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Bandicoots: What to Wear and How to Score

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Dear Bandicoots,

My band hasn’t figured out what costumes to wear on stage. Got any advice?

- Anonymous

Dear Nacho Libre:

For the love of Elvis Costello, why would you start with that question? Not to mention you give no clues as to your style, genre, vibe, etc. I just hope you give more thought and consideration to what type of music your band should play (and for that matter IF your band should play) than to what it wears. “Costumes” make me think of gag-bands and Broadway Musicals. Style, as it were, can serve a higher function for bands that use stage garb as an aesthetic device (Mr. Pacman wouldn’t be nearly as inventive and fun if they wore cut-off jean shorts and sneakers—although that could be interesting…). The only advice I can give you: Make what you wear on-stage an extension of your music…but make it an HONEST extension of your music. Make sure it fits the overall vibe you’re hoping to convey. Almost all bands think about what they wear. The trick is to come off like you haven’t.

Dear Bandicoots,

I'm in a Denver band and we've played about 15-20 shows around Denver over that past year but we keep playing the same shows over and over again, and sometimes with no one there. How do we get to the next step? We think our music is better than some of the local stuff that is currently more "popular" yet we only get Wednesday night gigs and never get to play with a band in our genre that can bring in a crowd. What is the secret?

- Jordan

Dear Jordan:

Here’s the secret: Play 15-20 times more. Every band pays its dues. Some have to do so on Wednesday nights; some do so in front of bigger crowds. Keep at it. Gather up a street team (comprised of friends, family, whoever). If you’re passionate about your music, that passion will translate to other people. Get them on-board to help promote. Don’t just rely on Myspace. Go to more local shows. Meet other local bands face-to-face. Much like the advice I gave a few weeks ago: Research national bands (you fit with) coming to town, email a local booker and offer to open that “big” show for free. Then, focus all your efforts on bringing people out early to come see you. Don’t play two weeks before or two weeks after that “big” opening gig. If you can, keep track of how many people were there when you played. Afterwards, remind the booker of this and offer to open another appropriate show for free. Soon you’ll be playing Thursday nights. Sometimes with no one there. Rinse. Repeat.

Bandicoots is written by Eli Mishkin of Hot IQs and appears every Wednesday, except when it doesn't. Got questions? Get answers. Hit Eli up here.

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