The Long War's lead singer and bassist team up to share some key notes about their live show experiences.
Before you proceed with reading my blog insert, I want to add that I am under the watchful eye of The Long War’s bassist and real life wizard Carson Webber.
So when you see an asterisk (*) - this is a note from the Editor Webber keeping me in check. *Hi! You’re doing great Jarrett. I like how you mentioned me in the opening.
As 2018 comes to a close I wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who supports The Long War in any capacity. Whether it’s family, friends, fans or colleagues (*1), we all feel the love and hope the feeling is mutual. Vancouver has a strong music community and we’re proud to be a part of it. Our network is growing. We’re lucky to be collaborating with strong, passionate, creative people. A new addition to the team is Digital Media Manager Bernadette Saquibal. Thank you for what you do and how you push us in such positive directions. You are an absolute gem of a human(*2).
(*1) ...and Mythical Creatures [we got your back]. (*2) Fo' real.
As The Long War continues on our path as a band, we recognize the importance of putting in the hard work necessary to have a shared vision and a strong team. One major aspect of our band life that we have put a lot of work into that and has helped us grow and continue to propel our music careers forward is our LIVE PERFORMANCE game! (*) With this being said, I wanted to reveal some of the secrets and philosophies around this topic in hopes you may pick up something useful for your own adventures.
* - Yes! Our live game! You tell them Jarett!
So without further ado…(*)… Below are our top 10 tips for a stellar LIVE show according to TLW!
(*) I’d like to take this opportunity to give a HUGE shout out to some of the most influential people in my, and I dare say all of our lives. Without them, we wouldn’t even be able to read these words…You know who I’m talking about…(fog horn) GIVE IT UP FOR THE ANCIENT SUMERIAN SCHOLARS!!! (fog horn)
(*) I’d like to take this opportunity to give a HUGE shout out to some of the most influential people in my life…
#10 - PREPARATION. Prepare for every moment of your live show. Make sure your songs are honed and you’re ready to deliver a great performance! REHEARSE - not only the songs individually, but the entire set as a whole including before and after getting on stage and when the music begins. Nail down your talking points, transitions, stage movements – everything counts!(*)
(*) Except the bass player. We have this covered always. lol
#9 - PROMOTION. Putting on a live show means people need to know you’re putting on a live show. Promotions do not happen on their own. Have a concise plan of attack. This means you should have already considered and planned out how to promote your event. This includes timing, what unreleased content you wish to drop, and where for starters. If you’re supporting a headliner(*), you usually need to dial up that promo too!
(*)I read that as “sporting eyeliner”. Which doesn’t hurt either.
#8 - AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT. When you’re up on that stage, communicate with your audience. Remember that at a live show, not only is the band live, but so is the audience! See your audience. Bring the crowd closer by engaging in real eye contact. Remember to also look at your band mates. Interact with everyone and connect with with the art your making together as one.
(*)Good one hippie.
#7 - STAGE PRESENCE. You are performing live. Stage presence is an important part of the show. Be aware of your where you sit in your own skin and where your body is during the parts your playing. Allow yourself to look good(*1), feel good(*2) while being on the same page(*3) with your band mates. Think of the last show you went to (4*) and how much these things were relevant to you.
(1*) I look at Jess a lot
(2*) I feel Jarrett a lot
(3*) Neil and I read books together
(4*) Chad crushed it
#6 - BEING PRESENT. Stay sober (*), know where you are supposed to be and when. Give the performance your all without overthinking everything but rather being. Be present in the moment and hold the space you occupy with confidence and conviction.
(*)Stay sober enough. Nothing wrong with a little hydration and lots of beer after load out too.
#5 - CONSIDERATION FOR YOUR ENVIRONMENT. Be understanding with people behind the scenes, promoters, opening acts, sound and lighting techs, photographers and videographers (*). Be positive and know that even if you’ve never met them before, they too are trying to put on the best show ever. You’re on the same team and have the same outcome in mind. A GREAT show.
(*) And we still got all you Mythical Creatures!! (fog horn)
#4 - LOGISTICS. Be on time and on point. Put effort into the checklist of the preparation for a live show so everyone knows where everything is and aware of how to pivot in moments of unexpected factors. Change your strings, bring spares, have a pocket full of business cards, and discuss back-up plans for any probable obstacles. It’s insane how big an undertaking a show becomes if you do it right. As a band when planning and executing logistics remember to move as a team. (*)
(*) “Keep it TIGHT and RIGHT” - Matt Burnham
#3 - PERFORMANCE. It’s a performance, so perform. Embrace the spectacle (*). Know the role that you play in a live performance and how the audience engages with you in that role. For us it’s about putting all the work in the writing, consistent practice in rehearsals and band meetings which allows us to let go and have fun during stage time because the majority of work has been done. The stage should be your playground. Have fun with this and own it.
(* My old college nickname)
#2 - RE-ENGAGEMENT. When the music’s over the show is still on. Engaging with the audience after a show can be memorable moment for them and for you. Meet each other face to face. Be yourself, ask questions and authentically offer answers to important questions supporters may have for you. Know who you are and tell your story if people want to hear it.(*)
(* I heavily edited this section already so no jokes… sorry)
#1 - A great live show MOST IMPORTANTLY TAKES COMMUNITY.
It takes a village. One band can’t make a show the best thing in the world. You need EVERYONE. From the promotional support to the venue, from the sound to the lighting – this can never leave the forefront of your mind! Know that a community exists around you. You are not alone and in cherishing the team that supports you, your live game will be on point. Be thankful to all those involved and the fantastic folks who really make the show happen. This is a key to the same people continually wanting to work with you. You need each other.
(*) You’ve done a great job Jarett. This calls for a joke break: So four wise men follow a bright star that casts a light upon a path that they believe will lead to a prophet.
At the end of their journey the brilliant star casts light upon a singular manger.
They enter and look upon a newborn child.
The first of the wise men speaks and says “I hope you like this sweet gold i brought for you sorry its heavy lol”.
The second says, quietly, “You gotta see all this sickass frankincense I hauled all the way over here. its totes yours.”
The third, a wizened man with arms outstretched and a package in his hands, offers “I don’t know what myrrh is, but it was super expensive.”
The fourth hooded figure raises his cloak hesitantly.
And Jarrett says “Sorry everyone, I was just looking for that SEARCHLIGHT”
2018 was an incredible year. Thank you to you all for making it special. Stay tuned for so much more to come in the New Year!
The Long War also wants to officially say goodbye to our band mascot and my friend of over 17 years. I lost my cat Annie Hall December 4th. She was special. I’m overwhelmed with love as I write these words and I feel incredibly lucky to have ever known her.
For Annie… Sail away to the sea.
(* and Carson)
Additional note regarding community - A BIG THANK YOU to the amazing photographer John Yohan Kim who captured every special moment during the Rootdwellers Music Showcase at Kings Cafe & Winebar last week. All the pictures of this blog are of John's talented eye capturing not only the essence of The Long War, but also the audience we cherish and can never take for granted. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
We want to also shout out King’s Café and Clair Baker of Rootdwellers Music Showcase. The Long War closed the year with an intimate show that felt like a celebration of the community. The vibe was radiant, Vancouver was strong in representation with band’s like Clay Ravens, Little Crow, Small Town Artillery, Year of the Wolf, Elle Wolf and Danger Tree all front row center. It was special to be a part of all this and I think the photos you’ll see from John Yohan Kim really express that energy.
Have a great end to the year everyone and we look forward to staying connected in 2019! If you haven't already, sign up to stay in the loop HERE:)