This article is continued from a previous post about my takeaways from seeing a recent artist perform. So, here are the other two tips I observed while watching Aimee Man:
Witty banter (even cheesy or un-funny) keeps your audience warm.
While some people have the gift of gab and can crack jokes keeping an audience laughing at the drop of a dime, others, like me, let our nerves get the best of us and try to play the song so perfectly, try to sing each note angelically, and are so busy trying to hurry through sets to get the heck off stage that we forget things. We forget that we have a living, breathing live audience and that they want to participate. They want to be talked to, they want to laugh and cry with you, they want to get to know you, and they want an experience. If you don’t give this to them, they will be uncomfortable. They will look bored. They won’t laugh at the one knock-knock joke you cracked. And they will be cold. They will be ice cold like your freezer. To keep the audience warm you have to be real and you have to engage in banter. Talk about why you wrote the song. Talk about how someone cut you off on the way to the show. Talk about your mama’s big nose. Make fun of yourself. If someone in the audience talks to you, talk back to them. This guy in Aimee’s audience kept yelling that he likes her boots. Instead of getting all uncomfortable, she politely thanked him, and then asked him if he wanted to buy them because he kept talking about them so much. Funny, right? It shut him up and she was able to use that as part of her witty banter. Talking is really good. But, remember too much of anything can be bad so don't over do it.
Aimee always kept her cool. Even while having to tune her guitar and face blank stares from the audience while doing so, she still kept her cool. She started a song and had to stop it to tune the guitar. She had a guy yelling at her from the audience about her boots. The whole time she kept her cool. She was comfortable. Or she pretended to be comfortable, at least. The audience didn’t know the difference. She was able to talk and/or joke her way through the entire set. In the end you have to be comfortable with yourself. If you have any issues with your face or with your body, you have to work them out. Why? Because you’re going to be in front of an audience and you have to be comfortable. They will stare at you. They will pass notes about you. They will whisper to the person sitting next to them about you. You can’t afford to have any complexes whatsoever. You also have to be comfortable with your music. You should be able to play your songs in your sleep. You know that guy that sits in the back with a frown on his face? You know the record label scout or the newspaper critic? Those people will always be in your audience. Well…not really, but people that look like them will. The point is, that if you’re not comfortable with yourself and/or your music, then your subconscious will find something in the audience to focus your nerves on to feed your uncomfortable-ness. (I may have just made that word up.) You must be comfortable. If you’re not comfortable, then your homework is to get comfortable with yourself and with playing your music. The audience will love you for it.