Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekend Update

I had a rather marvelous weekend this time around. I didn’t get to spend much time with my family, which is kind of a downer, but with sound work being ever more scarce, I got a boat load in and I feel much better about myself.

I started off on Friday at 4 AM and traveled to a high school an hour and a half distant to do a concert assembly. It was pretty much routine, the same thing I’ve done three or four dozen times a semester for the last couple years. There were the added bonuses of having been to that school already and knowing all the ins and outs, and also being reunited with an old friend who was filling in on bass.

The tricky part of the day came at noon. I had everything in the truck and ready to go at five after, with what I thought would be an hour drive to my next load-in at one o’clock. Unfortunately I had the GPS set for shortest distance instead of fastest route. I passed by several roads that would have gotten me there faster, but I assumed the little box knew what it was doing. Allow me to pause here to formally state my stance on allowing little boxes to do your thinking for you. It is never a good idea. Weather it’s a GPS, automatic EQ, grammar checker or anything else, it’s always best to do your own thinking.

On the way there I got a phone call from my co-engineer, saying that the venue turned out to be a recital hall and there were serious concerns about amplified instruments being in there, much less a whole sound system. We were in the middle of discussing how we were going to thin out the rig when a cop pulled up to my passenger window with his lights on. He gave me a silent “What the f---?!” at which point I dropped the phone and he accelerated past me. A little shot of adrenaline turned out to be just what I needed.

At the venue, stress was high, among the venue tech, the event promoters and the techs. The musicians were largely left out of the drama but felt no less entitled to some stress and helped themselves liberally. Eventually it was determined that a symphony orchestra could easily hit ninety decibels on the peaks and that was the level we would strive for. By the end of the night we had done it, audience, band, promoters and techs were happy with the results, and the venue tech appeared at least somewhat less unhappy when he found himself free to go home an hour early.

All in all it was a beautiful day, lots of work, time spent with friends I see not often enough, and a balmy atmosphere. I could have done with a little more of the atmosphere, but the time for outdoor events is fast approaching and I’ll get my dose of that soon enough.

Saturday held a high school talent show in store for me. After a twenty hour day on four hours sleep I expected to just grit my teeth and endure it. But it was at my alma mater, where I’ve been training a few sound minions and I had good help, was plenty familiar with the venue, and nobody cared if I took my shirt off.

Blissfully, the participants turned out to actually have some talent. The afternoon was completely taken up with a run-through and I was pleasantly surprised eighteen times in a row. The nineteenth act was a high-school band that took nearly an hour to set up a four piece drum kit and only had three members present for sound check. I missed dinner for their sake and while their performance wasn’t bad enough to earn a spot on my list, the fact that I had to eat a cold burger for dinner because of their ineptitude is, sorry guys, that sucked.

Eventually it was all back in the box, and I had earned my keep. My family may actually be emerging from behind the proverbial eight-ball at last with the proceeds from this weekend’s gigs. I spent a lazy Sunday mulling over this delightful concept and talking over ham radio stuff with my brother-in-law in my back yard. What a weekend, sorry it’s nothing that profound to read about, but to me it was the best in a long time. I thought a glimpse into what makes me tick might be a good post after nothing for ten days.

1 comment:

  1. "I spent a lazy Sunday mulling over this delightful concept and talking over ham radio stuff with my brother-in-law in my back yard."

    Yeah, I enjoyed it too.


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