I recently went to a concert to see Kings of Convenience, a folk/pop duo from Norway. They’re one of my favorite bands, and I also learned some things from their performance. So I want to share the lessons I picked up from this show.
(Almost) Flawless Performance
The two guys in Kings of Convenience each played an acoustic guitar. One had a nylon string guitar and the other had a steel string guitar. And they played flawlessly with each other. Almost.
Maybe they made multiple mistakes, but there was only one moment where I noticed one of the guys messed up. He played the wrong chord then quickly got back on track. Other than that, they sounded as good as they did on their records.
My point is, when you play a show, your performance needs to go smoothly. You might make a mistake or two because you’re not a robot. But you need to have practiced enough that you don’t even have to think about the next chord or next lyric or if people are getting their money’s worth.
It will be a better experience for the audience and you’ll feel freer to enjoy yourself.
Having a Good Time
It was clear the duo were having a fun time. During songs, they would look at each other and smile or stand back to back as they played their guitars. And in between songs, they would say things that made the other smile.
They were clearly enjoying their night.
And when a performer is clearly having a good time, it encourages the audience to have a good time. Because a good time is infectious.
So make sure you’re having fun at your shows. Your audience will pick up whatever vibe you’re putting off.
In between several songs, one or both of them told stories. They would talk about what inspired a song or where they were when they wrote it. One of the guys even made up a whole story about a guy who was eating at a diner down the road, and it led them into the next song.
Stories are engaging. Humans are curious and want to know what happens next. So tell the stories of how your songs came to be and include any interesting factoids people may not pick up on by just listening.
Roster of Performers
For the first half of the show, it was just the two main guys. But then they brought on a drummer and bassist and gave them each a proper introduction. The four of them played the rest of the set and also the encore songs.
Bringing these new performers out acted as a reset button for the audience. It helped us forget we had already been standing on a cement floor for 45 minutes to an hour. It made things a little more interesting and gave the songs a whole new, higher-energy feel.
Try a version of this at your next concert. If you can’t bring a full band on, bring one other musician or singer on stage with you for a few songs. I did this at one of my house shows and it made my whole set more dynamic and interesting.
Throughout the night, the duo joked with the audience. They encouraged conversation. They looked out into the faces of the people, which goes a long way.
There were several times they had to tune their guitars, which left the room quiet for a minute or so. One of these times, they asked if anyone had any questions while they tuned. This led to them answering which of their songs was their favorite. It led to stories about where they had lived over the years. It led to to conversation.
Remember that the audience is made up of people. Talk with them, joke with them, look them in the eye. This is a huge part of giving someone a memorable experience at your concert.