Published on 02 Jan 2023.
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My magic gig setup

Not many of my colleagues know this, but I still regularly perform magic gigs.

I don’t do that many gigs a year, but occasionally when I get a message through my magician website, or when my entertainment agency reaches out, I say yes. There’s something so fulfilling in showing a magic trick to a grown adult human being and (when it hits just right) watching their worldview begin to crack in front of you. Maybe their understanding of the laws of nature was just slightly wrong? Maybe they’re living in a world just slightly bigger than they first realised? And then, all their sense and sensibilities come flooding back and they laugh it off with their friends, but for just a moment you’ve shown them something kinda awesome.

Much of how I think about magic gigs comes from Jamie D. Grant’s book of advice for part-time magicians, The Approach. One of his suggestions is to have a ready-to-go gig bag (and a backup in your car). From there you can load up quickly when you arrive and be ready to perform your repertoire of tricks.

I’m writing this post both as a reminder for myself and to share with newer magicians who may be curious about my gigging setup. I’ve been using this for a few years and am pretty happy with this setup and these tricks (though of course I’m still tempted by the new shiny tricks when I go to conventions). Warning: some light exposure below.

  • I perform with a jacket, shirt and trousers. The jacket sleeves are hiked up and shirt sleeves rolled up (nothing in my sleeves!)
  • In my left inner jacket pocket is an invisible deck, in an envelope. This is more of a get-out-of-jail free trick, rather than one I perform generally. I also keep my phone here, which I use to perform DFB.
  • In my right inner jacket pocket I have backup cards for my working deck. Firstly, an odd-backed blank card with the words ‘Not That One’ written on it for John Guasteferro’s trick Truth in Advertising, which allows for a full deck to be shown as completely blank, with the help of a reverse spread and a few false cuts. Also, extra Jokers with the gimmick for Static in place, to allow me to perform a haunted deck routine.
  • In my top jacket pocket I have packet tricks. Usually the ‘This / That / Other’ trick, or B’Wave Deluxe. I also keep my business cards here and my Sherpa (containing a red Sharpie) here. Occasionally I’ll have prepped a special Angle Z reveal, where the torn corner is placed within a split card or train ticket.
  • In my left jacket outer pocket is an Omnideck, perfectly placed for quickly ringing in to finish off my ACR routine.
  • In my right jacket outer pocket I have a jam jar, a bronze 2 pence coin, a silver half dollar, and the gimmick that goes with all of these objects, to perform James Brown’s Pot Of Jam trick. A really lovely trick with an amazing ending that’s great for practicing and playing with misdirection. The silver half dollar can also be used for a coin load routine before going into the rest of this routine: back-of-hand, shoulder, and under watch. (I used to have Joshua Jay’s Triad Coins routine here too, which went with the rest of these tricks.)
  • In my trouser pocket I have my working deck: usually Blue bikes or Blue Copag 310s. This is what I use for the bulk of my routines: ACR, Triumph + Asi Wind’s Double Exposure, the Biddle trick, Angle Z, Tyler Wilson’s Running Man, and the above mentioned tricks that use gimmicked cards added to the deck.
  • In my back left trouser pocket I have Nick Einhorn’s Nest of Wallets, set up to receive a folded card.

What are the best tricks I’m missing out on performing? Let me know!

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