When one of your favorite bands comes to town, you normally try to do your best to see them live, if live shows are your jam. But unfamiliar bands that may be touring smaller venues to try to display and perform more of their music can be a toss-up. Sometimes you get lucky and find a new band to listen to, but other times, the music isn't your thing, and you feel like you've wasted money on that ticket. Here are a few ways to make the decision of whether to go or not a little easier.
Check Out Free Music Services
If you want to know more about whether you'd like to see them, do what you can to look up their music. This sounds painfully obvious at first, but remember two things. One is that some bands don't have that much available online for free. Maybe they're new and just didn't have that many songs to begin with and now they're touring because they've written a few more that they didn't put online. The other thing is that sometimes the live performance doesn't match up with the produced performance of the live recording. Hearing their music online can help, but it's not all you want to look at.
Learn More About the Specific Style
It's easy for venues to say they showcase country bands or rock bands, but musical styles are more diverse than that. Country, for example, can cover honky-tonk, the Nashville and Bakersfield sounds, outlaw sound, countrypolitan, alt-country/Americana, roots rock, and more. Even bluegrass and old-time music sometimes fall under this umbrella in the world of live music venues, and crossovers, such as a rockabilly band with a more twangy sound, could show up at that venue. Plus, bands often play more than one style. A band known for honky-tonk might have a few countrypolitan favorites or even fusion styles that are more your style, making them worth seeing.
Check Out Their Influences
Does this band list your favorites as influences? Do they list completely unfamiliar names? Maybe they sound good in a recording but worship your least favorite country singer. This is more of a minor issue because a band's influences don't necessarily drive what they write and perform. But it helps round out the view you can form of the band.
Look at the Venue's Distancing or Video Performance Policy
If you're not too keen on being in an enclosed space for a while, see how the venue handles distancing and ventilation or if there's a video feed you could perhaps watch. An outdoor stage with plenty of space could be relaxing. If you aren't thrilled with the in-person accommodations but a livestream of the concert is available, that could be a better option for you and make seeing the band seem more positive.
Look into what touring country bands or other types of bands are coming to a venue near you.