It's all a matter of perspective.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

For anyone who cares, and I know that John Barber does, here is the board tape from last Thursday’s show at Juanita’s. First a few notes, or reasons why this sounds so crappy:

This was our first gig in front of a live audience. We were playing in the Arkansas Times’ Musicians Showcase, and were the third act of four that performed that night. We arrived while the first band was playing and stood outside on the sidewalk while until they finished and loaded out. When they were out of the way, we moved all of our gear into a closet next to the stage while the second act was setting up. When the second act was done, we waited patiently for them to break down, and then had fifteen minutes to set up and start playing. We got no sound check, or even time to tune our guitars. The first time I tried my mic was the first time I sang a note on Chevy Nova. I had nothing in my monitor at all. Because of this, my background vocals occasionally sound like I am doing a Linda McCartney impression.

Now for a word about the curious genera of Rock and Roll board tapes. When you play in a small club like Juanita’s, you are in a small room, maybe 1000 square feet. You have a loud ass drum set, moderately loud guitar amps, Dan’s holy thunder bass amp, a fairly quiet sax, and very quiet voices. All of these things go into a 12,000 watt PA to be mixed to equal levels in the room. Obviously, the things that are the loudest on stage are going to be at the lowest levels in the mix – the things that are quietest on stage become the loudest in the mix. If you have a good sound man, and Juanita’s has the best, then all of this sounds perfectly balanced in the room.

When you get a board tape, you get the levels as set on the board. The stage volume is not a factor, since you are not in the room and can not hear the actual guitar amps and drums. Therefore you get very little drums, a little more guitar (Luke’s guitar is louder than mine on the tape because I had mine turned up louder on stage), a lot of sax, and an uncomfortable amount of vocals. There is no singer in the world whose voice will stand up to the scrutiny of a board tape without some gaffes. (An exception to this is Mark Currey, who always sounds pitch perfect and soulful on even the most horrible mixes.) Luke weathers this very well, but you should listen to it while cutting him some slack.

With all of this in mind, go and enjoy. Tell me what you think.

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