Stuff You Should Say on the Mic When Your Band is Performing on Stage

Usually the lead singer takes care of speaking into the mic between songs. There's some essential business that every professional (or amateur) band should take care of.
Usually the lead singer takes care of speaking into the mic between songs. There's some essential business that every professional (or amateur) band should take care of.

If you're fortunate enough to be a musician that gets to work in public, there is some business to take care of during your show. In general, it's the lead vocalist that communicates with the crowd, but anyone in the band with access to a microphone can participate.

A lot of these things may seem obvious. You may also already be doing them without realizing it, or more importantly, realizing how it actually benefits your band. These are all very simple things to include in your "repartee" during the course of your show, and many of them should even be repeated. Some won't always apply, but it's still a good idea to have a mental checklist anytime you play a gig.

1. The Name of the Band

Show attendee #1 - "These guys are cool. What's their name?"

Show attendee #2 - "I don't know."

Show attendee #1 - "Hey, let's get a shot!"

If you don't have a banner behind you or a logo on the kick drum (or even if you do, because some folks don't bother to read) you should say the name of the band on the mic often during the course of the gig. If people are digging you, they'll want to know your name so they can tell other people how much they liked you. So say it loud and proud throughout the show.

2. The Names of the Players in the Band

This duty will usually fall on the lead singer. It could be included in an improvisational jam in a song where everyone gets a spotlight solo. You can also mention certain individual's names before, during, or after a prominent part that they play in a tune. Or you could simply introduce everyone in the band at the end of the gig.

Whatever the method, it's important to acknowledge the people on stage. The band will always appreciate the recognition and the folks in the audience that are enjoying the show will be able to put names to the faces.

The bartenders are your best allies at a show in a club, bar, or pub. They're pretty much the people running things. You want to acknowledge him, her, or them by name several times during the gig.

3. The Name of the Venue and/or Location

This is sometimes overlooked by bands and may seem unnecessary or ridiculous, but it serves a few purposes:

  • Sometimes people go out to party and forget where they are. You're there to help.
  • People love to cheer when their town/city/state/venue is mentioned. Works every time.
  • The staff/management/person-who-is-paying-you will always appreciate it.
  • It also helps you to remember where you are.

Include it in the various banter throughout the gig, and always give props to how great it is to be there.

4. The Bartender's Names

The bartenders are your best allies at a show in a club, bar, or pub. They're pretty much the people running things. You want to acknowledge him, her, or them by name several times during the gig. If you're drinking, this action will benefit you. If the bartender is also the owner or manager, this will benefit you. You'll make a friend, you'll be asked back, and you'll make the world a better place.

5. The Name of the Song

This is one to use in moderation. If you're playing a song that everyone knows, then you obviously don't need to tell everyone the name. If all of your songs are recognizable to the masses, then you might never have to follow this guideline. But if you're playing more obscure covers, or perhaps playing your own originals, then you should definitely keep the crowd in the loop so that they feel more involved in the show.

If you're playing in your hometown, you'll get a great response. If you're on the road, folks will think you're even cooler because you're from somewhere else.

6. The Name of Other Bands on the Bill

If you're playing a gig with several bands, or even just one other act, you should acknowledge them on the mic by thanking them, telling the crowd how cool they are, or telling the crowd to stick around for them. We're all in this together, and if we want to excel we need to have each other's backs.

7. Where You're From

In most cases, the members of a band are from different areas but the group usually has a home base. Tell the people! If you're playing in your hometown, you'll get a great response. If you're on the road, folks will think you're even cooler because you're from somewhere else. It's another easy way to have something to celebrate during your gig.

8. Drink!

Quite often, the success of your band is directly related to the amount of alcohol the venue is selling. Some musicians don't like the idea of being thought of as salesmen, but the simple fact is that you are, even if you're not trying. So you might as well put your best effort forward.

Give random toasts. Mention any drink specials. It's a party and you're the host, so you can easily encourage people to go to the bar and enjoy themselves. It will make the gig more fun for everyone and will lead to more sales for the business, which can do nothing but help your band.

9. It's Somebody's Birthday!

Even if it's not.

10. Tip

In many cases when you're performing, there are employees working that will customarily receive tips. Any venue that serves alcohol will have bartenders that rely heavily on gratuities for their income, and quite often there are other staff members that expect tips as part of their pay. It's good practice to remind patrons on the mic to tip these hard working folks.

Some bands and performers will also provide a tip jar for fans to throw in a some cash. If you're playing some of the bigger clubs, festivals, or casinos a tip jar isn't usually practical. In all other cases, it's a good idea to have a way for people to give you money. Set it up so it's accessible to people but not necessarily in a prominent location, and mention it on the mic a time or two.

11. Join our Mailing List!

If you don't already have a way for people to sign up for your mailing list, you need to make that happen, even if you don't yet send out a newsletter (but you should do that, too). It can be as simple as a piece of paper with your band's logo at the top and fields for people to write down their name and email address. Now that you have that covered, tell everybody about it on the mic.

12. Check Out Our Website/Facebook Page!

Your website address should be on your banner or bass drum head. If it's not, or if you don't have those things, then you should announce the URL on occasion. You may not get a whole lot of new followers or Facebook "Likes" as a result, but people are using their smart phones all the time in public, so if they like your band, they might just look you up and "Like" you right there at your show.

13. Buy Our Stuff!

This is, of course, only true if you have stuff to shill. If you do, you've got to let people know and make it easy for them to purchase. You've already invested some money in creating a product with the intention to sell it, so this is an ideal platform to accomplish the mission. There's nothing wrong with hawking your wares when you have a captive audience. If they like you, they'll be excited to buy your stuff.

Thank the staff, especially the bartenders. Thank the people in the crowd for coming and sticking around. Thank the rest of the band. Nothing brings about more of what you're looking to achieve than gratitude.

14. The Next Show

If you're playing at the same venue again in the future, you want to let the audience know when you'll be back. If you have more gigs coming up, let the crowd know that too, by referring them to your schedule on your website or Facebook Page. If they've stuck around until the end of your gig, then there's a good chance you'll see them again somewhere.

15. Thank You :)

People like to be thanked. It makes them feel good. It makes you feel good, too. Thank the staff, especially the bartenders. Thank the people in the crowd for coming and sticking around. Thank the rest of the band. Do it regularly yet sporadically throughout the gig. Nothing brings about more of what you're looking to achieve than gratitude.

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Comments 40 comments

villyvacker profile image

villyvacker 2 years ago from Manchester England

great article

Steve Witschel profile image

Steve Witschel 2 years ago from New Orleans, LA Author


wrongfinger 2 years ago

OK, how about a list of things you should NEVER say on mic when performing. We all have some horror stories!

Rev. Hatchet 2 years ago

Just, as a rule of thumb, cut the bass player's mic between songs and your probably ok...or better yet, don't give him one.

Kevin 2 years ago

# 8 ? I guess someone else is loading up your equipment and driving you home. Nice.

Rodricklewis profile image

Rodricklewis 2 years ago from Online

Really just go on the stage and no that know is your time to shine! Let the listeners now that's there is no equal.

WanderinWillow profile image

WanderinWillow 2 years ago from St. Mary's County, Maryland

love it. . My husband in a band and I just read him your hub and he did a mental checklist. Most he does do, some not so much due to being embarrassed of the current band he's in! Poetically great hub. Rock on!

Thomas Ngo profile image

Thomas Ngo 2 years ago

nice! interesting article

SusannaDuffy profile image

SusannaDuffy 2 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Excellent advice, particularly regarding the venue and the staff of the venue. Get them on your side!

SusannaDuffy profile image

SusannaDuffy 2 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Whoops! Forget to say, always thank the Soundie

CassandraCae profile image

CassandraCae 2 years ago from Ohio

very complete list, I never know what to say when I get in front of a microphone.

Sal 2 years ago

Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes to all of these. In my humble opinion, nothing more needs to be said. No need for jokes or dialogue with other band members or anything.

Also, I have found that after the first song of the set and right before the last song of the set is the best time to get to a lot of these.

chowchowgrl profile image

chowchowgrl 2 years ago from Ohio

Funny and accurate! Even if your music were horrible, I would like you! One thing I would add is how important it is for your sound quality to be clear so your audience can understand you. Great article!

Steve 23 months ago

don't forget to introduce the DJ by name!

Keithonbass 23 months ago

The singer in a band I was in always added a bit of humour. He would say things like "the guitarist is called Norfolk and the bass player called Good and together they're norfolkngood!

Hezekiah profile image

Hezekiah 22 months ago from Japan

These are very important actually. Some bands don't even introduce themselves properly. In Japan, most bands like to do the intros at the end with solos for each member.

Windsor 22 months ago

Don't forget to acknowledge the sound person -- they do as much to make you sound decent as the bartenders. Great list otherwise.

Eh 22 months ago

Listing off the names of the people in the band comes off as amurature. I've only seen really old bands do it and kid bands that are starting out. I've never seen any current signed band take time out of their set to name off members. Either the crowd already knows who's who or they don't care. People would rather hear you play another song than chatter on the stage for a few minutes. For those who are just finding out about the band, that's why there's things like the Internet. As long as people remember your bands name and have an actual interest in checking you out, they'll inform themselves on info you didn't share. Less talk more rock.

Romekio profile image

Romekio 22 months ago from Egypt

it was a very good tips, thank you steve,

vote up,



and keep up,


stmotivationmag 21 months ago

will add in our magazine to spread the good advice

jim 21 months ago

good stuff. there is a little bit of nuance to announcing upcoming shows... it can be bad form to mention a competing venue by name -- best to be vague and point fans to your facebook. i once got a big smile & a nod from a venue owner when i made a big deal out of saying something like "we're playing next week at some other joint that's not nearly as cool as this place."

Chriswillman90 profile image

Chriswillman90 21 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

I thoroughly enjoyed this very interesting.

Audiophilette 21 months ago

You forgot to thank the sound tech. Trust me, the sound tech will remember appreciative bands. This could result in getting booked at the same venue again and most likely having an even better mix the next time around. Not to mention all of the connections that a sound tech has in the music industry. Say good things about the sound tech and the sound tech will say good things about you as well.

Steve Witschel profile image

Steve Witschel 21 months ago from New Orleans, LA Author

I didn't mention the sound tech in particular but I did say "Thank the staff"...which would include anyone that is working on the job. I've spelled out a lot here. Some things people should be able to figure out for themselves.

Tony Joe 21 months ago

Hello!!!! Thanking the sound guy is #1 try after the first or second song. He or she is your best chance of have a good or bad show.

mike 20 months ago

Don't forget to tip your bartenders and waitress. You can over tip them but don't tip them over. They hate that. Except for Bob, he digs it. He's freaky that way.

Steve Russian 20 months ago

Not mentioning the sound guy, cuz ' it's just part of the deal', why not mention the electricity, the air conditioner, the trash guy, they're all part of the deal! I've done sound for 40 years, some bands have actually introduced me as the next member of the band, generally I'm there before the band, and long after the band. I work hard at making a band sound good, I don't hang on the board talking to buddys or girlfriends. I've made bad bands sound better, and good bands great. I also have played for 45 years and understand a lot of what is supposed to go on. This isn't just a hobby, this is what I do and I've been through the school of hard knocks to get here. The least you can do is mention the fact that I have something to do with the experience the audience is having. If I fuck up, then fire me, but don't act like I'm a piece of furniture.

Kofi mawuko/Ogya World Music Band 20 months ago

I like all the tips you gave us as musicians.Thanks Steve

zzzzleeep 19 months ago

Think about the last time you saw a major label artist or band introduce their members? The people who came for your band already know who you are and where they can find more info. The people who didn't come for you are drinking, hanging out with their friends and waiting for their band to play. If your music is good and they're into it, they will approach you for more information. That's when you introduce your bandmates by name, that's where you get them to sign up for the email list, that's where you talk about your next show, have some shots, make friends. The only thing I do agree with is saying the band name frequently. I would also add mentioning whether you're local or on tour, mention your latest release and mention where the merch table is/where the band will be after the set and to come hang out. But honestly, if people are seriously interested in your music, they will approach you for more information. If people aren't coming up after your set to talk to you, they probably didn't like your music as much as their friend's band. It likely has nothing to do with how little you said between songs...

JLClose profile image

JLClose 17 months ago from OreGONE

This is great... My favorite shows are the ones where the musicians interact with the audience, even if it's mostly self promotion. I don't care what they say, really...If they're talking to the audience, they seem more like a human, less like an untouchable rockstar. Banter makes the band approachable and therefore more memorable. I have to say I've never seen a band try to promote bar specials... I would think that was tacky, but that's just a personal opinion. On the other hand, mentioning the bartenders by name is a subtle way to get people over to the bar, for sure. These are some great points. :)

In response to the above commenter, I was just at a Ryan Adams concert and not only did he introduce his band members, but his opener, Jenny Lewis, who is famous in her own right, also introduced her band members. It's a sign of respect. Bands who don't acknowledge their back-up people have their heads too far up their butt. Now, the first opener, who was a way lesser known band, did not do much banter or introduce the band members, and while I liked their music, their stage presence was not memorable at all.

Antonio Westley profile image

Antonio Westley 17 months ago from New York

I have always considered this and its surprising how much has to be put into simply giving a shout out for business reasons. It's a little daunting if you ask me but hey what ever pays the bills right?

Chance Harvey profile image

Chance Harvey 17 months ago

A lot of cool stuff and insight in this hub, great job!

Rick, Sound Doctor PDX 17 months ago

Steve is correct. Always compliment the sound guy. He can make or break your show & usually makes the band sound better than they really are.

Dr.Gonzo 17 months ago

This is retarded! How about shutting the fuck up and playing a good show? Or saying something that relates to what is happening and help people perceive your songs in the way you intended. Introducing the whole band while shifting on doing solo rounds is the single worst practice in music, it's like watching a bunch of guys wanking over how good they are, while wasting everyones time. Write something that means something and play it like it means something. Hell, motivate people to get into whatever groove you're diggin', if it's right. But viewing playing shows as a business, and focusing on making people spend money in the bar and your merch shop is bull**, and quit licking the DJ and soundguys butthole on stage!

Marv Leis 17 months ago

Mentioning that you have business cards and they are right beside the tip jar, which in turn sometimes adds to the tip jar.

Soulwavela 15 months ago

You get one number and one number only because I'm a lazy bastard. Johnny Rotten

40ozfist 11 months ago

Everything is pretty much spot on, but I'd never name the members. I get embarrassed for the bands that do. We generally create song blocks in our set. We run groups of songs together and talk a little in between the blocks. Less talk, more music, more fun. It always keeps the energy up and the crowd rocking

paul 10 months ago

never make the mistake a drunk guitar player/singer did in one of my bands and say "Why dont you all just leave the beer is cheaper and you won't have us to annoy you.

Bass Raper Bullet 10 months ago

Great list, Steve. All of these are second nature to some of us after doing it for so long, but lots of guys/girls need to be reminded (especially our younger comprades, lol).

Someone mentioned a "What Not To Say" list. That would be impossible to do where I'm from. The list would need waaayyyy too many things on it. LOL. Seriously though, it wouldn't be a bad idea, but the list would vary from venue to venue in most areas.

Rogerdougherty 10 months ago

Thats Right!!!!!!#

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