What makes any band, group or duo unique, is their “sound”.
If you think about it, really, that is what stays with anyone lucky enough to hear an entertainer – the “sound”.
Weather its the vocals, or the drums or any unique instrument that stands out in a person’s mind, it is that particular “sound” that defines that group. It is the “sound” that sets itself apart from all others. Or, in most cases, the “sound” that doesn’t. And, in the end, if nothing sets them apart, or singularly defines them, or makes them memorable in any way, they will most likely fade into musical obscurity.
So you see, to musicians, their “sound” is very, very important. Throughout any musical era, all the great groups are immediately identified by there “sound”.
The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Doors, The Stones. Dylan, Joplin and Elvis. Sinatra, Holly or Glenn Millar; they all had their “sound”.
A groups’ “sound” is a combination of the natural characteristics of their God-given physical talents, musicianship and in the modern era, their chosen, musical equipment and sound support gear.
It all melds together, to give a create their, “sound”.
Listening to any group or artist will quickly illustrate exactly what I am eluding to. Why one artist sounds completely different than most others, is a combination of all these factors.
So on Saturday night, when we introduced an entirely different sound board, we spent most of the evening trying to recapture our “sound”.
At this point I’m not completely certain how this appears to an ordinary music fan or patron; but I am pretty certain that it doesn’t mean a whole lot. I suppose that it really shouldn’t, since there is really nothing that the audience can do about it.
With the new mixing system and sound board, everything sounded completely different to us; and not in a good way. It’s really pretty difficult to get things like this corrected while we are performing; but that is just the nature of it.
Most of this falls on Carl. He designs, purchases, builds and maintains our sound reinforcement equipment. He has the vision of how to best tailor our sound so that what we have naturally, (and, believe me when I say, it ain’t much), can be brought out in concert.
It is with that equipment that we make our musical mark. It is in how we as performers use that gear that allows us to express our talents, and share them with the audience.
Adding this new gear to the mix, can be a extremely daunting if it does not cooperate. No level of practice or forethought can completely alleviate the wonders of equipment that fails to do its’ job at an inappropriate time.
So, as Saturday’s performance at Bumper’s Landing in Harrison Twp. began, Carl was already scrambling to make things right. Things were too loud, things were too soft. Things were squealing, buzzing, snapping and crackling. Some things began, then stopped. Some things never even launched into the musical unknown.
Ah, the life of a rock star.
We began our first set of the night at 6:00. However, I don’t think that Carl even sat down until about 9:30 or 10:00. He had to tend to our “sound” that entire time.
The crowd did their part. As I have said over and over again, boaters are easy. They tend to take care of themselves more than not. And on this night, that was a pretty good thing.
We were busy with the “sound”, the rain, the fish flies and the act of physically playing.
From the beginning, people were into our music, on this particular night. That was good, since we were quite preoccupied by other things.
We did field most every request that came our way, with true pluck and sheer tenacity.
During the course of the evening, I had many patrons tell me how much they liked our music. So something must have been going well. It was just tough for us to slog through.
During each new song, we would try to get the levels right and consistent.
As the evening wore on, most things smoothed out and became more to our liking.
In the end, we will simply re-do some of what didn’t work as designed, and rethink some more. In the end, Carl will figure it all out. He always does.
Carl and I found our “sound” long ago. It is a rare combination of not much talent and a lot of electrical apparatus.
So, in the end, if someone trips over the plug; we are just left with our God-given talents alone . . .