just put yourself out there. be willing to play for free and wherever you're invited. look around for local show flyers that say MTBA+ (more to be announced)...usually means there's open spots on the bill. Try contacting whoevers throwing the show and get on the bill. Act professionally and never desperate.
Best way to get out there is to throw your own shows. Backyards and house parties are GREAT for exposure. People will show up to most any backyard just so they have a place to get fucked up. Just make rounds among the people, share a beer, offer a few cigarettes, network with local music lovers and pitch your band. Never forget to tell them who you are, what you play, where your from and when your on. When you take stage people will remember you as "that guy from that town who plays that instrument in that band"
never underestimate the power of myspace. best way to reach new people and advertise. we get a lot of our show's through the band page. definately use the band page to your advantage. here's a few steps I find helpful.
1. Add all the biggest local bands and check there page often so you know where all the good local shows are at (you wanna mostly aim for bands that sound simillar to yours). Make sure to look for those MTBA+ Try to attend these shows and network when you can.
2. Add as many people from the bigger bands friends lists to your own. The most effective way to do this is by only adding people from your area (includes your hometown or county, the surrounding towns/counties and the closest major city to you). Try to add people that seem like they'd be most interested in going to shows or listening to your tunes
3. Use the category feature to cetegorize your friends by cities. This will help you out in the future when you have gigs to advertise. You don't want to waste time by sending flyer comments to people who are too far to atend your gig. You also dont just want to depend on hanging flyers around town. By having your friends neatly organized by cities you can send the flyer to mostly the locals in the town your playing in and two or three of the neighboring towns. Then a friend tells a friend and a friend tells a friend and hopefully word gets around quick
Ideally, shows will come to bands slowly at first and usually as opening acts or filler bands. Once you get your name around and people start to recognize you as a local act it is likely that people you know (and a lot more people you dont know) will hit you up to play their gigs. A good gig is usually 2-3 filler bands, 3-4 good bands and 2-3 headliners (the local acts that bring the crowds). Once you get you play enough and people actually start to like you, you can be considered among the "good" local acts. At this point people you dont know know who you are and have been to your gigs more than once
You gotta keep a good rep. Always be quick to set up. Taking too long to set up makes the crowd hancy and more willing to judge you negatively before you even start. Always have at least a 20 min set of well rehearsed material. ALWAYS ALWAYS make an effort to advertise the show, thank the host and talk to all the bands. Advertising of the gig should start as soon as you receive the gig. At the latest, a week or two before the date. The gig happening the soonest always takes priority to later gigs (ever if there smaller shows. people want to know that you're the kind of band that is down for their shows)
idk, there's a lot more I could type but I think I'll put this little novel to a close. lol. I hope it helps out a bit.