A Three-Ring Circus Style Sound Check

The rest of the story of our Saturday night of Summertime Fun Music at Shine continues.

We found space for the amps, mics, a stool for Sue, pedal boards, a reverb unit, and the other paraphernalia for making music.  While on hands and knees on the floor connecting up gear, I wondered why I picked this night to use a pedal board and then wandered off to thoughts of how to reduce it down to something handled more easily.  Sweat was dripping from my forehead, and my Reyn Spooner shirt was almost soaked through.

In contrast, Robert walked in, put his amp at the back of the stage, and plugged in his bass.  When he played at Shine on Wednesday night, no mic was necessary for his amp.  I kept thinking, “if I had the Vibrolux here, no mic or pedal board would be needed.”  The reality, however, was that the Vibrolux would overwhelm the room.  So I continued to grope around on the floor.

Standing up followed by stepping over the equipment was not an easy feat at my age and state of physical fitness.  I managed and then announced that we were ready for the sound check.  How come I always underestimate how long set up takes?  Is that lack of experience?  Optimism?  Lack of focus?  Trying to do too much?

Sound check.  We played “Midnight Run.”  More bass.  Less uku-tar.  More lead.  Glenn could not hear the lead.  Change the angle of the amp.  Robert could not hear the lead.  Put the amp on top of the suitcase for the pedal board.  New angle.  More lead.  Hit the boost pedal.  Too much, the tone was breaking up.  Nice for blues; wrong for surf.

More adjustments.  More tweaks.  Finally, we had a sound which seemed to work.  And we were not using any mics with the amps.  But those mics were taking up space.  At least the rat’s nest of cords was untangled for somebody in the future.  As I was sweaty and frustrated, that bright side was not particularly forthcoming.

I put my mouth against the vocal microphone -- hey, experience has taught me something -- and announced, “We are the Lava Pups.”  We started Mr. Moto.

We were not too far into it when Robert stopped.  “I can’t hear you.  You have too much reverb.”  I replied, “This is surf music.  You can’t have too much reverb!”  Glenn had the “I can’t hear you” look too.  Another click or two up in the volume.  And, despite my protestations, one click down on the reverb.

This was truly a three-ring circus!

“Okay.  We’re going to try it again.  We are the Lava Pups.”  I started Mr. Moto again.  This time the set really was underway. 

As I looked out at the audience, I realized that any fears of playing to an empty room or only loved ones could be pushed to another day.  The couches, chairs, and stools were filled.  A bunch of folks had been treated to our three-ring circus.  Uhrg!

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