If your favorite band never sounded or looked so good on stage, you can thank the sound and light crew. If you’re in a band that has never sounded or looked so good on stage, make sure you thank the sound and light crew.
It’s no secret that the people behind every great performance include those who are often seen in the back of the room, but whom are rarely recognized for their integral contribution to a live show. From my photographer/writer/videographer (depending on the show) vantage point, the sound and light crew can make or break any show, making the sound and light crew either the heroes or villains. No matter how large or small the venue, if the light person is too drunk, high, or otherwise doesn’t give a shit, the pictures and video are going to suck. If the sound person is sailing a similar course, the bands performance will suffer and the video will be useless. I’ve been in both situations many times and I can honestly “feel the pain” that bands experience when there’s sound and light issues at a show.
Every band that has played more than 5 shows has experienced sound and or light issues and nobody is happy when they happen. How they/you handle the good times and bad times is what is important.
The first thing I suggest, if you know who is working the sound and lights for your show, thank them (whether they did a good job or not) for working your last show. If there were problems before, make sure you differentiate between what problems that were due because of their incompetence and what was due to gear/equipment failure out of their control. If they were incompetent, don’t make a issue over it, instead, give them helpful ideas about how to make the evenings performance better. Remember, everyone can have a bad night, including you and your band, so start the evening right with a clean slate. Also remember that these people, unless they are working for Iron Maiden or the Rolling Stones, are not getting paid what they are worth. If you can throw them a few bones, do so. Not because you have to or it’s expected, but because just like you don’t want to piss off the person cutting your hair or cooking your food, you don’t want the people controlling how you look and sound on stage pissed off at you.
If you don’t have a few bones to fork over to the sound and light crew, at least talk to them and butter them up before you hit the stage. Flattery may not get you everything you desire, but it will get you better sound and lights. Even if you are familiar with the sound and light crew working your show, help them help you create a great experience for you and your fans. Lastly, take a minute to thank them again after your set. These people often are greatly under appreciated and they remember who is good to them or not. How hard they work for you will reflect their experience with you and your band.
As always, "Occupy Your Local Venues & Support Your Local Bands!", and as a side note...appreciate the people behind the scenes that are essential to making every show happen.