Last year, I had the chance to see guitarist Andy Wood perform with his band Down From Up. They were performing at a small venue in town that was hosting a showcase of sorts for some local Nashville talent. I had not heard of Down From Up before the show, but I knew Wood was a serious gear hound when I saw him load in his Suhr guitars and his Diezel amps. I was doubly surprised when Wood started playing. He is a phenomenal talent.
However, because most people had come to see the local acts they knew and hadn’t heard of Down From Up, they were playing unfamiliar songs to most of the audience. After a few songs, they began losing the crowd. Upon seeing this, it looked like Wood went to each band member and suggested they switch to a Led Zeppelin medley they had obviously worked up in the past. It worked! The crowd got back into the show and seemed more receptive to the tracks that followed.
If you have a band that plays original music, take a tip from Andy Wood and have a popular tune or two within your genre to fall back on in case you start to lose a crowd. It could help turn a bad gig into a good one, or at least a positive one!