Writers Guidelines - Published 3/10/04
Wanted: No pay. Worse hours. Extremely loud, smoky environments.
Hearing damage and hangovers likely. If this sounds like your kind
of job, perhaps you'd like to write for howwastheshow.
publishes primarily live show reviews of national and local bands playing
in Minnesota, with a goal of maintaining a balance between local/regional
and national shows. Time relevant interviews, articles and photographs
are also published on occasion, as are reviews of non-music but music-related
will be read, but there are no guarantees your submitted work will be
used. Please read our already published reviews to get a general idea
of what we're looking for. Especially welcome are intelligent, informed
reviews of bands outside the roots rock, alt-rock/pop, Americana genres
that typically dominate the mainstream music press.
Questions you can
ask that will help give your review content people will find useful:
- What were some
of your expectations coming into the gig?
- What is the
venue like? Had you been there before? Was it the same or different
than at other times you'd been there?
- How would you
describe the crowd?
- How was the
band's presentation, i.e. tight and professional, loose and disorganized,
crazy and over the top?
- What other bands
might you compare the band to? What kinds of associations did you
have during the show, musical or otherwise?
- How was the
band dressed? What was their stage presentation like? Any interesting
- What specific
songs were played and are they available on recordings? (Getting a
set-list is extremely handy.)
- What were some
show highlights? What were the high points/low points in musical energy?
Did the band make any remarks worth mentioning?
- What are the
band members' names and what instruments do they play?
- What does the
band sound like live compared to their recordings?
- Would you recommend
that other people see this band? Do you have any caveats to that recommendation?
(Admitting your biases will add depth to your review and aid the reader
in deciding for themselves whether they'd enjoy the band.)
- Have fun. Writing
about shows should not be a grueling experience. In most cases it
will enhance your own enjoyment of the show, and augment your memory
and appreciation of it.
- Show up for
the shows you ask to write about. If howwastheshow has been able to
obtain a guest-list spot for you, remember that such arrangements
require the time of the bands, the clubs and publicists and are a
privilege that should be respected.
- Ideal length
for a live review is 500-750 words. (500 words is approximately one
single-spaced typed page.) Multi-band reviews may occasionally run
- Get a live photo
of the event if you can. If you cannot get a live photo, please attach
a pre-selected photo that is appropriate and that we have the appropriate
permission to use for the review.
- If the band
has a website or MP3's available for download, either work it in or
include it so we can list it as a "related link."
- Ideally, live
reviews should be online within 72 hours of the end of the show. (I
realize this is not always possible, but it's still a goal!)
- Reviews will
be edited for spelling, grammar and to a lesser degree, style and
content, but I do not believe in censoring opinion. However, if you
accept that "all press is good press" about the best thing
you can say about a band you truly dislike is not much or nothing