T’other night I saw a band, and it was all rock, rock, rock. They had instruments, lots of them, all playing plenty of notes, quickly, and simultaneously. There were some seriously talented musicians on the stage, but did I enjoy it. No.
The old saying goes something like “it’s as much the notes you leave out, as those you leave in”. Which brings me to dynamics. If you start off your set with a massive hard hitting track, play another hugely full track, where do you go? You could get louder I suppose, but frankly I’m old now and rock music is plenty loud enough without having tinnitus for a week afterwards. You could play more complex tracks, but seeing as you’re already trying to give Myung a challenge on the bass there’s not a lot more to give.
Your set needs some variation, and this goes for any genre. Prog may give you a 45min atmospheric pad solo, punk you’ll have a bit of chatting between 2 minute angry bursts of music. A good rock set will throw in some slow(er) songs, fast songs, loud songs and order them so they flow. Go and watch a good DJ, they’ll tee people up for “the drop”, people want a good climax after a good build up. Ever been to a gig to see a one hit wonder, they’ll play their hit at the end, building up to it (because if they played it at the start everyone would leave).
A good band works together, and plays together. If you need to outplay the opposing guitarist, make a spot in the track to do it, don’t just have a shred-off during the whole set, it sounds awful to everyone else. Put yourself in the audiences shoes, what you’d like to see at a show. Just because you’re an awesome musician, you don’t need to show it every track, people will get the idea.
So, be dynamic, think dynamics.