Over the course of a decade, I've been on both sides of the proverbial fence in the live performance realm of the music industry – Artist Manager vs. Concert Promoter / Talent Buyer. I've seen all sorts of musicians tour through my old hometown of Tulsa, OK and even in Los Angeles, CA.
If you are a new band starting out by performing at music venues, please heed this advice. There are 3 things you should absolutely never do at your show.
NEVER SHOW UP LATE
The club owner, talent buyer and sound crew are waiting on you to show up. All of these people have something on the line. The owner has money on the line because he / she could have booked another band that would draw a crow or they are paying you a guarantee to perform. The owner is also risking bar sales by booking your band and has an employee staff to pay. The Talent Buyer has their reputation on the line. They've taken a chance by booking you and will look bad if you show up late for your load-in. You do not want to anger the Talent Buyer because they determine whether you get re-booked or not. It's hard to build a fanbase if word gets out that you are always late. The soundman / woman has usually 3-4 bands per night that require a soundcheck. Each band's gear has to be loaded in. Drum mics have to be positioned and knobs have to be tweaked. It takes time to dial in your mix and if you want to have a good sound, you should even consider showing up EARLY. If you show up late, your soundcheck will suffer, the soundperson is agitated and your fans get cheated out of a quality sonic experience.
NEVER BE ARROGANT
Arrogant musicians cause chaos. On the underground level, most of the fans and venue personnel have little tolerance for arrogant, primadonna jerks who think they are God's gift to music. If you think you are breaking new ground in the "cool" department, think again. The arrogant musician is a dime-a-dozen. The venue you are playing at usually runs their own routine and needs you to conform to it. The easier it is to get along with your band, the more frequently you will get booked back to the venue. You are trying to gain a fanbase. They are trying to provide a room for that and sell drinks and a good night of music. It's a team effort and a fine line between art and commerce. Until you've had a 6-month international tour, hold off on the eccentricities you've read about and focus on getting along with the people that are working with you that night. No one wants to have a crummy show or a night of drama.
NEVER LEAVE THE VENUE IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOUR SET
The number one mistake a traveling or not-traveling band makes is that they leave the room immediately after the set. Chances are greater than 75% that your music motivated some people in the room. You owe it to yourself and the fans to pack up your gear, after your set and spend 15-30 minutes at your merchandise table meeting your fans and interacting. Bands starting out on the road need friends in every city. You are building a fanbase in multiple markets. Sometimes the fan was not into your music, but had a really great conversation and appreciated the fact that you took time out of your day to talk to them. Fans long to support bands that are touring. Give them a reason to support you.
If you stick to these 3 simple rules, you will move farther along down the road then other bands. Stay humble and focus on your music and your work attitude will get you repeat bookings.