When you are striving to be the best one man band, you need to build on each performance. (This is also referring to the best one woman band)
First you have to research just what a one man band is or what are people looking for when they hire a one man band.
Are they looking for ambiant music? Music to party? or some variation there of?
You will need the right gear to go it alone.
PA (sound system)- If you are just doing ambiant style, a smaller pa will probably do. If you are doing the party/dance style gig a bigger efficiently powerful enough amp will be required.
Music Amplifier – If you are using a guitar, keyboard and/or drum machine you may not want to put everything through your PA. I prefer this as I can adjust the volume and crunch of my Chapman Stick without effecting the vocal sound.
Microphone – A good unidirectional or cardiode mic is best… you get less feed back.
Your instrumnet(s) – I use a Chapman Stick, some percussion and a drum machine. I like to have easy to get to volume control for each instrument.
Optional Looper – I use a looper, not to layer several instruments, but to create a drum/percussion groove to play over.
Now once you have all the gear it is time to get to work…
Repertoire, song lists, learning the songs, rehearse with the gear and making useful arrangements.
I found an open Jam in someone’s house in Roxboro, QC. (Performed March 2)
Well after the week, I had a new perspective on endurance and stamina… you can only build stamina by doing the gigs, not just by practicing alone or as a group in the basement. Like Joe Walsh says, “You play for 2 years in the basement until you no longer sound like “sh*t”, then you go through the whole process again when you start to play live… you sound like “sh*t” until you’ve done it for 2 years, recording… (not word for word, but this is the essence of his message.)
So a few lessons learned:
When you challenge yourself, make it a bit harder than what you would feel comfortable with. 7 nights in a row is harder than it seems… by Wednesday , day 4, I was feeling the exhaustion from working during the day and playing at night.
Have several songs at an open mic, because if someone before you plays a song you will be doing, you should not play the same song. You need some alternate songs.
Select your songs in an order that makes some sense, or builds to some planned conclusion. Treat it like a mini set. Also, at some open mics people like to sing along, try to have a song they can join in on.
Have some business cards with you.
You can ask your audience, that if they take pictures or video to post them on social media with your hashtag. In my case “#bernielandry” or #bernieonthestick”.
Get to know the staff and the key people who might book or refer you.
Accept comments in a professional manner. Audience participant “Wow, you were fantastic”, you reply “Oh, it’s nothing, I made a few mistakes…” NOT! Answer more like “Thank you, the practicing is paying off”. (You know more about what you are doing than the audience. If they like it, accept graciously.
Network with other musicians
Have a good time.
Of course there are many more, but suffice it to say that, everyone’s experience is different.
As a closing note, a few of my musician friends commented on how the “7 Day Mini Tour” was a cool idea.
Now that’s cool that I inspired others with this simple experiment.
Experiment, get out there and make it happen.
Have any open mic stories of your own, please leave a comment and share.
PS: A shout out to The Audio Barn for listing all the open mics in Montreal