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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Disaster not averted...

I never like to relate a story until the dust has completley settled and this one is no different.  I was going to write a blog titled "god bless the sound check" the other night before this concert had actually happened but that would have been jumping the gun.  Even though I had a chance to sound check the night before the concert, all did not go to plan.  I hesitate to say it was a total disaster for me but it certainly didn't go very well.  Even despite said sound check.  

The night begins with me running late.  I was set to make it still before the concert started but Tania was also running late because of Murphy's law, so I waited at 125th and Lenox at the Starbucks so she wouldn't have to walk over to the theater from the subway by herself.  More and more worried as the clock got closer to 8pm, my anxiety was relieved slightly when I saw the sound guy, himself, whom I had met the night before, walking past me out of the subway.  When we finally arrived they were still sound checking the house band so I felt I had time still to get set up.  I had to chase the sound guy down a few times to make sure I had everything I needed.  At 8pm, I was still missing two 1/4" to XLR adapters to connect my audio interface to the snake and I didn't have a power source for my keyboard controller and laptop.  Assure I would have them, I sat down in the audience once my equipment was set up behind the piano.

When we got up on stage after the first number, Tania introduced us while I scrambled to get things plugged in but somehow it didn't occur to me to check and make sure that my audio interface had been plugged into the snake.  It hadn't.  Now, you don't have to be technically inclined to realize what this would mean.  Something not plugged in = no sound going through, ergo, I'm up on stage twiddling knobs to no avail.  Of course I noticed this not being unplugged thing in the middle of the song so I ducked down and plugged myself in but still no audio was coming out.  However, being under pressure since I was on stage and currently performing a piece, I panicked a little and when one is panicked, calm troubleshooting becomes much harder.  I tried to signal the sound guy and let him know what the problem was but ultimately ended up signaling to Tania to end the piece early.  I grabbed the wireless mic and explained that there were technical difficulties and we wouldn't be hearing the electronics and then announced the next piece by Alberto Ginastera.  I sat off stage for a bit until she was finished and then just began taking my equipment down with a mind to storm out of there as soon as I was done.

Luckily I calmed down and Tania talked to me after her set and after I was done collecting my gear.  You can't start throwing blame around and getting angry in a situation like that.  There was a lot of stuff stacked against us and with that amount of technical equipment and that amount of performers with such a diverse array of technical needs and one guy to juggle it all, who walked in only slightly less on time than Tania and I did, you're bound to have something go wrong.  At any rate, by the end of the concert I started to see it all in a different light.  They still heard an excerpt of my piece (even if I was standing on stage looking dumb and flailing my arms around trying to signal the audio guy during most of the piece), and I got to meet a bunch of great musicians and network with them.  Plus, the ones who were around at the sound check and got to hear the sounds I'd be making seemed genuinely interested in hearing what it the whole piece actually sounded like so I directed them to this.  I mean, it's gotta be one hell of a teaser getting something so elaborate as that set up and not being able to perform it at all.

I did sit through the rest of the performances and they were all pretty amazing. The guys before us were called "The Mighty Third Rail," and consisted of a vocalist with a loop pedal, a violinist and an upright bass.  Their music was pretty slick and catchy.  The vocalist beat boxed, looped and rapped, had some great lyrics and the string players were both really awesome.  They were my favorite.

The rest of the acts were RnB type stuff, all fantastic vocalists and the house band never missed a beat.  There was a ridiculously tight drummer, a bassist, percussionist, pianist, occasional back up singers.  I'm glad I stuck around.  This Fertile Ground concert is something that happens every 2nd Thursday of the month and we've been invited back.  So who knows, maybe this time I'll bring my own cables so I won't need adapters.

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