Your live show is not ready for the big time. Touring takes a huge investment of time and money, and you are not ready.
How will you know when you’re ready?
I have no f*ckin clue.
How many stage hours did you put in this week?
There is your answer right there.
I know “industry experts” say you shouldn’t play too much in your hometown. To a certain extent that is true. However, in order to develop an awesome live show you have to be constantly playing somewhere.
There are a couple types of gigs you can play in your hometown. There is the gig where you have to promise the venue a certain number of ticket sales in order to even get up on stage. Those gigs you should certainly choose wisely, as you can only rally your friends & local fans to see your show so many times. Then there is the unpaid or very little paid gig at a local spot that does not require any ticket sales or attendance pull. These are the gigs you should never turn down. These gigs are the perfect opportunity for you to get the stage time you need to develop a killer live show. Think this is a waste of your time? Imagine Dragons and the Beatles didn’t…
Imagine Dragons and the Beatles understood the power of live performances. They understood the importance of a live show to building a fan base. With the ability to build an audience online, many artists do not value their live performances as much as they should. Here is how these two massively successful groups developed their live shows.
When asked “What do you attribute to your success?” Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds said:
“We never said ‘no’ to anything. We’d play birthday parties, weddings, casinos. We wanted to perform and create as much as possible.”
That pretty much sums it up. The Dragons improved their live shows by constantly performing. Never saying “no” landed the Dragons weekly gigs in their hometown of Las Vegas. They performed regularly at casinos such as Mandalay Bay, O’Sheas, and Caesars Palace. Their performance schedule was grueling. Playing several times a week with some sets lasting up to 6 hours.
Improving their live set was a pretty simple process. Experiment with different show and musical elements then evaluate crowd reactions and come back better next week. Since these gigs were weekly gigs for little to no pay, having a song flop was not a big deal. The Dragons steadily improved their sound as well as their live performance, until they felt they were ready to invest the time and money into touring.
Much like the Dragons, the Beatles spent their early years improving their live shows in small clubs in Hamburg, Germany. They too played weekly gigs in front of small audiences, with the ability to experiment and constantly improve.
"We had to play for hours and hours on end. Every song lasted twenty minutes and had twenty solos in it. That’s what improved the playing.”
When they first started in Hamburg they played seven days week, 4 hours a night with a 30 minute break each hour. Does this sound like your playing schedule? Probably not.
So ask yourself, are you truly ready to invest the time and money into touring? Is your live show ready for the big time? Have you put in adequate stage time? There is no ‘right’ time to start touring. However, I can tell you that Imagine Dragons and The Beatles logged countless hours on stage before they took the leap, you should too.