Getting warmed up/psyched for a gig - wot do you do?

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
I'm at the stage of doing my first few gigs and I'm finding I don't know what to do with myself between the soundcheck (7pm-ish typically) and actually playing (1015 or later).

I want to play warmed up and psyched up. So I kinda want to be relaxed but with my muscles ready to go. I've made the mistake of drinking too much coke and hanging around for ages getting nervous and I don't want to make a habit of that.

I think I'm gonna start going for dinner after the soundcheck and then hit the pad for a good half hour before playing.

What do you do to get ready to actually play?


Silver Member
I bring a practice pad and set of marching band sticks and find a corner to just warm up on the pad. I did this even if I was going to just play the conga drum. It helped me relax, and warm up the muscles.

The past few gigs I've played, my band was one of 3 or 4 bands to go on that night. So, I had to get to the gig early, set up, and wait for our time to play. I only had one beer, and made sure it was not too close to the time we were going to play.
Last edited:


Gold Member
Get absolutely shitfaced drunk.
When I was younger I used to do things so professionally.
Now, at the ripe age of 42, I figure the band are all self-confessed 'we're in this just for the laughs, free beer, and flange', and that's the approach we all take.
We figure it helps our timing and tightness as a group....of course it doesn't, it just makes us all feel that we're tight as a band.
We're getting free beer at the places we play....well, we'd better get our money's worth...hell they're going to get their's...
And if we're shit, then we'll be so arseholed we won't know about it.

PS: I know, I know....this isn't the right attitude.....and I'm exaggerating a little bit anyway....I don't endorse a lack of professionalism but I do endorse the fact that it is supposed to be fun for everybody there, and that includes the band.

Our band have done our first three gigs now...we went down a storm in each one...a drunken cover of Woman by the Anti Nowhere League is irresistable interspersed with originals about tarts, whores and women generally....all of course performed in a melodic neo-punk, progressive rock (sort of), Jazz-Blues style. Or something. Perhaps.

I reckon we might get signed if someone sees us sobre.....but we're too old for that shit anyway...


Of course, on a serious note, in terms of exercise, if you drink REALLY quickly, the arm exercise this entails warms your muscles up for drumming.
Honest...I think
Last edited:

Xero Talent

Silver Member
I usually try to relax after soundcheck.

Often I'll go home and watch "Rattle and Hum" or another concert DVD to get pumped up, but otherwise I'll chill, play cards with the band, grab some healthy food for dinner, have a few drinks, and stay relaxed.

About 30 minutes out from showtime, I'll warm up my arms and legs, make sure my monitor mix is good to go, and get focused, and have a final bathroom break. Above all, get ready to have fun!


Pioneer Member
To the OP, I really hate downtime between soundcheck and the hit. I really try not to showup until 30-40 minutes before we are supposed to play. Of course certain events and venues require that you're there earlier. Unfortunately I play a lot of casinos, and I like to play blackjack. I've lost my whole nights pay before we even started a couple times. Of course, I've also walked out with 5 times what I wouId've made without the tables too.

These days I usually just read a book, and try NOT to drink too much. I definitely like my booze, but if I start a gig with any kind of reasonable buzz, I'm usually in a total fog by the last set.

Try not to over prepare, or you'll probably feel let down. You are really the best judge of what to do with your time.


Platinum Member
One beer maximum. Have a bite to eat, hang out, talk with my wife or with friends, sketch on spare setlists to hand out to fans, and of course a bathroom break.

Not here to tell anyone how to run their lives, but when I show up to a bar or club and the band is playing like they got wasted or high before they went on stage, I don't stay.


Gold Member
One beer maximum. Have a bite to eat, hang out, talk with my wife or with friends, sketch on spare setlists to hand out to fans, and of course a bathroom break.

Not here to tell anyone how to run their lives, but when I show up to a bar or club and the band is playing like they got wasted or high before they went on stage, I don't stay.
We lock the doors..
If we gotta listen to the crap we're playing, then we're damned if people are walking out on us...

boltzmann's brain

Senior Member
depends on the gig, of course. jazz gigs i usually chew phatt with my fellow musicians (the jazz guys are usually quite intelligent and it makes for stimulating conversation), and the rock/other gigs i have 1 beer, and do whatever it takes to not think about the gig. if i get to thinking about my solo, i'll get nervous. i am a nervous nelly, and the calmer i stay before downbeat, the better i play. period. find a system to stay calm, and as mentioned, a little while before downbeat, COMPLETELY warm up.


"Uncle Larry"
I'll warm up on my steering wheel on the ride to the gig. I don't need psyching up, mentally. Even if I don't warm up, I have enough headroom technique-wise that I'm not hampered on the first few songs, when my drumming muscles are still "cold". Plus 99% of the time as soon as I'm done setting up, it's gig time. I rarely have time in between.

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
A few arm stretches every which way. Warm up my wrists a few minutes. Two Red Bull & Vodkas or Two Shots of whiskey with a Coke chaser. One beer in between sets. And start the set with a fast, simple song. That's what I like.

When I first started giggin, I'd go and buy a new cool shirt before each gig. We only gigged once a month, if that.


Silver Member
I like to roll out one of those silly puddy styled pads onto a table and play nice and slowly for a good long while, then bring the tempo up a bit. A little stretching and maybe a smoke, and I'm good to go.


Senior Member
I really don't do any sort of warm up before playing, other than simple stretching. The time between sound check and playing I usually just hang around with the rest of my band. We'll maybe get something to eat, or just stay and drink at the bar. Or go talk to the other bands, it never hurts to network. Really just the excitement of knowing I get to play on stage is enough to get my pumped up.

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Double paradiddles or para diddle diddles with slow full strokes on a no-rebounding surface doing. That gets the blod flowing and gets me ready for a few stretches.

I avoid sugar and caffeine and don't eat right before playing.

Stay hydrated.


Silver Member
During soundcheck is when I like to do my warming up, or loosening up, as I like to refer to it as. It doesn't take long, as since soundchecks have a pattern, so does loosening up at soundchecks. I can paraddidlespagiddle my brains out while the soundguy dials in the drum. By the time soundcheck's over, I'm warm. That lasts me through to the start of the set, with some quick stretches prior.
After soundcheck I like to have a sit-down dinner [not burgers or pizza, but food]. Usually that's provided by the club or promoter, or at least a buyout happens, so I'll try to find a restaurant. I usually go with one of the other guys in the band or crew. Sometimes we all go together. Depends on the circumstances and people's hunger levels.
Anyway, my point is, there's time, so a sit-down dinner is a nice way to get a couple of things done: nutrition, killing time, chatting with someone you're normally trying to make deaf.

I don't need to get psyched up for a gig. I'm psyched up for my next one now, and it's Saturday morning and I'm in my pajamas.


Junior Member
about 30 minutes before the gig i do some light stretching for a couple of minutes then i go through singles, doubles, paradiddles, triplets and 16ths on the pad with metronome set to some medium speed. it helps me to relax and warm up.