View Full Version : Playing my first real show tomorrow night...

01-27-2012, 12:48 PM
I've done a number of open mics, generally playing for 15-20 minutes. Tomorrow is my first show and I'm nervous as hell!

Originally I was asked to play for about 20 minutes...not a problem as I do it all the time for open mics. Well, the person sponsoring the show has now asked if I could actually play for about 45 minutes instead as he's afraid the other two bands won't have enough material to fill up the remaining 4 hours.

A couple of things I'm worried about...

1. The open mics I play are generally done at a restaurant called Monty's...a small, intimate setting. Tomorrow night's show will be at a popular pizza restaurant/bar right in the middle of the downtown area.

2. The open mics are usually during the week so it doesn't get too, too crowded. Tomorrow night's show is a Saturday night at a bar that gets many patrons. I'm going to be playing for many more people than I'm used to.

3. The other bands scheduled to play are straight up rock bands so I'm not sure how well a ukulele soloist will go over.

Anyway, I'm really nervous...I've been playing drums with different bands for the past 15 years...after all that time gigging, I still get nervous playing drums for shows. Being alone on stage without a drumset to hide behind is even more nerve wracking for me.

There's not a huge Vermont presence on UU, but for those in the area, I'll be playing at Manhattan Pizza in downtown Burlington (just off of Church St.) from 9:30 - 10:15. I'd love to have some uke enthusiasts in the crowd! Wish me luck!

01-27-2012, 12:55 PM
Good luck. Sing from the diaphragm, so you don't blow your voice out before the set is over.

01-27-2012, 01:10 PM
Sounds like it should be a good time. I wish I can play out in the public, but I seem to get nervous even playing in front of two people. :p

I guess for the rock music crowd, you could bust out some Led Zepplin (Going to California) and Queen (Bohemian Rhapsody)?

Anyway, good luck with the gig. Hope to see some videos of your performance!

01-27-2012, 01:21 PM
Break a leg, just don't fall on your ukulele.
Seriously, you will do well, start and finish with your best material.
Go slow and add some patter between songs and you will do fine.
You might consider a few songs the audience can sing along with. Rock bands don't usually invite sing along's.
Everybody loves the uke, smile and have fun !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

01-27-2012, 01:30 PM
You are a great player.

I know you probably can noodle and improvise on some blues progressions. Have some fun.

I am sure you will do fine and maybe somebody will give you some pizza.

01-27-2012, 01:59 PM
Sounds like it should be a good time. I wish I can play out in the public, but I seem to get nervous even playing in front of two people. :p

I hate playing in front of a few folks (1 - 5) a big crowd is much easier and a lot more fun.

01-27-2012, 02:08 PM
Wish I could make it up (I'm down in Windsor VT) but I've got other plans with the family.

You'll do great, break a leg!

01-27-2012, 02:13 PM
.....1. The open mics I play are generally done at a restaurant called Monty's...a small, intimate setting. Tomorrow night's show will be at a popular pizza restaurant/bar right in the middle of the downtown area.

If you are used to playing where folks actualy listen to you the busy/popular spot might be a disapointment as a lot of the time they are into their own thing and the band is like wallpaper. But is does make it easier as you can bark like a dog, make up your own lyrics and chords and nobody notices. Just go out and have fun, it will rub off on the crowd! Just don't stop and say "I messed up" or "That was wrong" or what ever. I've forgotten lyics, made them up and my band mates didn't ever notice. Have a great time it is contagious. You will do fine!!!

mm stan
01-27-2012, 02:13 PM
Knock um dead... once you start and get comfortable time goes by real fast...

01-27-2012, 04:44 PM
Chris, you're a great player. Just do what feels comfortable.

What uke(s) will you be playing?

01-27-2012, 04:48 PM
Good luck! I just posted one of your videos on my brother's Facebook page along with information about your gig. He lives in Burlington. I don't know if he goes out to listen to music and I'm not sure where he stands on listening to ukulele music, but I figured that at the very least, maybe some of his Burlington friends might see the post and check out your gig. Please let us know how it goes!

Hippie Dribble
01-27-2012, 04:54 PM
Just enjoy it Chris for what it is. Try and be relaxed as you can as this rubs off on the patrons and warms them up to what you're doing...a bit of idle chit chat in between, self deprecating or otherwise...someone said start and finish with the highlights, good good advice...smile lots...man, you know what's going on, and you're an experienced and highly skilled player...it'll be awesome...wish I was there to woo-hoo you along. Have a ball mate and get your partner or a friend to film it so we can all say we were there when you played your first big set... :cool:

and last of all: remember that, being a uke soloist, the people's expectations will be on the 'low' side. You're gonna totally WOW them mate, roll with it :)

01-27-2012, 05:05 PM
Hey Chris. I would imagine that the crowd will be very receptive to a uke, especially with your playing. I am a St. Mike's grad,(81) and haven't been back to Burlington since. If I didn't have to work tomorrow, and it wasn't 5+ hours away, I would drive there in a heartbeat to hear you play. You'll knock em dead!

BTW, what uke are you going to be playing?

01-27-2012, 05:07 PM
Have a great time!

01-27-2012, 05:12 PM
Full respect to you mate, it takes real courage to do what you are doing, I wish you every sucess and hope you really have fun doing it.

01-27-2012, 06:18 PM
Thanks for all your words of encouragement and suggestions! I'm terrible with banter but I'll do my best. Mostly I'm going to try and play upbeat songs to fit in more with the vibe of the evening. Not sure if anyone will be filming but I think there will be a photographer there. Might get some good pics out of it.

Oh and I'll be playing the Moore Bettah. Although that means I can't blame the uke if I play poorly!

mm stan
01-27-2012, 06:30 PM
I know you're gonna blow them away...it just the jitters...let us know how it goes...

01-27-2012, 07:03 PM
Good luck and knock em dead.

01-27-2012, 07:29 PM
You'll do fine, Chris. If you make any mistakes (you will), just keep on playing and sing. My favorite compliments are when I really botch a tune and someone from the audience comes up and says "I loved your version of that song ________". My reply is that "I'm still working on it. Let me know if you like my new version better next time". Have fun and smile (I have to force myself to smile) so the audience sees you as enjoying your own music. Don't turn your ukulele up so loud that you won't hear your own voice (it helps you sing on pitch). Solo gigs are a lot of fun and prepare and condition you for busking. Most important, have fun. It's contagious. Ric

01-27-2012, 08:36 PM
Just pretend you are at Monty's, and all your friends showed up to support you. If they listen to rock music all the time, a change in pace might be welcome. remember, you are unique, you are doing what few people can do, you're a performer. Nobody will even notice if you booboo. Manitoba Hal told me one time, he makes mistakes regularly, he just knows how to cover them up now. Don't even acknowledge mistakes, they are a natural part of living and playing... knock 'em dead!

01-27-2012, 08:50 PM
Break a leg, Chris. Just remind yourself to slow down, and you'll be fine.

01-28-2012, 06:28 PM
Just wanted to thank everyone again for their suggestions.

The show went well...a couple of flubs but overall I played well. I wish I had listened to Shaka though (post above) as I definitely rushed a couple of songs. Had to remind myself to SLOW DOWN.

What disappointed me about the evening was, due to the change in temperature/humidity between my closet (where I keep my uke) and the bar, my A string had a bit of a buzz to it. Those that were there said they could kind of hear it but, knowing how my Moore Bettah usually sounds, it really stood out to me! The uke is back in my closet trying to acclimate back to where is should be. I'm sure that it will all even out...just thinking maybe the Moore Bettah isn't the uke to take out on cold, snowy nights.

I had a good amount of friends there who cheered LOUDLY which helped. Decent amount of cheering from people I didn't know as well which is always encouraging. As a few of you mentioned, the fact that it was a bar, it was loud and not everyone was paying attention. As one of my buddies told me, I played great, it was just the wrong venue. I agree but who am I to turn down a show?

Due to rushing a few songs, I had to add in a couple which were a little slower than I would have liked...my setlist was:

I'll Be There
Four String Waltz
Super Mario Bros.
In My Life (first song I wasn't originally intending on playing)
Don't Stop Believin'
Misty (second song I wasn't originally intending on playing)
Blue Roses Falling
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Rainbow Connection
Bohemian Rhapsody

Got the most response from Don't Stop Believin', While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Rainbow Connection, and Bohemian Rhapsody. Anyway, all in all, a good show. Tired though so it's time for me to retire for the evening.

Thanks again everyone!

Dan Uke
01-28-2012, 06:45 PM
I'm glad that people liked it...You should get a distortion pedal and play Europa!!

Hippie Dribble
01-28-2012, 07:07 PM
well done Chris, knew you'd be awesome mate, would have been fantastic to have been there and listened to you in person. Congratulations! Here's to many more!

mm stan
01-28-2012, 07:15 PM
Glad to know everything went so well and you were a hit...Congratulations...

01-28-2012, 07:53 PM
Great job, Chris! What was the sound setup at the pizza joint/club? The noisy gigs are good training to fine tune your ears for listening in those situations. Were you using a microphone or plugged in? Do more open mic's by finding them at http://openmikes.org/calendar/CT . This public practice will lead to paying gigs. Ric

01-29-2012, 03:00 AM
I wish I could have been there Chris. It sounds like it went really well.

01-29-2012, 03:34 AM

01-30-2012, 01:40 PM
Congrats!!!! Yeah, when the adrenaline gets pumping its hard to take it slow. Sounds like you did a great job!!!