Monday 26-Apr-2004

I've been doing most of my blogging to my LiveJournal recently, but don't want to neglect this section, so...

The Rescue Party had our Boston debut last Saturday at the Midway Cafe. Though we'd had our first-time-anywhere debut last month in VA at Galaxy Hut, this was different in a number of ways: firstly, we hadn't just driven for nearly 8 hours before the set(!); secondly, we were playing for people who actually knew something about us (Myke had friends come to the VA show, but I didn't know them); thirdly, we were walking into an unknown playing situation, since none of us had played the Midway before.

I had been by the club briefly a couple weeks ago to post flyers, but hadn't been able to get a good look at the setup, other than determining that they appeared to have no monitors. So in addition to my usual fiddle/GT-3/amp gear, plus the keyboard & stand we'd added since VA, I also brought Mer's old Crate 125D to use as a monitor, and a bag full of pretty much every spare cable, microphone, DI box, etc. I had, just in case. The first surprise was getting a good look at the PA inputs: I had heard from several people that the Midway had gotten a new PA that was much better than what they used to supply, but if this was "new" I'd hate to have seen the old one! Two of the four XLR inputs were trashed, most of the knobs broken off, etc. Fortunately Myke had brought his mixer to handle the keyboard and drum machine, so we had enough working inputs. For the future, though, we're going to simplify our gear requirements - we only used the keyboard for one song, so all the lugging and setup wasn't worth it.

The gig went well - I figure any time you get the audience up and dancing you're doing a good job as a band. Though the mirrored disco ball turned on by the owner during our third song plus the influence of Myke's friends in "queen" mode probably contributed to the party atmosphere, too... The lack of a monitor on Myke's guitar was a bit of a problem for me when we did songs without Henry (the drum machine, who was in the monitor), but we coped okay until just after we peaked the set and were going into our final couple of songs, when my amp suddenly lost about 90% of its output volume!

Since my violin is solid-bodied like an electric guitar, no amp means no violin sound - I started checking that all the cables were still connected, switched the amp input to its other channel, could see that the input signal was still at the former level according to the gain clipping light, so turned up every level I had and finished the song. It was at that point we noticed the smoke coming out of the amp... I quickly turned it off and removed the electrical cord from the back, then dived for my guitarist's amp (which, also being mine I knew had an unused channel) to plug in my instrument input and set the gain and channel split. That allowed us to finish the set's final song.

Despite the various gear issues* I had a great time - the best performance high for me seems to come from being fully out there playing without any nets, doing my own musical interpretations.

* while "issues" may seem an understatement, as a gearhead I can
truly say they were only issues to be resolved - I've dealt previously with
burning monitors, spontaneous combustion in improperly-handled electronics lab waste, etc.;
anything that doesn't need a fire extinguisher is minor, IMO...


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