Nervous Wees, Giraffe Milk & Hugs: 8 Bands Divulge Their Odd Pre-Gig Rituals

pre-gig rituals

Ahead of Oxford Art Factory and Budweiser‘s night of Freedom, the free event which hosts a slew of musicians ready to rock your jocks, we thought it’d be fun to scope out a few of the bands’ pre-rituals before they get up on the stage.

A handful of bands were kind enough to give us a little glimpse into the life of a musician just before they play a show, so have a gander at their pre-show rituals, some of which sound exactly like me on any given weekend. Who knew I was practically a musician minus the talent or ability to stand on stage without wanting to die?


“For Marcus, it’s usually to drink quite a few beers. For Eddie, it’s to sort of wander around aimlessly with a blank look on his face like someone who’s been shell-shocked. I think it’s his nerves that do it really. One gig he fell off a two-meter tall stage during a song: he said it was because we drove ten hours before the gig and he was tired but I’m guessing it was just nerves (although no joke he did angrily blame the long drive for him falling off the stage ‘cos he was tired. Now we have a rule where we have to leave a day before any far away gigs for R & R or he won’t play).  Tom and Angus just stand around because they’re sort of normal, well-adjusted people really.” – The Lulu Raes


“Hmmm, good intentions are undone with a late arrival to the venue ensuring a half-baked soundcheck with either a guitar playing up, an amp sounding dodgy or a bung sounding Tom. Then we sticky tape the merch to the wall and re-park the cars. Then we relax but realise that relaxing is directly conducive to drinking beers. So we realise we are drinking too quickly and work out how many hours ’til the gig vs how many more beers should be had. Then we realise we haven’t left enough time to eat dinner.

“We start thinking about a new arrangement to a new song or a just a totally new song and hope everyone is across it enough to play it. Plug shit in. The loud pedal sounds good. The louder pedal sounds good. Soundman says you all good and we say ‘yeah sure.’” – The Pretty Littles


“First thing’s first are those drink tickets. Someone from the band, whoever takes the initiative, approaches the venue staff to collect these valuable items and distributes an even split. The person in charge of distro generally gets a cushy deal and might skim a bit of cream from the top. That’s ok. It’s an unspoken agreement.

“Right before the show, another band member with initiative will ask the bar staff for some receipt paper and maybe a pen. If it’s a sports bar, Keno pencils are readily available. It’s then up to that member to hustle a set of songs from the band and put pen to paper. Once that’s sorted,  if we have time, we’ll do hugs before we send a few heads up the Delta.” – Big White


“We start every show day with a trip to the spa – nothing short of a full hour dedicated to pampering ourselves. We love ourselves, we deserve it. Upon returning home, Mumma Beef heats up a fresh batch of giraffe’s milk. It is smoother than any other dairy, and its high in Vitamin A and B12. Brainpower.

“After a nap of exactly two hours we’ll wake up simultaneously without the help of an alarm, we can all feel that burning desire to perform from deep within our stomachs, our hearts. Patting this desire down temporarily, we’ll brush our hair, watch the movie ‘Delgo’, check for further evidence the earth is flat, choose our outfits and warm up our vocal cords in that order…” – Baby Beef


“We tend to scream pop music in the car until our voices get warm. Like we’ll literally go sit in the car 30 minutes before a show and sing our music loudly at each other. THAT, and also regretfully eating a big meal before stage time – which obviously leads to us desperately trying to suppress our burps into the microphones. Sorry. Nobody said these had to be ‘good’ pre-show rituals.” – Froyo


“Usually after soundcheck, the rest of us relax and have a beer while Felix perfects his bass sound for two hours. Then for some dinner, probably a slice of pizza or a kebab or whatever’s cheap around the area. The key is to eat something small so you don’t become sluggish. You gotta be light on your feet when playing shows. Sometimes I’ll have honey. Honey is great for the voice – makes it’s really sweet and smooth. Some people have it in a nice tea, I just drink it straight outta the bottle.

“Then for vocal warm-ups. ‘Mmmmmmmmmmmm’ is a good one, and then ‘Brrrrrrrrrrrr’ (blowing air through your lips). Start low and slowly scale up until you’re hitting those lush falsettos. Usually, we do this in the bathroom because there’s usually no green room and if there is you don’t wanna look pretentious to the other people in there. Better to freak out people in the bathroom. One last nervous wee then SHOWTIME!” – Dream Dog


“During a family holiday to Disneyland, Florida in 2003, ‘SmokeyLou Mosley (lead guitar) spent some time in a police cell in the outer suburbs of Tampa. It was here that he learnt a recipe for a cabbage soup touted to be the favourite of blues legend Robert Johnson himself. Smokey Lou prepares enough special soup for all The Friendly Friends – including management.

“When all the soup is finished, The Friendly Friends sit in a circle and Joey Jetson (vocals), who insists he is a lost descendant of Bob Dylan, asks the band to collectively recite every word from Dylan’s fifth studio album ‘Bringing it all Back Home’, a request which is usually denied. After a series of congratulatory hugs, The Friendly Friends are ready to preach the blues.” – The Friendly Friends


“In the lead-up to any show, we like to spend as much time together as possible. Maybe get some dinner, sip a brew or whatever. I always find that when we’re on the same wavelength and know what each other’s day has been like etc, then we play better and we’re more in sync. The only semi-tradition we have originated on the Goldy where Dome urged us to all have a shot of fireball right before we played. I think we’ve done that twice since.” – The Jim Mitchells


“In the lead up to a gig, we usually like to rehearse a lot, and sometimes directly before gigs, you can catch us in the rehearsal room rushing to put the final touches on the set and making it perfect. Also checking to see if we have all of our leads, adapters and instruments (you’d be surprised how often and easy it is to forget something as important as an instrument) is a big part of pre-gig preparation.

“Before we go onstage we all like to have a couple of drinks, and Antonia does vocal warm-ups too which helps her voice survive the whole set. As for band traditions, I’d have to say a nice dinner, an Uber XL with a rude driver and some vodka. This keeps us all over here at GAUCI HQ happy and content!” – Gauci

If you haven’t already feasted your eyes on the official Freedom lineup supported by Budweiser, we’ve got the details right here:

Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, 18th January

The Lulu Raes
The Pretty Littles
The Million
The Jim Mitchells
Big White
Georgia June
The Friendly Friends
Baby Beef
Dream Dog

The masses can start flooding in from 7pm but make sure you RSVP here if ya wanna get in for free coz you know, nothing in life’s guaranteed. Plus, Budweiser has jumped in to give everyone a free drink when you enter so you’re basically making money.