We’ve all been there. The band has been together for months, you have 25 songs learned and you’re itching to get out and play. The problem is you’re stuck rehearsing and you don’t have enough songs to play a 4 hour club date. Well guess what, you do have enough songs to play a party. Even better it’s a party that you’re going to throw.
One of the best ways to get out of the garage and playing in front of people is to throw a party and have your band headline. All you have to do is find someplace to throw the party. I’ve played in living rooms, basements, backyards and even thrown a party in the garage. Any of these places will work and all you have to do is invite people.
Probably the most important thing to consider when choosing a location is to make sure it’s okay with the neighbors. Nothing ruins a live music party faster than having the police show up to tell you to turn it off because the neighbors are complaining. Make sure you invite all the neighbors to the party and if you want to be really careful, call the police department and let them know when and how long you’ll be playing. A lot of cities make an allowance for noise up to a certain hour. If the police know how long you’re playing, when people call the department, the police can tell them the party will be over at a certain time. It’s always good to try to keep the peace with the neighbors.
Another thing you want to do is have food and drinks. Having something for people to eat will keep them around if you blow it on a song or two. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just some chips and dip and some drinks will keep people happy. Of course it doesn’t hurt to go all out with the food. It’s kind of like insurance to keep the people at the party.
This is very important so write it down, DON’T PLAY TOO LONG! I know it’s tempting to play every song you know, every song you’re learning and then have an informal jam. It’s fun to play in front of a crowd and you want it to last. But it’s in your best interest to leave them wanting a bit more. It’s definitely in your best interest to finish with your strongest material instead of something that you barely know how to play. I’d try to keep it to 1-2 hours and that’s it. If you leave your guests wanting more then the chances that you’ll play another party or even a bigger gig just increased. The party can go longer but I’d keep the show short. Just promise people you’ll play again and they’ll all be invited.
Also, don’t forget to have some marketing materials. Even something simple like a flyer with your band name and contact information on it will do. Pass it out at the party. Your band just may get booked somewhere else in the future because somebody kept your flyer. Another great marketing tactic is to get out and talk to the guests. It shouldn’t be too hard at a party you’re throwing and it will be good practice for when you play for a crowd of strangers. You get fans by being friendly so get out there and talk to the crowd.
In summary, it’s easy to get out of the garage and onto the stage. So plan that party! I guarantee it will make you better just because you’ll practice so much harder to be prepared for it.