Wondering how to elevate your coverage? Writing about live music events is tricky, I get it! You experience a heightened sense of adrenaline while being at the venue, trying to take in every minute while simultaneously putting words together in your head to craft an article in real-time. Then, the event ends in the blink of an eye. You go home and wake up with PCD (post-concert depression) the next day. Great. Now you have to make sense of everything that happened the night before, and there’s a deadline to meet! Sounds like a difficult task, right?
Read for a guide to inspire creative storytelling when you need it most.
Pay Attention and Take Notes
Don’t be shy to whip out your phone or notebook to record pivotal moments during a show. I usually look out for what artists say before or in between songs and quote them in my article. Oftentimes, these candid speeches and interactions are unique to that night, making them valuable stand-out moments of a concert. They are heartfelt, spontaneous, add more colour to your piece and help readers feel like they were also present. Keep your ears open because these gems don’t just come from the performers themselves. At my Germein Sisters show, I overheard a conversation between two audience members, which then inspired my article. Observe your surroundings!
Talk To A Friend
I swear by the ‘Inverted Pyramid’ structure—a classic writing scaffold in a journalist’s playbook. In this context, it would mean ranking bits and pieces of the show from the most to the least important and writing about them in that order. Why talk to someone about the concert before writing about it? Because you’ll often find yourself recounting the most memorable parts of the show first! When I first saw MUNA live with one of my best friends, our debrief afterward helped me gather my thoughts for writing the article later on. Friends naturally ask you great followup questions that give you food for thought, and they are typically the same demographic as your target audience. It’s a win-win!
Don’t Read Other People’s Work
During the writing process, I avoid reading any other articles about the artist’s recent shows, or anything about them, for that matter. I find it doesn’t help me write a review that’s true to my own experience (because every show is different). Absorbing too many opinions will dilute your own. Follow your gut instincts, trust your taste—stay true to your honest thoughts and write precisely about what you want to express and convey. This will not only increase the impact and authenticity of your work, it will also set you apart from others!
Start With The Basics
When you get stuck, start with the 5Ws—Who played what, when, and where? Why did they do a show? From there, I expand on these questions and delve deeper. Which songs did they play that were my favourite? Why? Did they tour this city for a particular album? Did the show mirror the feel and energy of that album? How did I react to the setlist? I crafted my introduction for Maisie Peters by retracing her origins in pop music – after all, she was in town to open for her boss, Ed Sheeran. Recounting these facts helped me to get out of the rut I was in while writing that article.
Highlight The Differences
I’ve written a few articles for Good Guys Press so far, and part of why I keep coming back to this gig is because no show is exactly the same. That’s the magic of it, so use this to your advantage! Ask yourself—what differentiates this show from all the other shows that you’ve been to. Is it the venue? The fans? The music? Or do things just feel different? For example, I wrote about Lorde’s evolution in her live performances, going from being a shy teenager on stage during her Melodrama tour to the confident creative powerhouse I witnessed at her Solar Power shows.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably deeply passionate about writing and about music, and you’re looking to combine both worlds.
You’ll be more than alright.
Still don’t know where to start?
Write from the heart.
– ADELINE CHAI