Today is a new day! And do you want to know what is special about this 'day of new'? Well, today is a day where every single thing I get to use for the rock show is new, Oh Joy! Not new like 'brand new,' new like it came from the rental shop and I get to start from dead scratch building all the audio settings. One of the questions I get asked often by people at shows is "Do you really know what everyone of those knobs do?" Well, actually I don't because there are a few in the middle that I am convinced do not do anything useful but for the most part, "yes, I do."
First order of business, communicate to my FOH assist for the day, who's name is Rabbit, how I want all the gear patched and configured. As you all may well have guessed, I am not much one for the standard configurations. Next, I spend a good chunk of time 'zero-ing' everything out to a starting point followed by a good solid hour or more of knob turning. Not only do I know what every knob does, I have actually have memorized how I want them all set.
As an added bonus, I am in a new venue (for me) with a new PA type that I have neither mixed on nor seen in person before called a 'Butterfly System'. Several weeks ago when I found this out, I could hardly contain my excitement and wrote the following email addressed to our leader roadie Bill, the production manger:
"Oh boy, Oh boy!!! I get to use a new PA. Nothing cheers me up like switching to new rig I have never used with a band that does not sound check in a far away place under much scrutiny! Heck, maybe we should get the band to join in the new gear fun and ask John and Flea if they want new guitar and bass rigs for the gig? Oh and we can switch AK to a new type of mic while we are at it and when was the last time you got a new computer? I hear Linux is great, maybe we can all switch to new laptops for the gig and we can all have good times trying to get work done on our new toys!!
As far as those cardioid stumble bumps with an 18" forward and 15" facing the wrong way, I consider them annoying at best. If they work twice as well as company XXX's attempts and 10 times better than embarrassment that company XXXX calls a cardioid sub, I will just be mildly bummed. I am sure they get loud but so does a jack hammer. Nothing like a pile non-linear one-note-wonders to make my day!
OK, kidding aside, I can deal with the gear, just make sure there are some real subs in there on an aux, 8 dual 18"ers minimum and when I get there I guess I will have some fun and see what that PA is really made of.
All good, real dual 18" subs on an aux = happy rat.
As you can see, I was quite excited. I X'ed out the manufacturers names because I did not want one of their competitors to get over-excited and take my comments out of context. Bill of course responded with the all around feel bad response of "Dave, you can have what ever you want for gear, no problem, just let me know." Unfortunately, the only gear I really want is on it's way to Hamburg so I will just have to bring my pirate sword and see if I can maneuver this sound ship through the treacherous round waters.
**** Special Award Celebration ****
I hereby by the powers vested in me award London the "Put rock bands in less than optimum acoustic environment" award. This award was earned by London for it's exceptional and dedicated work done by embracing both Earl's Court and the Roundhouse as musical venues.
Though round sound is not the optimum, the small intimacy of the gig more than made up for it and what makes for a great rock show is a combination of many things. Especially memorable was the super cool ending jam!
Hi Dave - love your blog, you raodies are truly the unsung heroes of rock! I'm trekking all the way to Milan next week to see the chilis (and you of course, I want your autograph!). Do we have any exciting plans? What's the Forum like - soundwise? I've never been there before.
I don't know what the forum is like sound wise. I may have been there but don't recall. Will figure it out when we get there and then do our best to dial it in! Italy is always good and I like doing shows there because all those Italians really know how to have fun!
The butterfly systems was ok. It reminded my sonically of Nexo Geo-T. Very clean setup, well designed and super compact were the up sides. It felt like a small box doing a big job though and was a bit unwieldy and required more EQ than I had. All in all they did a good job with the design but it can't touch the v-dosc in sonic smooth and natural sound.
The subs were Butterfly made as well and were dual 18's as requested and were more than enough to do the job.
Oh, Daniel had all his gear. The mon equip was in LA for the Roxy and shipped with backline and was used at the BBC and Jools Holland shows as well. I used local gear for the Roxy which I know the room very well, and approved using local gear for Roundhouse. I would have preferred a dV-dosc system bt the Butterfly is the house PA there and I felt it was able to handle the job, as it did. It just made for more work for me.