Make or Break!

I have finally been given an opportunity to work behind the sound desk at The Hub, which is the biggest and best local venue in Plymouth barring the Pavillions which is a proper arena, completely out of the league of all other local venues. But it’s a difficult one, Irish folk band Mad Dog Mcrea, and 10 piece soul band, Dr Soul and The Plastic Sturgeons, both bands will be using all 24 channels on the sound desk and there will be two bands inbetween the two. Luckily Phil will be there to give me some advice on the system as I have never used it before, the engineering part isn’t that hard, that’s the same as any other venue, it’s just being unfamiliar with the equipment and the anti-feedback system they have, which has lots of flashing lights which I have no idea of what they do! I am looking forward to the challenge, but at the same time I am nervous as I really don’t want to screw it up especially when playing to a packed house, although I prefer it being busy as the room sounds awful when empty! I am going down to the Hub tonight to work with Phil to get my head around the equipment, so I at least have an idea of what everything does and where everything is kept that I’ll need on the night! I’m sure that everything will be fine, it’s all top notch equipment in The Hub, so things (hopefully) shouldn’t fail, but this is very important as this could be a make or break time for me as a sound engineer as if I can’t get gigs in other venues then I can’t carry on as a sound engineering, it’s simply not financially feasible! I never get nervous in Voodoo Lounge as I know the rig and I know I am not being scrutinised on everything I do, I know that I know my stuff but it’s almost like going for a interview for a job you really want, straight from university and hoping you make a good impression! I certainly won’t be drinking on the night, I will need to keep my wits about me!

I know that I solve problems quickly and effectively from my experience at the Phoenix and (to a lesser extent) Voodoo when things fail on a regular basis, so I needed to be able to think on my feet. Tuesday night was a good example, I was sound checking and thinking “why the hell does this system sound so weedy?” – the bass amp was clipping really easily, I eventually found out that the second bass amp had been unplugged so obviously wasn’t working. Initially I thought that the amp had been blown by one of the DJ nights over the weekend, but I was relieved to find that it was only a power issue as losing 3200Kw of power from the system is catastrophic to the sound balance. Then later there were cable problems, one of the mic cables had broken, so I was wandering around on stage avoiding flailing guitars changing cables, then later someone had spilt water over the DI box taking the signal from the kick drum trigger, so again had to climb on stage to change the DI box. It was a bit of a nightmare night for a sound engineer, when you start the night you hope that nothing breaks on stage as getting across a packed venue to the stage is not that easy, it would be great to have a sound monkey to be on hand to deal with any on stage issues. As if I have to change a cable or sort anything else out on stage, the engineer needs to mute the offending channel then get to the stage; fix the problem, then fight their way back to the sound booth, and un-mute the channel and hope it works, but I love the job, which comes back to tomorrow night going well as I need to pick up a few nights a month at the Hub to be able to keep my sound engineering dream alive, so fingers crossed for Friday night!

Now for something non sound related; Telewest are complete idiots, they’ve cut off our phone and internet connection because of a late payment, not tried to contact us to let us know and it has been down for four days now, I am currently using Nic’s internet connection to write this. I find this completely unacceptable, Telewest has seriously gone down hill since its merger with NTL in my opinion. I ditched their internet connection a long time ago because it was so damn unreliable, I was supposed to be getting 2Mb at the time, but I was lucky if I managed dial up speeds. The payment was sent to Telewest last Thursday and they reckon it still hasn’t cleared into their account, they reckon it could take up to 10 days, what? That’s just silly, it’s bank transfer, it should take no longer than 48 hours on working days, so it should have been there by Tuesday at the latest! The net result is that they will be losing a customer when our contract is up. If they would just set up a direct debit instead of giving the bullshit line “you can’t set up a debit while you have a charge on your account”, this situation would never had arisen in the first place!

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