When you write a live music review, you want to capture the experience of being there. But how do you write an engaging gig or concert review? We have some tips to help aspiring writers write reviews that will capture the imagination:
- Prepare for the gig by doing some basic research on the artist(s), checking the details of the gig and venue, and making sure you arrive in plenty of time.
- Take notes about the gig while it is happening, including the songs played, the audience reaction, and any notable elements of the performance.
- Don’t overindulge! It’s fine to have a bit of fun while you’re out, but you won’t be able to write a review if you don’t remember the gig!
- After the gig, organize your notes and plan how you will write up your review.
- Before publishing it, reread your review and get it proofread.
Find out more on all the tips above with our guide below.
1. Be Prepared
Preparation is important if you want to write a good live music review:
- Do a little research on the artist – You don’t need to know everything about the performers to write a review, but it can help to know what you’re expecting. If you don’t know the artist (or the support acts), look them up online.
- Look up the venue and gig details – Make sure you know exactly where and when the gig is happening, along with performance times (if available). You should also check whether the venue permits photography if you plan to take photos. You may even be able to organize a press pass with a little planning.
- Make sure you have everything you need – While reviewing a gig isn’t equipment heavy, you’ll want some way to take notes and possibly a camera.
Make sure you arrive with plenty of time before the gig starts. After all, if you miss the concert or part of the performance, you won’t be able to write a review!
2. Take Notes
You should take some notes during the concert so that you don’t forget any key points. Some things worth noting are:
- The set list – Note down the songs played, including any new material. You may even be able to get a set list after the gig (or take a photo of one).
- The atmosphere – Note down the feeling in the room before and after the gig, as well as the audience’s reaction during the performance.
- The performance – Make at least a few notes on the overall performance, as well as notable events such as costume changes or an impressive light show.
- Technical issues – While it might not be the performer’s fault, make sure to note any problems (e.g., poor sound quality) that affect the quality of the gig.
However, don’t get so bogged down in taking notes that you fail to engage with the performance. Just jot down the key points and enjoy yourself!
3. Don’t Overindulge!
We know, we just told you to enjoy yourself! But you don’t want to enjoy yourself to the point where you can’t remember anything about the gig, lose your notes, or get ejected from the venue (certainly an impediment to writing a review).
A glass of wine or pint of beer is fine. But if you get drunk you won’t take good notes and you might forget things that happened, which is not good journalism!
4. Plan Your Review
Before you write your review, go back through your notes and pick out key details. After this, you can plan your review, breaking it down into a series of paragraphs.
A few helpful tips that you can apply to any review include:
- Think about whether your readers will know the artist already. If not, you can give some background information, but don’t overload your review with trivia!
- Check information online if you’re not sure about anything (e.g., names of band members, song lyrics you might have misheard).
- Use storytelling – such as relating your experience of the gig in the first person – to give your readers the sense of being there at the concert.
- Be honest about your opinions, even if it was the worst gig of all time! Make sure to explain why you liked or disliked things.
Think about where you plan to publish it, too. If it is for your own music blog, you are free to write as much as you want in whatever style you please! But if you’re writing for another publication, make sure to stick to any word limit you were given.
5. Have Your Live Music Review Proofread
When you have finished drafting your live music review, take a break before rereading it. This will help you to spot any errors. It will also give you a chance to revise anything that isn’t clear or add any key details you forgot to include.
Once you have revised your work, you might also want to get it proofread. This will ensure you produce a professional, error-free review for your readers.