Montville Musos 16 Apr

The Musos will be back on Thursday April 16 at Wild Rocket, Montville from 6.30pm. I do hope some of you can get along.

This is a wrap up on the April 5th gig

Eudlo Musos 5 April 2015

The Musos enjoyed a lovely warm Sunday at Eudlo this week and were treated to some wonderful music from our artists. For me it was one of those very special sessions where I felt that each artist brought something different, each in their own way rewarding, and I tried to repay their effort with my own.

At the mixing desk a concert can be stimulating for reasons the audience is probably not completely appreciating. The mix engineer is working hard to make each artist sound at their best and, given that the room – in this case a big old wooden hall, is adding its own character, it can be challenging. One of our artists for example asked me to take the reverb off the vocals, but as I said, “Sorry, your vocal is dry on the desk, all that reverb is the sound of this big hall.”

Dealing with the acoustics of the venue is one thing, each instrument on stage also sounds different and needs to be tweaked to make it sound as sweet as possible. And in some situations it is nigh impossible to get a good sound, either the quality of the pickup/preamp in the instrument is poor or the guitar, for example, may not have a pickup at all, so we are limited to placing a mic in front of the instrument. This makes it especially hard to get a reasonable sound as then levels are brought down to reduce feedback, and the whole bracket is spent trying to get some character into the instrument while at the time severely EQing (adjusting tone) to retain dynamic levels.

I’m trying not to be too technical here, but needless to say mixing a live show with a new artist every 15 to 20 minutes or so is challenging if you want to do it at the highest level. There is rarely such a thing as “set and forget” as each song is asking you to listen carefully and to shape and nuance a voice or guitar. And if the guitarist takes up a plectrum for some hard strumming after a finger picking song, then it is “all hands on deck”! Sorry, I guess I am somewhat inflating the importance of our role and have to keep telling myself (as I am sometimes reminded) that many in the audience don’t care that much whether a sound guy is there or not. Oh well, I’ll admit to being a little obsessive…

My big thank you for this Eudlo Musos to John Wright and Noel Gardner for their inspiring playing and captivating sets of originals and the Goodwills for the fascinating stories they tell with their songs. And to Ian McLeod (with his 50s, 60s and rockabilly) and Maxine Chisholm (with her Woodie Guthrie, Judy Small and songs of other folk icons), thank you for the quality of performance and variety of material you provide the Musos. Regulars Doug Pullen and Mike Duggan (loved your brushes on the cajon Mike, and the version of Big Noise from Winnetka with Doug was such fun) and myself (with a bluesy lap slide set), filled out the day.

The Musos will be back on Thursday April 16 at Wild Rocket at Montville from 6.30pm. I do hope some of you can get along.


dr michael whiticker
composer, recording and live sound engineer, performer, producer, mentor, video maker, educator, music and event facilitator

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