About Kevin

Kevin is a Grammy nominated artist, podcaster, and indie musician advocate. He resides in Portland, OR where he is the Director of Marketing for CD Baby (cdbaby.com). Oh, yeah, he also plays guitar in Smalltown Poets.
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    Please don’t do this at your show!

    I recently had the chance to interview, Tom Jackson, of Tom Jackson Productions for the DIY Musician Podcast(Episode 43 listen here). Tom’s career as a performance coach runs the whole musical spectrum from working with solo indie artists to chart toppers like Taylor Swift. I’ve also had the pleasure to work with Tom personally, and have seen first hand how his idea of building “moments” into a show works to connect with the audience. In future posts, I’m going to highlight some specific examples of moments that I have personally seen work, but before we get to that, I had to share a few of my performance pet peeves. They seem pretty obvious, but I have seen artists at all levels commit these offenses over and over again. They definitely work against inviting your audience into a moment.

    Not telling the audience your Artist/Band’s name – It’s sad that this even made the list, but I’ve seen this obvious mistake happen over and over again. The first thing you do when you meet someone is tell them your name, so the same goes with your musical career. There’s always someone in the crowd who is “meeting” you or your band for the first time. Give them the courtesy of telling them who you are. It should be noted that I’m not talking about introducing the individual band members. Yeah, like I said, it’s sad that this made the list

    An artist who insults the audience – How many times have you stepped up to the mic and said, “Where is everybody?” First of all, all your fans don’t live and hang out together, so they don’t know where “everybody” is. Second of all, you basically just told them, “I’m disappointed in the few of you that actually came out to see us play!”

    Not selling merch at the show – I’ve heard bands go on and on about how the audience should buy their CD, only to say that anyone interested in making a purchase would have to buy it online when they got home. If you listened to my interview with Tom, you’ll realize why this is such a costly mistake as fans buy moments. The moment is long over by the time they get home and are online.

    Those are my top three, but I would be interested to hear what your live performance pet peeves are. Please add them to the comment section!

    • http://www.myspace.com/signetmae Danny

      A big live performance pet peeve is when bands to start their set at the advertised starting time! I know there are always things that delay shows, but it’s so frustrating when you have to wait a few hours, which seems to be the norm these days!

    • http://www.spillingaudio.com Eric Hausmann

      Ever been at a show where members of the band play before or between sets? Loud tuning, playing along with the tunes the club is playing through their stereo, or even worse, competing with the music that’s playing as you practice that flashy new riff you’ve been practicing all week.

    • admin

      That drives me crazy as well. Especially when the headliner at a club show usually doesn’t go on until after 11pm. I went to a show once where the headliner was scheduled at 11, but went on at 12:30am. It didn’t stay until the end. They also did say one word to the crowd.

    • admin

      My experience at the Interpol felt much like this. They were way to big to be acting like I was attending a rehearsal. They seemed generally put out that they had to be there performing.

    • Erik Stanfill

      Things me no like, generally committed by rookie opening acts…

      1. Opening acts that play more than 40 minutes or seven songs.
      2. Acts that don’t acknowledge the club’s resident soundperson (unless they are a national touring act and have their own staff.)
      3. Four-five acts on a bill. that’s too much. Three max. But that’s more of a club thing.
      4. Drunk lead vocalists, there is a reason you only get two drink tickets.
      5. An artist who tells people hanging out in the back to come to the front. If you are good, they will come.
      6. Failure to acknowledge/thank who follows you on stage.

    • http://www.oldhouserecords.net Joshua

      I really dislike when artists preach about their political views from the stage. I mean if I go to a Rage Against The Machine concert I exepect it, but it seems like everyone is a political genius these days.

    • http://kevinbreuner.com KevinB

      Yes! I couldn’t agree more! I once went to what I thought was a free concert, and it turned out to be a rally for a political party. I was very disappointed. I don’t go see bands to hear them talk about stuff they usually know little about. I’m all for them sharing their experiences, but don’t make some other agenda the point to your show.

    • http://www.musicbusiness101.info Natalie

      Hey Kevin,

      Would you be open to having some of your articles posted on my Music Business 101 blog? I like this entry and some of the others here. Let me know if you would be open to re-print with linkback?


    • http://kevinbreuner.com KevinB


      Please feel free to repost the articles! I just request that you credit them to me. I haven’t been writing much here as I have been putting much of my writing efforts to the CD Baby blog located here http://diymusician.cdbqby.com. Check it out!