The Dying Art of Playing Live

By: TJ Liebgott

For most bands it’s hard to get noticed in the opening slot.  Most of the fans haven’t arrived yet and those who have are anxiously waiting to see their favourite band.  So how does your band get noticed?  Well for a lot of opening acts, it takes a lot of time and experience and most fail in the process.  The following tips though, can help your band get noticed and on your way to a killer live show.




            This is where most bands are lacking.  Think of your favourite band live and you will feel that electric energy that was generating throughout the venue.  Most inexperienced, and some experienced, bands just hit the stage and play their songs mostly standing around like statues.  This is not exciting for the general music fan.  You may think that you just want the music to speak for itself and it can.  That’s what CD’s are for.  This is live entertainment and you should treat it as such.  


            You don’t necessarily have to run around the stage like you just drank 47 Redbulls, but you should get into the music enough to have some energy.  Simple things make all the difference.  Move from one spot of the stage to another, put a foot up on a monitor and lean towards the audience, and if your feeling up to it even try a jump kick when the song goes into high gear.  The more you play, the more comfortable and fluid these antics will feel.




            Most bands also find it hard to connect with an audience.  Start with the foundations.  Try to make as much eye contact with the possible fans as you can.  Move towards them.  Feed off of their energy.


            Try and practice some segues pre-show.  If a song of yours has a background storey to it, tell it to the audience.  Just try to keep it short and concise.  Think of some back and forth banter to have with the audience.  Finally, if all else fails, come up with some kind of contest idea that involves the audience in some way either on or off stage.  Even a free CD of your band that they’ve never heard of can be enough incentive to participate.  Plus you may gain a fan out of it.


            Introduce your band, as well as its members, throughout the set.  This way people will remember who you guys are.  It makes your band seem that much more personal/approachable.  This way people will stop thinking about you as “that guy from that band”, but instead will know you as “Jim, the lead singer of Wilderbeast”.




            Get a banner with your bands name and logo printed on it.  The banner acts as a 30 minute, to an hour infomercial of who your band is (depending on the length of your set).  This way even if people start arriving half way through your last song, they may like what they hear and know who your band is so they can see you play next time.




            Try and get at least 2 of every instrument and have them tuned and ready to go before you go on stage.  Nothing drags a show out more than a sloppy guitarist who can’t tune his instrument or breaks a string.  Try and get more instruments if your band uses multiple tunings.  Borrow guitars if you have too.




            When all else fails get a shtick.  Wear makeup, cough blood, play naked, whatever you think it will take to get your band noticed.  



            Always remember that when playing live, your music may only count for 50 percent of the performance.  Draw influences from other aspects of your life whether it be theatre, movies, or even other live acts outside of your specific genre.  


            If your anything like me, try and remember when music first took a hold over you.  Odds are, when you were alone in your room, you would crank the volume of your favourite band and jump around your room playing a tennis racket guitar pretending that you were playing a sold out Madison Square Gardens.  If you’re able to recreate that level of passion for music, your band will surely get noticed.  I just hope that your songs don’t suck!


How Important Is A Bands Bio

 By: TJ Liebgott


After scouring the Internet checking out Toronto indie bands it became apparent that the art of even a mediocre bio is lost on most bands/artists. With the increasing popularity of myspace and other such online music communities, everyone and anyone has a home for their music. Unfortunately, this has all lead to bands losing their professionalism and becoming lost in a sea of enthusiasts recording tracks in their basements.

Most bands hate the commercialism associated with the bio or feels that no one reads them. Regardless of your feelings on the music industry, every band should realize that this is a business no matter how indie you think your band is. Even if your just playing for the love of music, you still need to promote yourself as a product in order to get fans into your shows. In the end the bio is your business card to the music community. It helps fans, press, booking agents, managers, and record labels know who you are and what your about.

Key Points To Make In Your Bio

– Contact Information. Always make sure that everything associated with your band has contact information on it. Always have the contact directly on each piece of media from cd’s to bios. That way even if elements get lost, your contact information still resides on anything that didn’t make it to the trash.

– Influences. Every band loves to say that they are starting a musical revolution or don’t wish to pigeon hole their band by using genres. The fact of the matter is though, that no band is 100% unique. We all get our influences from somewhere no matter how random. If your band is afraid of being trapped within a genre, use words like hybrid, myriad, collage, or infused. Its still unique if you merge different genres, artists, political ideals, and non-linear thinking to describe your sound and it will give the average person an idea of what to expect if they where to see you live.

– Band Members. Very briefly describe who is in the band and what they play. Unless you’ve made a name for yourself, forget about writing 2 paragraphs about who came from what band and why. However, if one or more members/ex-members can give you some kind of instant music cred, be sure to drop their name a little more often. As well, pay more attention to this information if the band has numerous members or plays more bizarre instruments.

– Any Other Relevant Information. Briefly list off anything that was a major accomplishment for your band. Maybe you played a well-known festival, toured with a popular band, or were a major draw at NXNE. Quotes from reputable music journalist sources also help. Just be sure not to dwell too much on these facts or it may look like your band is holding on to glory days of the past.

– Humour/Individuality. Be sure to personalize the bio to the personality that fits the members of the band or the genre of music you play. If your music doesn’t sound like everyone else’s, why should your bio be a carbon copy of countless others?

Many bands are guilty of ignoring the bio, but it seems like Hip-Hop artists are the majority of those ignoring this key marketing tool. Regardless of style, every band needs a bio. All news is good news and a bio can help get press about your band from every angle, everywhere from Major music publications to local music rags to fans writing about you in their high school newspaper.

In most cases this is your bands first impression to make on somebody before they’ve even heard your music. It is sometimes your only chance to get your music heard and the last thing you want is to mess up any opportunity.


Rob Dyer Is A Hero

Pic of Rob Dyer Skate For Cancer By: Sheena Lyonnais
July 31, 2007

By dictionary definition, Rob Dyer is a hero.  The small, tattooed skater would probably laugh at this statement; shyly send his appreciations for the sentiment then move on to a different topic.  But according to the Oxford English dictionary, Dyer is just that: “a person, typically a man, who is admired for their courage or outstanding achievements.” 
Standing behind the Skate4Cancer tent at Wakestock, located just beside the Underground Operations/S4C stage, Dyer took a moment to reflect on some of this accomplishments.

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Wakestock 2007

Wakestock Logo

This years Wakestock was a great time with many performances from local Toronto bands as well as a few North American acts.  Check out the interviews, video clips and pictures from this years Wakestock festivities.


Videos:Interview with Kelly Lemieux

Wakestock Teaser VideoWakestock 2007 Trailer 




 Interview with Jacson of The Junction


                                       Interview With Kelly Lemieux of Goldfinger

 Goldfinger Fiasco



 Interview With Jackson From The Junction 



                                                                                             Clip of Goldfinger Ending in Chaos

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Two minutes with Travis from Social Code

Pic of Social CodeBy: Sheena Lyonnais
July 31, 2007 

Somewhere between Social Code’s Wakestock set and their Guitar Hero Challenge against Crush Luther, we managed to catch singer Travis Nesbitt  for a brief Q and A.  He was lurking around the hot sauce sample guy, despite his dislike of hot sauce.

Tell us your name and what you do?
My name is Travis and I love shooting hot sauce. 

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