Today it's rainy and cold. I'm staying inside with the intention of cleaning house and re-cooping lost time. For the last two weeks I've been down with a really nasty cold/flu thing. I have the tolerance for about three days of downtime. After that, I get grumpy.
Despite barely feeling better, I did manage to pull off a charity event last Sunday at Eau Claire Market. I think the motivation was there to simply get out of the house after being sick for ten days!
I arrived around 7:00 AM
As I stood outside my van, I realized just how sunny it was. I had to take this shot to prove it.
After the tent guys put up our stage and after the band showed up (they were on time, so I did big happy claps!) and obviously skipping ahead a few hours of Turtle labour, here is the stage: complete and ready to rock!
The band that came out was a group of fellows who had played in 2s and 3s, but never all together. They had jammed the night before and figured it would work... and did it ever work! They came up with a name twenty minutes before the show and called themselves the Plaid Philosophers!
Back at the mix station, everything is in place - including my prized Midas console. It was the first show I'd done with it, and it was DREAMY!!
Picture the nicest car you've ever driven - everything's at your fingertips and in the right place. Control with precision!
I've come to love my label maker. My handwriting is notoriously illegible, so when control-central is neatly labelled it's easy to make quick, last-second adjustments. To explain briefly how the console works, it simply has a volume control for each of the various inputs.
From left to right we see: MC Handheld microphone, Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Vocal Mic 1, Drum Vocal Mic (which they changed on the fly to the keyboard vocal), Vocal Mic 2, Electric Guitar, Saxophone, Keyboard, Kick drum, Tom1, Tom2, Snare 1, Snare 2, and two overhead mics for cymbals. The other inputs were not used except the one labelled DJ which was the DJ rack on the other table - allowing me to play music for background.
The red buttons are ON/OFF to allow you to turn any one of the channels off without changing its set volume.
The yellow and red knobs are volume controls for stage speakers, allowing you to send the signal from that channel to any one or all of four speakers on stage so the musicians can hear what they're playing.
The green knobs allow you to apply effects like delay or reverb. The processor isn't on-board and I didn't get a picture of it specifically, but it's mounted in one of the racks shown two photos back.
The knobs in the light blue section are essentially Bass, Midrange and Treble controls for each of the channels.
Everything's really quite simple, but the art of mixing is creating the correct balance of volumes and tone control to make the mix sound "right".
SOAPBOX TIME: One of my pet peeves with sound guys in general is that so many of them allow the vocals to be buried under the music. The first thing I do in a mix is to make sure the vocals are at the front. I then bring the instruments in behind to compliment. It makes my blood boil to hear a bad mix by some highly-paid "professional" - ESPECIALLY when people are paying big money for their tickets.
Energy 101.5 was the sponsoring radio station. A fellow came to me just before sound check to ask if we could tie in his receiver so that we could play the radio station as background music between events. I figured, "Perfect!" (less work for T.G.!)
At the time I thought this shot was kinda cool. Dunno why.
From the mix station looking forward.
Some people in costume!
A gym troop came out to entertain.
The Mayor made an appearance to say a few words.
A really great day, and I have nothing but rave reviews for the Plaid Philosophers: absolutely genuine guys not to mention extremely talented musicians. They too had complimentary and kind words for me, which really makes the job fulfilling and worthwhile.