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Date: Sun 14 May, 2006 at 22:02
Headline: This Conversation Feels Like A Dream
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Greetings & Salutations!

I've said before that the really bad shows are as hard to write about as the really good shows. But occasionally one comes across a gig experience which is strange enough that you can't really pin it down with such simple terms as "good" or "bad." Such was the case last night.

Ray from Cold Fire was first to pick up on it, which might be attributable to the fact that he'd had 2 hours of sleep in the past 48, but there was definitely a surreal vibe in the air. To me, it felt like that didn't-study-for-the-test nigtmare scenario for most of the evening, what with all of the technical delays breakdowns plaguing the production, and my fury at the people who should have anticipated and deflected such trouble comingling nicely with my guilt at the realization that I was one of those people. At some point, I just had to unplug and spend some time alone. As I put it to Fozz, "I have only two modes right now: Apathy, or Kill Everyone." Both Raymond and our own Mr Meldrum stepped up to take charge, and ably steered things in enough of a productive direction that Tokenspel only ended up starting about 20 minutes late, as opposed to the hour or more that we feared was possible.

The short version of the long story is that we didn't have a soundman for the gig. Well, we had one, but he was the club's third-string fill-in guy, and had no idea what he was doing with the system and was in no way prepared for a triple-bill's worth of responsibility. As it happens, we also had our new friend John Reese (who will be mixing us live at the Arts Fest next month) along for the ride to do some quadrophonic experimentation, and although the incredibly flaky equipment mystified him as much as anyone, he was instrumental in pulling everything together and salvaging the evening...to a point.

I think the apex of my experience was losing the signal from my vocal mic during "Mr Serious," struggling to finish the song as crackling pots and feedback stabbed forth at merciless volume from the monitors while the engineers tried in vain to fix the problem, then as Juli wandered over with her wireless for me to use, my mic springs back to life, only to die again just as I'm meant to be picking the chorus of "Wish You Were Here" back up from the audience. That little microcosm of events about sums the night up for me; it's not that things didn't work, but that they only worked up to the point where I could start to let my guard down, then...splat...then, sudden repreive. Then splat, again. Whiplash.

And all along, the audience was eating it up. Not a large crowd, but they were into the show and didn't seem to mind the glitches at all, either because they were exceedingly patient, exceedingly drunk, some combination thereof...or the most interesting theory of all, that they just plain couldn't hear what we were going through. This last seems to be borne out at least somwhat by the soundboard recording -- which, against all odds, actually sounds pretty decent and contains none of the sonic faux pas that we exeperienced on stage (other than, y'know, the occasional vocal going missing for a minute.) It certainly gave me a lot of practice at putting away my frustration in the face of positive feedback, attempting to take compliments gracefully while knowing what a bad show I just had.

But then again, I can't really be sure at this point that I did have a bad show. Can I?

In any case, I'd like to thank the guys from Cold Fire and Tokenspel, who both also soldiered through the challenges of the evening to deliver solid sets (and Ray for letting me use his killer bass rig!) Troy Fillmore from Triamid Productions for putting the whole thing together, and, of course, to the folks who showed up and stuck it out. You guys had a zillion choices of where to be last night, of what to avail yourselves for entertainment, and we're honored that you chose us. We'd love to do this for you again sometime, but waaaay smoother. Deal?

Onward.

TB