I had a brilliant time mixing The Orbweavers at Golden Plains on Sunday - it seems I only ever mix the Sunday morning slot, and recall doing Silver Ray, The Sand Pebbles and Grand Salvo there over the years. Those were all at Meredith before Golden Plains was started up. Saw Bill Busbridge from Total Events there looking a little bleary from the overnight shift, but he made me a lovely coffee before heading off for sleep. He left Mick Aarons in charge and they had a Heritage 3K, and a Venue and a Midas Pro2 in the FOH building (It's not a tent by any stretch of the imagination.) The mix position was a long way back in the building as I chose the Heritage, and the mix sounded alot clearer once I stuck my head out. Sometimes I forget to do that.... Anyway Stu and Marita had a good time with their brand new in-ear monitor system and the whole band enjoyed the rider which was organised by drummer Jen - so there was real Champagne from the Champagne region in bloody France. Woot!
So a while back I said I'd never mixed the Underground Lovers before and that I was really excited. Turns out I had. Years ago, at the Evelyn. I found an old stage plot I had done years ago- like in the early noughties. Richard A wasn't drumming and Pip was nowhere to be seen, so maybe I just blocked it out of memory! It was Rushall Station times I think. Anyway I just thought that was funny.
Last Saturday night, I was an extremely excited mixer indeed. I got to mix The Underground Lovers for the first time, and hopefully not the last. They played on Saturday the 31st August at the Northcote Social Club - I was worried that it would be a little shy on volume but had forgotten how much power that system can put out - there was plenty of headroom. Thanks to the very helpful Clint Sigmund, who does house when Andy isn't around, I was able to get every little thing I wanted happening on the console really quickly. (It's a DiGiCo SD 9). The audience was a very loyal and supportive one and there was a lot of love in the room. I've loved this band since I arrived in Melbourne in '93 and I had to keep pinching myself during the show. I'd love to know if anyone else has ever experienced that feeling as a mixer - do you love to mix your musical heroes or do you just want to kick back and enjoy them as a punter? I think it might be a pretty universal desire to want to make them sound exactly how you want them to.
Well, last week on the 19th, 20th and 21st of June, I'm really pleased to say the Midas Digital Training went extremely well. We had about 35 people on the boards. Dan Corless from The Wick Studios in Brunswick hosted us and put in a massive effort to make the place look fantastic. Forever Films donated their time very generously so that we had multiple views of the consoles, the presentation and a closeup of the GUI, and of course NAS boys Dave Jacques and Brian Vayler brought all the consoles and set them up as a network with multitrack audio going through them. And gave the presentation no less than 6 times - and quite possibly were a little fried by Friday night. If you would like to be kept in touch about future workshops and training, please email me here. I know there are some better shots of the sessions thanks to FF's Wes but I don't have them quite yet.
A Polo tournament is a very posh, expensive and well sponsored event on the social calendar - I learned a lot at this show about rolling stages, weight loading and the importance of prior planning.
Each year at the MCG Grand Final a stage is rolled on for a performance. The turf on the MCG is very flat and smooth. There is not much weight on it, just a bit of backline. It's also towed in a straight line.
All week during prep I felt uneasy about how much I didn't know about the gig I was about to do - I was taking an XLD system and subs out to put on a rolling stage on a polo ground. Everyone told me it would be fine. The original spec was for an XLE system. The client got upgraded to XLD because it was available and bigger. BIGGER IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER.
We got to the gig, waited for the stage to be built and at about 4pm on setup day (the day before the event) we got to put the PA and monitors on. This included four XLD per side (and a sub a side as well). The Midhighs on their own totalled 160kg on one side of the stage, and the M7 monitor board weighs about 50kgs. Lets not forget the 2 massively heavy amp racks that run the XLDs. I don't even know what they weigh. Then of course there was the distribution board, the power runs, the monitor speakers (we started with about 8 of them on there as I recall) and a bunch of other stuff.
We were meant to tow the stage out 3 times and back twice during the course of the event for awards and such like, and the third time was so that the band could play. Each wheel could handle 30 kgs. and we were well over that..... Obviously the majority of the wheels got ripped apart on the first undulation of the polo ground. A polo ground is nothing like cricket turf, and has many pits and potholes and gets quite churned up by the horses.
The field is massive as well and keeping it smooth is both unnecessary and prohibitively expensive. Pop!Pop!Pop! on the first curve and we stopped and replaced at least half the tyres. We got spares in from the staging rental company and the event manager negotiated the tows down to one - the last one. (We ended up doing the awards on the ground in a fairly brisk wind so here I include a note to organisers - an event by the sea with large backdrop for photos should have plenty of airholes in it to prevent it becoming a sail to carry away the grumpy looking people dressed in black)
We ALSO PUT the DAMN PA BACK IN THE TRUCK and after several phone calls from between all concerned parties, a very red eyed staff member brought us a new and much smaller rig at 7 the next morning after finishing at 2 at Festival Hall the night before. So for the actual show we towed the stage on with the new gear and half the number of foldback monitors, but we stiill had all the backline and the M7 on there as there was really no way around towing that on. The above picture is with the replacement system. Most of the tyres still buckled and popped and ripped apart, but it didn't really matter because we were there on the spot, and the show went ahead, and the public was none the wiser.
Moral of this story is if you feel you don't have enough information - persist with your questioning. If your questions are not getting answered and are making you unpopular, make sure someone else is accepting with open eyes the responsibility for the gig going smoothly. "If you give me the tools that I need, I can give you the result that you want".