When you're playing a gig, it's very important to draw the listeners attention to you. Most of today's venues are loaded with distractions, like TVs and video games, that interfere with your performance.
One way to gain the ear of the audience is to open with a cover song..
It's important that the song be mainstream and popular. Don't pick an obscure cover from an unknown band, just because you like it. The purpose of the song is to get the audience to identify with a familiar tune and, hopefully, sing along.
In my experience, once I've got them listening, I can then launch into my original songs. I like to drop in a few more covers throughout the set, just to please the masses.
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