Monday, October 13, 2008

A Taste of Decibels

During the Taste of Autumn at a Winery/Ranch in October 2008, a benefit gig we've been playing at for quite a few years, a series of foibles lead to a disaster of immense proportions. I have the foibles (love that word!) listed for easy understanding.

1. We arrived at the scene in plenty of time with all of our equipment including our brand-new Yamaha x 12-y2240 High Fidelity Surround Sound 3000 MEGA watt WTL* PA system with integrated 3D monitor output.

2. One of the other bands scheduled to perform had come unprepared and approached us and asked, "Do you mind if we use your Yamaha x 12-y2240 High Fidelity Surround Sound 3000 MEGA watt WTL* PA system with integrated 3D monitor output."

3. Now , The Chinchillas have always been all-about-da-music and cannot refuse service to a fellow musician (I think it's in the rule book) and so we said, "No problem!" That was our second mistake. Our first mistake was thinking we had it figured out already.

4. The first band was a trio of Celtic musicians consisting of a father and son and a bouzouki player who didn't look related but you never know about these things. They played nice music and we almost had their sound adjusted by the time they were done. Hey! We weren't being paid to run the sound for them. Actually we weren't getting paid at all. (We are quite used to this actually, and we are told that it really, really, really has nothing to do with the quality of our performance.)

5. We went on next and it only took us a little (way too much) time to set up. Since I was the last one ready, I was the last one to plug in my vocal mic. I can only describe the next couple of seconds like this... HOLY CRAP! ...or like this!

6. When I plugged in my vocal mic a WTL* high pitched screeching howl emitted from the speakers. From where I was standing we only lost about three people whose heads actually exploded and a few who looked as though they had indeed heard something from Hell. Some only bled from the ears and at least one crawled about on all fours crying pitifully for its mother. Wine tasters were left holding shards against Merlot-stained Hawaiian shirts, hardly noticeable really. A beautifully restored 1938 Buick began yet another restoration of windows all 'round and the hay-ride went off the road into a ditch atop a trembling jack-russel terrier.

7. I don't suppose, dear reader that I must espouse that time-honored aphorism of artistic determinism. Ah but perhaps among you are the unbelievers, the part-time lovers of the muse, the not-fully-anointed, the only-partially-lubricated as it were. And so I say, with appropriate fanfare "the show must go on."

8. Since the delay of starting late and cleaning up the grotesquerie, we could only play for ten minutes. Which is enough really, in oh so many ways. But when we were done we had to do the sound for the last band. We stayed until after their final encore which went to 7 AM the next morning and why not, since they started at 4 PM?

9. So as you can see, a really smooth performance that goes without too many glitches can be a rewarding experience for the audience and the performers. We just can't wait for next year.
*Way Too Loud


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