at a festival and the guitarist forgot a spare lead and a strap. Knob. 

    People

    You are the frontman and people start songs when you are ready. See above for speed for being ready but the drummer is on his own if he starts early. So a quiet word before the next will do wonders, and if it doesn't a quiet word after the gig ending in goodbye have a nice life will do the trick.

    As I get older I've less time for musicians who don't get the concept of teamwork.
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 566
    vale said:
    romantic mid-song bantz (4min30s+).


    Crazy Horse tones on the guitar
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  • flying_pieflying_pie Frets: 429
    A good rule for being a frontman is "be a bit of a dick but not a total dick" as far as swagger goes.

    Don't talk for the sake of it. Use you set list to plan where the big gaps are and write prompts for some filler chat. It's a good idea to start your set with 2 or 3 songs in quick succession before talking. Speak confidently even if it's bollocks. 

    Remember to mention the venue and the bar staff (by name) on plenty of opportunities (plugging drinks always goes down well with venues). Don't try to read out a website address as you'll just sound awkward.

    And don't worry about tuning up without speaking over the top every time - you can just say "we're just going to tune up for a moment"  and the crowd will be okay with that. 
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  • ijontyijonty Frets: 28
    This is all really helpful, cheers. Was thinking of doing two songs before any chatter at all. 


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    Telecaster American Deluxe, Cornell Romany amp, without the talent to use them properly
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 8858
    Try and get whoever is the main lead singer involved in a bit of chat - I've played in bands where a backing singer does most of the talking and it feels weird and unnatural tbh. 

    If you're the more confident one that's fine, but don't let the other one off the hook completely. Doing a belting lead vocal and then standing there looking at your feet while a different band member talks to the audience looks very odd after a few numbers. 
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  • ijontyijonty Frets: 28
    I’m probably lead singer for four songs, which is almost half of our set, so hopefully that should be ok. Good point though. 


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    Telecaster American Deluxe, Cornell Romany amp, without the talent to use them properly
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  • ijontyijonty Frets: 28
    At the last gig, I ended up saying ‘thanks’ after every song, and it sounded so cliched. Need to avoid that. It’s such a natural instinct though. 


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    Telecaster American Deluxe, Cornell Romany amp, without the talent to use them properly
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 1010
    Wear tight pants with a large pair of socks stuffed down the front.
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  • blobbblobb Frets: 910
    Whatever you do, don't start waving Gladioli about.
    Feelin' Reelin' & Squeelin'
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  • ijontyijonty Frets: 28
    Someone recommended dancing like the Future Islands guy.

    I’m not even sure the Future Islands guy should dance like the Future Islands guy.

     https://youtu.be/e8Uhf3gM1m0


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    Telecaster American Deluxe, Cornell Romany amp, without the talent to use them properly
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  • interstellarinterstellar Frets: 484
    one of my mates is a decent front man and if i was to use him as an example i would say this

    seriously view yourself as one of gods greatest gifts to planet earth and all who live on her
    curse your lack of flexibilty as it stops you from blowing yourself
    work very hard on being good enough to get away with being the above
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  • robwrightrobwright Frets: 599
    ijonty said:
    Someone recommended dancing like the Future Islands guy.

    I’m not even sure the Future Islands guy should dance like the Future Islands guy.

     https://youtu.be/e8Uhf3gM1m0
    I think he's a completely mesmerising front man! Do it!



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  • KKJaleKKJale Frets: 665
    Something that helped me... if you have trouble with making eye contact during or between songs (I do), then use the actors' technique - scan the audience while looking just fractionally above the eye-line of the furthest people away.

    From the front it looks completely natural and everyone, even the nearest ones, will feel included. 
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 2433
    I have a few 'throw away lines' typed small on the set list. They can be cheesy or name the songs writers or original artist or year and position in the chart type of thing. If you need to say something you have a nice prompt and can sound knowledgable and confident to fill a silence while someone fiddles with a battery change/broken pedal/slipping hi hat etc.
    People usually want you to entertain them and will give you that courtesy once, some regular pubs and clubs that see a string of bands doing the same rock covers can be hard to please, in that case play well and let the music speak first. Subtle things like a well rehearsed sequay or transition from one song to another or a sharp punctuations of stops/starts make you sound far more competent.
    Relax and enjoy the show.

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  • SimonCSimonC Frets: 744

    A ring out is when you end a song with the guitars still ringing out the last chord, e.g no dead stop and it can run into the next one if it’s in the same key. Good if it’s uptempo tunes to keep the energy going.
    Thin Lizzy we’re masters at this, the first half of their set lists were almost always front loaded with non stop greatest hits with no gaps. 
    By the time Phil got round to his banter, the audience were already whipped into a frenzy and eating out of his hand.
    A nice chicken wrap, looovely lum’y lum’y chi’n
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  • ijontyijonty Frets: 28
    SimonC said:

    A ring out is when you end a song with the guitars still ringing out the last chord, e.g no dead stop and it can run into the next one if it’s in the same key. Good if it’s uptempo tunes to keep the energy going.
    Thin Lizzy we’re masters at this, the first half of their set lists were almost always front loaded with non stop greatest hits with no gaps. 
    By the time Phil got round to his banter, the audience were already whipped into a frenzy and eating out of his hand.
    We’re going to give it a go with some of ours. Gig is tonight, so nerves are building...


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    Telecaster American Deluxe, Cornell Romany amp, without the talent to use them properly
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