Band banter can sometimes make or break a concert – and it's something that's especially important for a musician who's just getting started. But every band is different: some are really good at being slightly awkward and making a small joke while taking a sip of their water... and others, not so much.
It's not something that comes naturally to everyone, but it is something that can be learned over time if you practice enough. Tom Jackson at Discmakers wrote a helpful blog article with specific tips for what musicians should say on stage. As an audience member, here's what I like to see in those small moments:
1. Show emotions
Don't be afraid to get a little emotional in between breaks. I don't mean that you need to cry, or try and make us cry. But if you get a little teared up because it's your biggest show, or that last song is very special to you, your fans will always remember that you showed them your soft side. It makes us feel like you trust us, and that makes us want to support you even more.
2. Introduce yourselfIt's always nice when a band takes a moment to say hello and introduce themselves. If you're an opening act and people don't know you, tell us about yourself so we feel invited to get to know you a little more. If we find you interesting, chances are we'll be interested in your music, too. If you're the headliner, we probably already know everything about you, so use that to your advantage in a fun but humbling way. Or, share something we might not know – we love when we can tweet something new and interesting about you!
3. Share stories
If there's something (appropriate) to share that happened on the road, share it. Fans love to hear about what you did on your days off, because we love getting a little glimpse of what you're like as a real person. Tell us about how you miraculously made it to a gas station when your van's tank was empty, or the famous restaurant you tried in town, or the drunk guy you had to kick out of your last concert. It doesn't have to be a long story, but if you tell it well, we're already falling more in love with you.
4. Engage usWhen you're an emerging artist, it's important that you keep your audience feeling engaged, especially if you're an opening act and people haven't heard you before. Ask us how that last song sounded or if we're excited to see the headliner – you'll definitely get a response. Or, start playing the opening riff to the next song while someone takes a drink. Nothing is more exciting to us during the concert than when we can recognize what the next song is or, better yet, when we know our favorite song is about to be played. If you really don't know what to say, just take out your phone and tell us you want to Instagram or tweet a photo of us. We'll eat that up!
5. Talk to your bandmates
This sounds simple, but we love watching you guys communicate with each other. If one of you is really great at bantering, poke fun at the others or engage them in some way. We like feeling like we're just watching our friends play, so when you guys talk to each other, we feel like we're part of the conversation.
My best piece of advice is to just be confident in remembering the fact that we're at your show because we already love you or were looking to discover you. If you find yourself feeling awkward or saying stupid things, don't keep doing it, but remember to be a little more prepared for the next show. Or, just admit that you're not very good at banter, but that you're working on it, and prove that to us at your next gig. We're at your shows to support you and, even if you're a little awkward sometimes, we're still going to love you.