By Kevin Phillips
If you’re a musician, you need to go to local shows!
I know, I know! If you play your own shows, have a band practice each week, maintain a day job, live with a life partner, have kids… it may well feel like you don’t have any time. To be clear, I’m not suggesting that you hit the bars with live music three times a week, but it’s incredibly valuable to get out to see live music when you are able. Going to see your favourite childhood hero play at the nearest stadium is great fun… but I’m not talking about shows at that level. I mean you need to get out and see different artists that play at roughly the same level as yourself, and also get to know venues that support live music at that level.
Getting out and supporting each other is great for the scene! It’s pretty obvious, but if you go to other band’s shows, and share posts on social media promoting their shows, it increases the likelihood that they will come to and promote your shows. Your audience becomes part of their audience, and their audience becomes part of yours. Keep in mind, that it is important to be GOOD audience… be nice to the band, the venue’s staff and servers, and other audience members.
Watching other bands is also great for inspiring your own writing and arranging, and providing motivation for renewed enthusiasm in your practice routine. Seeing somebody play in a style distinctly different from yourself can widen your own breadth of influence. Seeing somebody play the same style will make it clear what they do better, inspiring you to practice, and what YOU do better, which encourages you to keep going!
When I go out to live shows, I definitely have fun, but in my head, I’m at work. I’m there to learn, I’m there to be inspired as a writer, and I’m there to strengthen and support the music community that supports me. I may also be finding new venues to play, and meeting other folks to play shows with. I will glean wisdom from folks that are higher up the food chain than I am, and I will do what I can to encourage folks that are just starting out
Even if it’s only every now and then, get out and take part in your music community!
Kevin Phillips is a member of Redhead Mack Band