Had some more stuff to do in the morning than expected so I was not able to make the trip to L'Acoustics. Lee had to track a Fedex from Rat so it left Nick the Fly to represent. Heard it went well and Nick got some solo time with the main man, we are getting wonderful support from the company, new info, new software and all kinds of cool things came from it.
I had a little bit of time before show call and stopped by a French market with Scott on the way to the gig and bought a some gifts. Salt from all over the world, olive oil and balsamic vinegar mainly, should be simple and enjoyable gifts.
We had some time with the gear in the afternoon as we are doing 2 days in the same venue. Hung out with the monitor humans and dialed in the drum fill and sorted more gremlins. Chad uses two Rat Trap 5 (dual 15", dual 10", 2") cabs in stereo plus a dual 15" sub. With the drum fill off, I get decent tones but it sounds best when the drum fill is loud, stable and not gated. Chad is on in-ears but having the sonic power behind him plus the seat thumper really brings it all together. Plus, as I mentioned, I rely on the drum fill sound to get the drum sound out front.
Another thing I find interesting truly how directional a Marshal guitar cab really is. Just a 5 degree shift in the angle of the cab away from a vocal mic can make a significant difference on bright tones. For Peppers, if you look at the guitar and bass rigs you can see the angles we use that keep a solid sound for the musician while minimizing bleed into the vox mics. I will put a pic up soon.
Yesterday, during the show a fan was holding up a sign that said "John, can I play your guitar" and then John's guitar stopped working. In a moment of frustration, John lashed out at the kid and told him to put away the dumb sign." Kind of felt bad for the kid but also the sign was blocking a ton of people's view so I didn't miss it gone. Well today, John says "Is the kid who had the sign up yesterday about playing my guitar here? Hey, I am sorry for yelling at you and if you are here, come find Dave Lee, my guitar tech, and you can come backstage and play my guitar."
I know John well enough to know that he really takes it to heart if he feels he has hurt someone's feelings. Hearing his heartfelt and pure apology made me smile and really appreciate being part of the organization.
**** Issue of the Day - Vocorder Drift ****
For the song "By the Way" there is a vocorder vocal part where AK (Anthony) sings and the drum tech hits notes on a keyboard that alter AK's voice to the sound you hear at the live show. At the same time, I bring up the vocorder channel and then back out for each "WAAA-WAAA" and then again for the "Wowowowowow" part.
Well, as is often the case, the keyboard that makes the correct sound is an older, unstable analog thing. We have been having issues with the sound checking fine but then being different during the show. Today, somehow a tremolo sound has decided to party its way into the mix. I think it is just drifting as it gets hot, tomorrow we will try turning it off until right before show time.
**** Highlight of the Day - That the vocorder drift was the only issue****
The band played an awesome set, looked like they had fun and the crowds have been great everyday.
Here is a picture of how my mix position looks during the show:
You may be able to notice, if you look very closely, that I have boycotted all forms of illumination. No lighting for me while I mix and memorized the locations of all controls on the consoles. Been mixing in the dark for over a decade, hence the lack of need to label my console input channels as you may have noticed on some previous pics. The reason behind it is to sharpen my hearing and reduce visual distractions, plus it looks cool. Turn off all the lights and you start hearing things you did not hear before. I find that having a big thing with knobs lit up in front of me draws my focus to it and knobs all sit there saying "turn me, no me!" I would much rather watch the band and listen to the music. Memorizing a console, is fairly easy.
Still have not figured out how to run a digital board in the dark as most of them are a bit rough to operate with the screen turned off. Also, I really like to have metering of everything that is going on, visible at all times. I want to see every compressor, every gate, every input, output, matrix, all of it. In fact, during the show, that is all I want to see, "what is everything doing, right now?" No button pushes, no menu scrolling. Oh, and I want it logically grouped. All my gates in one area, all my comps in another, all my effects in a another and not a splattering of intermixed meters.
Below you can see the console labeling of the subgroups. Since it is a a new thing doing the dual PA and just in case I forgot what does which, I can easily glance down and then still wonder what does which.