We've all said this to ourselves on a gig when we need something we don't have. Let's get right to it. Here are 7 things I bring to every gig, big or small.
1. iPad/Song Charts
No one wants to be caught unprepared like this. I've only once forgotten my iPad and was luckily bailed out by my brother. Make sure you have it before you leave for the gig and make sure it's put on charge the night before.
2. Portable battery and charging cables
This is something that goes hand in hand with number one. We will all forget to charge the tablet from time to time and this will bail you out every time.
3. Two reusable water bottles
Two water bottles you ask? Why two? Why not just one? Allow me to explain. Do you sweat a lot? (<<<me) You'll need to drink two water bottles worth and refill them too. Do you like to drink on gigs? One for water, one for alcohol. Are you forgetful? You'll lose track of one bottle a lot and double your chances of finding it faster. Just bring two.
4. A spare gig bag
XLR dies? 1/4" cable crackles every time you move? Mic suddenly stops working? I could go on. Obviously, we're not made of money and our cars can't hold two whole rigs. Get a cheap bag you won't miss and fill it with extra XLRs, 1/4" cables, a spare mic with clip, adapters, and power cables. This bag has turned a heart attack into a passing problem more times than I can remember.
5. A contact name and number
I cannot stress enough how important this little advice is. No one at the venue ever knows what's going on for certainty and your contact has probably either left for the day or is too busy to come out and find you when you arrive. Having a number to call when things aren't going as expected keeps things professional and prevents you from falling into the "I don't know" zone which no one likes.
6. A small snack
This is pretty self explanatory. A three hour gig is actually more like 5 hours, not including drive time. Being hungry halfway through a gig just sucks. A protein bar bails you out until you can grab some food.
7. Pain killers
Opioids or better and large numbers of them! No? Oh, well your typical NSAIDs should do the trick. These will be used for you basic headaches and body pains. Try singing for three hours with a splitting headache. It's not fun.