Just as you prepare the gear, stage, and other aspects of the venue, you need to prepare for the music being played, too. Talk with the band, review their arrangement, and investigate the dynamics of each song. Ideally, you’ve had time to work with the band so everyone is on the same page.
You’ll also learn how to manage personalities during a live mix. Everyone wants to make sure they’re heard while performing, but turning everything up 10 will make for a muddled mix that no one will enjoy. Managing these egos–diplomatically of course–will make the band sound better and create a more pleasurable experience for everyone.
Because that’s your job as a live sound engineer, to make the band sound its very best. And the best way to do this is during the sound check, playing a song or parts of a song to get levels where they need to be. You’ll learn how to group before the show to make your mix more efficient.
All of your preparation will streamline your work when it comes time for the show to start. You’ll never be able to prepare for every little imperfection that may arise, but learning the steps you need to take to ensure a quality show will make it easier for you to address those little hiccups that are bound to appear. With enough work beforehand, the live mixing should be the easiest part of the gig!