AUS220 Week 6: Live Music Intensive
So, we have commenced our Live Music Intensive, and although it's been a crazy whirlwind so far, it's so great to finally have the chance to soak in the wisdom of the big Teebo. It's overwhelming to know we have only four weeks to organise this gig, especially considering we are all very results driven, and really want this show to push the boundaries and impress. In true Group 6 style, we have bitten off way more than we can chew and are aiming for more than expected, but why else bother, right? That's our method, if it's worth doing, it's worth doing better than ever before.
Our first intensive started with Teebo breaking down the process for us through the eyes of the live engineer. We looked at and discussed a wide variety of live music situations, paying special attention to the PA and stage rigging side of things. It was amazing to realise that for all of my years playing and watching live music, I've really never paid enough attention to the amount of work that goes into making it all come together. In fact, in my teens I was a nightshift cleaner at Rod Laver arena, and was present for many, many setup and pack-downs of major acts and performances. It's funny to think all these years later I'm now learning just how impressive all that was and is! Tim gave us some really great insight into the process, and I was able to put my new knowledge to the test relatively soon afterwards.
On Monday, I was fortunate enough to be offered a ticket to see Ed Sheeran playing the last of the Melbourne shows for his current world tour at Etihad Stadium. Although I am not a huge fan of his latest album, Divide, it is still one of those shows that is worth going to see and to be a part of. The Australia and New Zealand leg of his tour has smashed ticket sales records, and I read that 1 in every 23 people will see him during this tour. How could I not be a part of that! After getting settled in the general admission area of the stadium, just as the amazing Missy Higgins was starting up, I found myself being very distracted by the setup, the stage, and the PA. I was ticking items of the list; a motor there, speaker there, crowd fill there! It was amazing. After one session with Tim, I was already able to pick out how everything was being rigged up. It was great. It especially felt good when I was able to announce to my cousin and her friends that if we moved 3-4 meters to our right, the sound would improve, and when it did, I looked very clever indeed. Now, I must say, overall the sound was bloody awful. A mixture of an inappropriate venue, a loop pedal, and tens of thousands of screaming, young girls. I know from first hand experience that getting the EQ, Delay, and levels right with a loop pedal can be a nightmare, and clearly the bigger the event, the more it is so. Never the less, it was great to see a major show in a major venue so soon after learning all about it.
Above is a live video of Chester Brix, the headline act for our upcoming gig. We're really happy to have the guys on board and are looking forward to what should be a great show. We have so far to go in terms of planning, but we are all invested and taking our roles very seriously. We have now had two intensives with Teebo on the soundstage. There's a hell of a lot to take in, but I feel like I am getting it. I have the advantage of working with live sound for many years, but this is obviously a much bigger scale, not to mention the fact that I'm normally the one performing, which leaves me at a disadvantage. But I also think my experience will come in very handy, not just with the technical side of things, but will likely make my relationship with the artists more easy and calming. I've been on the performer side of bad sound and bad engineering and it is not a happy time. Artist's want to feel as though they are in the best hands possible, and I will remember this on the night. I think that we will have a great show, however daunting the task may feel right now. I have complete faith in my group's ability and drive and have no doubt we will pull it out the bag. As much as I say it has been scary and a lot to take in, it's been so great to learn the new equipment and processes. There's so much about live sound that is different and even contrary to the studio environment. Some of the things we have learnt to do as instinct over the last year and a half have to be rethought or even ignored in the live environment. EQ, compression, mic placing and so many other things must be treated differently. It's incredible to learn a whole new subsection of our discipline. Already, after two classes with Tim, I know more about speakers, amplifiers and staging than I have known in a lifetime of live performances. This, as I've mentioned before, is information I've been chomping at the bit to get my head around since starting at SAE, not only because it directly affects what I do for a living, but also because it is such an important part of the industry as a whole. Aside from the fact that he is reading this, I feel very honoured to be learning from someone who has the years and experience in the industry that Tim Dalton has. We are wise in our concentration of his teachings.
So, between my CIU assignment, my podcast, my freelance work, and my position in the SAE special projects group, I just hope my over worked brain is soaking in all that I am learning in my new intensive, because it's bloody usable stuff!