Look, some people are superstitious. I heard a story recently about a basketballer that will sleep in a worn pair of his opposing team’s shorts as part of his pre-game rituals. Michael Jordan single-handedly brought in baggy basketball shorts because he had to wear his pair of lucky training shorts underneath for every game. People have rituals that they believe is lucky, but truly it’s a routine that they use to get their minds into focus for the task ahead.
Musicians are not exempt to this. Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones is notorious for having to have a shepherd’s pie before every gig, Mumford & Sons burn Palo Salto wood before every show to help with headaches, sore throats, and nerves. It’s not uncommon to have a pre-show ritual, but some of them definitely are odd routines.
PEDESTRIAN.TV spoke with some of the artists from this year’s Mountain Sounds festival about what they find they absolutely have to do before every show, and these folks did not disappoint.
Alex The Astronaut
The day of a show I go through my songs and jokes to make sure they’re funny and good enough but I do try have a chilled day – I watch The Office, go for a run or to the beach. I can’t nap before a show because I have a recurring nightmare where I sleep through and wake up when everyone’s leaving.
Ten minutes before showtime I go and stand next to the stage and have a look at the audience (not in a creepy way) and see that they’re not scary, they’re just normal people chatting to their friends and there’s no reason to be nervous.
I double check my setlist, check my guitar, check that my fly is done up, then it’s showtime! I go watch other acts after I play if I’m at a festival. It’s like a big party and after the adrenaline of being on stage, it’s cool to see other people experiencing what you just did. Then some waters and bedtime for astronaut Alex!
I love the pre-show Exhibitionist ritual. Even though my band has only been playing with me for a few months, I’ve known everyone for years so we’re a family unit. Normally we joke around a lot, hang out and make sure everyone is in a good mood to hit the stage.
Then myself and keyboardist Gabby split from the boys and have a drink together, do some vocal warm ups and have a stretch session. Just before hitting the stage, we all have a big group hug and post show… we party!
We are a band of many pre-show rituals and habits. If you were to overhear or enter our dressing room about 45 minutes before our show you would be treated to an array of unfamiliar sounds. Ben’s vocal warm-ups tend to consist of a combination of trills, making weird siren noises out his nose and yelling various phrases of gibberish.
A glass of wine is often enjoyed paired with whatever cheese platter is on offer for that day although Ben will usually have a spoonful (or two) of Manuka honey. Apparently, it’s good for singing although I suspect he just enjoys the taste. Michael will also apply an appropriate amount of Vicks VapoRub before each show as well, a product we can’t go without on our rider.
If you’re headed along to the fest this weekend, then you might just catch an artist mid-way through a pre-show ritual. If someone spots Ben from Safia, give the lad some honey please.