7th Oct - 7th Nov 2013…
Once upon a time, I would have given anything to be getting a gig (or two!) a week - and now I am (albeit mostly unpaid). A gig is still a gig though - and I’d like to think that it kinda proves that I have some idea of what I’m doing…
A Gigaweek then, is just that - A Gig A Week. Not - as Google et al may try to tell you - a billion weeks or whatever. It could be a week with a lot of activity, and it’s still a possibility. It’s not like having a billion Watts of gen-set power for lights or a billion bytes of gentleman’s material… A Gigaweek rating is just how well one is filling their objective of acquiring gigs.
I would imagine that having one or several claims to fame would have helped my Gigaweek rating increase… I have had several short-lived claims to fame: most notably, my featuring on the HebCeltFest’s website in their slide show performing my vision mixing magic backstage. Also, there was the umpteen YouTube videos, publicity stills and general Facebook Albums of the Bon Fest gig truck being driven around Kirriemuir with “It’s A Long Way To The Top” being blared for all to appreciate - and if one were to look very closely at a carefully paused frame, my purple hood/Chullo Hat/headphones/terrified expression are clearly visible. But being a Roadie is usually (but not always) a thankless job: if you do your job right you are invisible (partly due to our black clothing blending into PA cabs much like DPM in the woods); if something goes pear shaped, you stick out like a penguin in a pig pen as all eyes (and mouths) divert to you…
It’s a bit like an IT technician - they are only called upon when “Windows cannot load the device driver” or when Macintosh refuses to boot etc. They don’t (I assume) have people coming up to them daily to thank them for when their computers are working…
It’s an observation, not a complaint. I haven’t stopped to pose for the camera because I’m not there to do that. I’m lucky if I can take a few photos of the gig myself (for future reference - and showing off!). Speaking of which…
I was hired to design and supply disco & mood lighting for a punk-themed 50th Birthday Bash, where Sonnet 65 were booked to play their own eclectic mix of covers and original material.
Main hall: LED strings down either side wall & in The Snug
The Snug: LED flood mood lighting & soft disco lighting
The Snug: soft disco lighting and LED string lights
The Stage: LED string lights, disco scanners, PAR cans, LED floods…
As I mentioned in my previous entry, I was volunteering at the Oxjam music festival in Abertay Union. I’ll just get it out of the way: I showed up on time and came prepared - but I freaked out. I’ve really got to get these anxiety/panic attacks sorted somehow. Fortunately, the only unknown variable was the venue itself - the PA being supplied from audioWAVE by familiar faces.
What psyched me the most was going from a 12 channel Peavey XR series desk with fixed EQs to an Allen & Heath GL series with parametric EQs and all the outboard I could ever wish for. I may also have weirded out the other guest engineers by stringing LED fairy lights above the desk as without them it was so dark that one couldn’t see the values on the pots.
What was kind of disappointing was the fact that there were only about 12 or so audience members throughout the day (possibly due to the number of Oxjam events on that day) - however, more arrived as the afternoon turned into evening, and my shift changed into another engineer’s. I also had that weird thing happen to me (aside from the anxiety attack clouding my thinking and slowing my brain down): I was able to mix decently up to a point, over which threshold I just lost control on the mix - not into feedback, but just into incoherent mush. I’d like to blame the empty, reverberant and boomy room - but a sound guy should never blame his tools or anything else… In my defence, I got the drums gated and compressed to perfection, at least according to one of the other engineers.
My confidence - what little I had - has evaporated.
Oxjam Stage 2013 in Abertay Union & Stevie’s light desk!
As a P.S., if any of the other Oxjam engineers are reading this and want to get in contact with me, please do. I have horrific problems remembering people’s names - it’s not because I don’t want to, I was just overloaded on the day. Again, I’d like to blame something else, like Asparagus…
Stevie C relaxing after Oxjam Dundee in the Salty Dog with a tri-bottle cocktail
I had also supplied disco lights for a Kirriemuir Brownies’ Halloween disco the night before - but taking pictures in a room full of kids looks dodgy… Anyway, I used the same rig for the Macmillan fundraiser.
DD8 Music were involved with the Macmillan charity fundraiser in Northmuir, for which I was let out of my cage (somewhat like the drum monster in Sesame Street) to do some lights. I felt a bit guilty about supplying illuminations all the time as I use the same equipment for other people’s events - if that makes sense? I can’t remember the exact amount raised, but it was a 3 figure sum… I did my bit by enjoying several apple Mocktails (complete with sugar-snake garnish).
Apologies for the blurry photos - I’m regretting swapping my Canon for a Pentax; the only saving grace is that the videos are pretty good quality - so hopefully I’ll get some video clips or GIFs uploaded sometime.
DD8 Macmillan Fundraiser Night: Around 7
DD8 Music were supplying bands for the Kirriemuir and District Round Table Bonfire & Fireworks night. And no, I didn’t play “Rock You Like A Hurricane” to the fireworks - Graham played Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter instead.
Stevie C lighting up Kirrie Hill without fireworks
On the subject of advice for upcoming Roadies (like me), a common thread I’m seeing is that we should track down local production/hire/venue/tour companies and introduce ourselves to them. That makes sense, as it is seemingly “who you know, not what you know” (networking). We’re told to turn up to as many gig in the hopes of being able to help out (which I sometimes do, finances permitting) and to regularly email/write/phone/visit said local companies/people on the off chance they have a gig we can help with - again, that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense (to me) is that I have been advised to even-more-regularly follow up and indeed “pester” said people. The logic is that they won’t forget about me out of the mountain of other potential Roadies/Techs/Engineers/Crew and will be assured that you are truly passionate about the industry (which I obviously am, though I may not show it). I just don’t like the idea of annoying someone that much. And supposedly it’s Aspies who don’t care about other people.
As the Gallagher brothers inform me periodically (not personally, unfortunately) I’ve “gotta make it happen”. But how?
Aside from selling copies of Roadie Monthly or The Big Rig (they probably should exist if they don’t already) outside concert venues, I’m feeling quite dejected about how little I can think about how to get my name out there - and that I’m not on tour yet. Where is there anyway? All I know is it’s not here.
Even to get more voluntary work in other theatres or concert venues would be cool enough - in order to challenge me and give me more experience of working in varied venues. I even agreed to help rewire the lights in a pub basement and install a chandelier made from just LED strings just to keep busy (an inspector gave it the OK after). I’m not sure there’s the same market for a busker with a sound board as there is for a busker with a guitar - or mouth organ if one strolls though Dundee City Center of an afternoon. Unless of course there was a loop pedal/sampler attached to said sound board…
As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t always getting a gig a week, even if the bulk of them are unpaid. Hopefully, I’ll be blogging (or not - as what goes on tour often stays on tour) in a couple of years to come - saying “I wasn’t always getting months of well-paid touring at a time” or “I wasn’t always getting a paid gig every few days”.
As I have a job interview tomorrow, I’ll just amend this paragraph to reflect my thoughts on how it went. As it’s for a cleaning job, I’m guessing not well. Yeah, that’s right. I’m applying for cleaning jobs in between largely-unpaid gigs. Rock n Roll…
UPDATE: It actually went reasonably well. But when there were 50+ people applying for this one low-paid job per day, the same old question came up in the interview: “So why are you not away being a Roadie for a band as you’re obviously qualified for it?”.
However, on the way back home today (yesterday?), I asked a passing cat if it had any jobs going. All it said was “Meow” (with an upward inflection) - which I assumed meant “I’ll call you if anything comes up, pal”. Something did come up - I later got a call confirming me for panto this December.
Onwards & upwards. That cat must have some pretty powerful connections.
Click Bon Scott in the bottom corner of your screen.
He’s not going to click himself.
I should probably point out that unlike my Last.fm profile, these Top 40 are just the songs I love the most at the moment - not necessarily what’s been played the most or been recently added.
Time to start prepping for upcoming stuff…