Amy Mantis


Crafting A Setlist

I had my first solo show on Saturday.  It went pretty well.  I recorded it so I'll post some some tunes from it later.  I have to chop it up first.


The hardest part for me wasn't performing by myself.  It was crafting a setlist for myself.  With Canary I have a lot more room.  It's different.  It's hard to explain right now.  In a few months I'll be able to talk about it with great command of the English language, but right now, Toby Ziegler would not approve of what I'm about to do.

Starting is the hardest part.  I had no idea what to play.  The venue was a coffee shop.  People were pretty chatty (more on that later), but that's okay.  Starting isn't as hard with Canary because there are drums and I generally start us off with a song with a drum intro.  But I had no drums.  So I played my most recent song.

Oh, and the sound.  I don't have a PA system so I was using a guitar amp for my microphone.  I'm used to playing at the Lizard Lounge which has a lovely system and a lovely engineer (Tom Bianchi - at least he's there on Mondays).  I had the audience for sound.  Fortunately they were my dearest friends so they were helpful.  It took a couple of songs to get it right but once we got it right, things were pretty smooth.

Another conundrum is how many covers to play.  My songs are not incredibly well known, and while the people were there to see me because they know me, they also like to hear songs they know.  I did five covers (including "Legs" by ZZ Top).  More than I wanted?  Yeah, but I also don't have enough songs that translate well on acoustic guitar.  So I had to fill up an hour with something.  I played 14 songs - nine originals, five covers, and a lot of banter.

The cool thing about playing by myself is that I can switch things up on the fly.  I had a written list but I was like, "Mmmm, I want this song now."  And I did it with no effort.  I love quarterbacking a band (which is tricky to do sometimes), don't get me wrong.  I love my band.  But I'm starting to love this too.

The flow of the show is something I need to work on.  The setlist generally is a guide but you have to factor in the audience, the room, the mood, and everything else.  I'll get better at it as time goes by.

One thing I was surprisingly better at than I thought I would be was talking to the audience.  Granted they were my buddies, but I had no inhibitions and felt...good.  It felt good.  I love talking so I really shouldn't be surprised by it, but I always thought I'd HATE IT.  But I didn't.  That may be good or bad.  We'll find out.

Alright.  Sorry, Toby, I've got songs to write.  Lizard Lounge tonight and I need two new ones since I didn't do any new ones last week.