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The Power of the Gig

Bass player performing onstage

n870410144_3474095_631I’ve been playing bass for a long time — since I was 14. I’ve been playing gigs for almost as long. I haven’t kept count, but there have been a lot of them.

Most of those gigs have been OK. Some have been kind of crappy. And some have been downright shitty and made me question why the hell I ever wanted to be a performing musician in the first place.

But every once in a while, one of those gigs comes along where everything just comes together.

You know what kind of gig I’m talking about: The vibe is just right. The sound is literally shaking the stage. The band is firing on all cylinders.  The room energy makes you dizzy. The audience is putting out nothing but love.

And all at once, you realize, “This is it. This is what I live for.”

It doesn’t matter what else is going on in your world. Your chaotic family life, your boring job, your broken down car – all those things are relegated to the “who gives a shit” part of your brain.

At that moment, you’re serving your purpose, and nothing else matters. Your spirit soars and everything is right within your world.

That’s the power of the gig.

I love playing gigs. Nothing else makes me feel more alive, more vital, more relevant.

I also love the bass — the way it sounds, the way it feels, the way it looks. I love the way it makes the stage rumble. I love the way it makes my pant legs flutter when I’m standing in front of my amp.

Playing bass live is the shit, and that’s that.

Why do you play bass?  What is it about that big, unwieldy 4 or 5-string beast that keeps you coming back for more, weekend after weekend?

Drop a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

Oh, and welcome to the Gigging Bass Player.


10 thoughts on “The Power of the Gig

  1. Hi Paul, I like the concept of your blog and I see that it’s relatively new and uncommented upon 🙂 Allow me to be the first here. I had a discussion with an experienced bassist a few days ago about my intention to start gigging. I have been thinking about doing this for several months, just haven’t plucked up enough courage to get on stage to jam (when invited). Having come across your blog is like a breathe of fresh air. Looking forward to your feedback and future blog posts.

  2. Hi Lin. Sorry for my late response to your comment . . . I’m still relatively new at this and have not yet gotten into the habit of checking for comments. I’m glad you found my blog, though!

    It’s great to hear that your working up to your first live performance. However, since you haven’t taken the plunge and jumped onstage yet, I should warn you . . . once you get up there, you’ll never want to come down! I’m looking forward to hearing all about your first gig! Thanks so much for your comment!


  3. Paul,

    feel you man. I play in a small time band and I play every Wednesday night at a little bar open mic night. I just want to play and perform and learn from all of it. I love making music with my friends, sometimes great, sometimes bad but I still love it. Thanks for the blog and I will be back a few times a week to see what you have to say.

    Good Luck

  4. Jack,

    Thanks for visiting and thanks for comment. Been super busy lately, but I’ll be posting something very soon.

    Keep layin’ down that groove!

  5. I play for the love of the music. The tone of the bass, the feel of the rhythm. Something inside of me craves it, obssesses over it and keeps me coming back any chance I get. I drive with a 4 string in my trunk, you just never know when you will have a chance to play. I was sitting at work and googling Bass just to see what was out there, then I stumbled upon your site. I haven’t read through much but enough to already add it to my favorites and have a high interest in reading more and more. You said it right here and this is why I play:

    “This is it. This is what I live for. It doesn’t matter what else is going on in your world. Your chaotic family life, your boring job, your broken down car – all those things are relegated to the “who gives a shit” part of your brain. At that moment, you’re serving your purpose, and nothing else matters. Your spirit soars and everything is right within your world.”

    This happens at gigs at an alomst orgasmic level but anytime I pick up my bass it is the only thing that matters to me, and the melodies in my body.

    I look forward to reading more.

    DeedZ (Daniel)

  6. Hey Daniel,

    A four-string in your trunk at all times, eh? That’s what I call a man dedicated to his bass!

    Thanks for reading and thanks for leaving a comment!

    Keep on thumpin’!


  7. im with deedz … nuthin else goin on but me an the boys …. too look out and see the crowd bouncin all in unison is almost like the vibes are kickin up the floor and makin em bounce … im a pretty quiet laid back kinda guy but when im on the stage it is the 1 time i am the man ….i am the groove … i am the soul in the tune ….at times i am so much into the song that i dont even realise that the audience is there untill we are done and the house goes wild …. its like oh shit …we are at a gig ..theres people here .. i must confess i am an addict .. making music is my crack , my sanctuary, put me in the pocket and zip it closed

  8. I hear ya people. Jamming by yourself or even just throwing down with the boys (girls are allowed too 🙂 ) in the jam room is a usually a blast in and of it’s self. However when you put a receptive and interactive audience into the equation there is a synergy that takes it all to another dimention. I’m playing a show Saturday at a farily local venue I haven’t yet played. I’m hoping to capture the feeling we’re all talking about at this (and every) gig. I can’t say that I mind sticking $150 in my pocket either.

  9. hey, just stumbled upon your blog while i was actually looking for a new bass. i need some advice on moving to the next level. i want to start gigging but i don’t think my current bass is up to it. i started about 10 months ago. it was actually my girlfriends old bass that she had given up on. i didn’t think much of bass back then but after hearing the deep thump that came out of it, i got hooked. its the deep resonance that shakes everything to pieces. i love it. you called it the “4 or 5 string beast” and that’s totally how i would describe it. she’s a beast and she’s got one hell of a growl! i love my bass now ( my gf eventually gave it to me after seeing my love for it) i call her cherrybombzilla. someday i really hope to be a gigging bassist but right now its just practice practice practice

  10. Cherrybombzilla . . .that’s awesome! Keep practicing. And don’t let your “first bass” hold you back from getting out there and playing with other musicians. The quality of your bass is not nearly as important as you think it is. As long as it’s playable and sounds decent, squeeze everything you can out of it until your ready to move up to something a little flashier.

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