I’ve gigged pretty regularly since my first band started when I was 17 as variously a drummer, bassist, guitarist and vocalist. It’s never been a jam-packed schedule (except for the one weekend in 2009 where I had four gigs - Friday night, Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening and Sunday evening). For the last 10 years, my band has averaged about 30 gigs a year. Last Wednesday we did our final gig before calling it a day.
Most of my gigs have been original music, though I have done my share of covers too - I was in a Pink Floyd Tribute act for a few years, and a typical pub covers band. And on longer sets with my originals band we’ve often included covers since it keeps the crowd on-side when doing originals.
Really, it comes down to finding the right venues and audiences. A lot of my originals gigs have been in dedicated music clubs where the audience expect original music/ art and would turn their noses up at a band that played them covers. And equally, if you turn up to a busy town center pub with a varied crowd, you’ll clear the room playing originals even if you’re fantastic - so it’s about understanding what your role is as a band and what the expectation of the room is.
So, my band has just finished. But this week I’m going to be trying out for bass in a function band with the hope of getting something together that won’t involve much time investment once we’ve worked up a setlist, and maybe be one gig a month. And I’m hoping to find players for an originals project, too.
Funny thing is, I’m a relatively nervous/ confident person. I’ve got the typical cliched anxiety issues. But I love gigging, and there’s no better feeling than when a gig properly hits off. So, I battle through that and I’d consider it a defeat if I let that stop me doing something I enjoy.