This Next One is About Why Your Banter Between Songs is Important

It’s Friday night and your band just finished the first song in your carefully curated six song set. You played so well that people actually came back inside from their smoke break to see your performance. The small but dedicated crowd has formed and now they are ready for more music.

Okay, perfect. You know what do!
Right? Wait, what’s your drummer doing?

Yeah, I know they sometimes sing back up vocals on, like, that one song, but what are they doing with that microphone? Oh no, red alert!

The drummer has gone rogue.
They’ve got poorly planned banter and they plan to use it. You look down and hang your head, waiting for the inevitable train wreck of embarrassment as the drummer begins his slurred announcement…

“This next song is about quitting a job you hate! 1 – 2 – 3- 4!”

The crowd applauds and cheers! Crisis averted. The guitarist goes into the main riff and two beats later the whole band joins in. Everyone is happy and the audience is loving it. You got off lucky that time, but don’t get cocky, kid.

Dodging a Banter Bullet
Songs are creative metaphors of thoughts, feelings, moods and ideas that go on internally and are expressed outwardly through music for an audience – and luckily, they are open for interpretation.
Banter is a direct bullet – careful where (and how) you aim that thing.

You and your band have put hours (or at least some effort) into practicing your songs, but have you considered practicing how you talk before and after songs in your set?
You need to put some thought into what you say between songs. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but it is not something you want improvise.

The Good, The Bad, and The Banter
Good banter talks about what the audience cares about: Who you are, what your song is about (in a short statement or one to two words), and how they can deepen their connection with your music.

Bad banter is when you make it all about you, your needs, your wants, and your expectations. Narcissism is a turn off and will cause people to leave the room.

Give & Take
Here are some examples of bad bater that you can replace with better banter:

Bad Banter: ‘How yall doing tonight? Oh come on, you can do better than that!
Good Banter: ‘How yall doing tonight? Thanks so much for being here and thank you for having us!

BB: ‘You can find us on the social medias at www dot at symbol underscore x dot capital L…’
GB: ‘Good evening, we are [band name], if you’d like to get to know us more swing by our merch table after the set and we can geek out together over guitars, beers, or whatever you think needs to be on our radar. We’d love to meet you!

BB: ‘That last song we played is a new unreleased track we are still working on, but I think you get the idea, I don’t know, that wasn’t our best performance of it, but it’s going to be really good eventually…
GB: ‘This next song is about finding true love on Tinder!

Your banter between songs might be ruining your set and you don’t even know it. Banter allows you to clearly communicate and connect with the audience. The audience deserves the best experience possible when they see you perform. Having a banter strategy won’t make a bad performance any better, but it can make it suck less.

So the next time you’re on stage and get tongue tied or diarrhea-of-the-mouth just remember some of these banter go-tos and your audience will thank you. They may even stick around for the encore.

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