Roots at Mains Castle

Cool and Groovy Blog graphic by Stevie C

And many, many more gigs…

12th May - 8th July…


I put the Pro in Procrastination

Repeat after me, Stevie: "I Must Not Procrastinate"…
Maybe later…

Apologies if this webpage is still loading whilst you are reading this, I do have rather a lot to cover since my last entry - if only the work remained the same and time scale shorter, but one musn’t complain. It seems way more than a month or so, especially since Roots…

Quick Tip: click on an image to make it bigger. Click the bigger image to make it go away.
Doesn’t work for all images tho - just most of them. :)


50th @ Black Watch function suite Dundee

Ross was booked to DJ at a 50th in the Black Watch club function suite, I was asked to supply some lights and there’s really not much to report other than Ross playing excellent music and everyone enjoying themselves as usual (bar the usual one person who claims that everyone in the building is hating it). I wished I’d just taken 4 scanners instead of lugging 4 SoundLab Vite pods in addition to 2 scanners. I also wished I’d waited before asking for a pint of 70/- as it was still warm from not being pulled thru the lines/cooler… But look at all the pretty lights:

DJ Ross playing at the Black Watch function suite Dundee with disco lighting supplied by Stevie C DJ Ross playing at the Black Watch function suite Dundee with disco lighting supplied by Stevie C DJ Ross playing at the Black Watch function suite Dundee with disco lighting supplied by Stevie C

DJ Ross & Stevie C at The Black Watch club function suite Dundee :)


DJ Forge has left the country…

Shane, aka DJ Forge has left the country following several problems that are none of my business. Despite initial reservations about him on my part (as I have with pretty much any new person), I have since immensely enjoyed working alongside him and absorbing his musical palette and technical insights. A few had doubts about his musical style when he was added to the Salty Dog’s Dundee Dance Event lineup at the last minute, but as soon as he started playing, he blew any doubts away - almost literally. So, as a fitting Leaving Do, he commandeered the Salty Dog Dundee PA system to play his own party…

DJ Forge aka Shane playing The Salty Dog Dundee DJ Forge aka Shane playing The Salty Dog Dundee DJ Forge aka Shane playing The Salty Dog Dundee

DJ Forge playing The Salty Dog Dundee :)


I Love Lamp

I’m loving the iPod Ross got me as a thankyou for Dundee Dance Event 2015, as it allows me to take amazing photos of my lights and the parties I’m at, as well as some of the weirder things I witness…

Joel perfecting the family party trick at DJ Forge’s leaving do 5 Standard Lamps found outside in the rain on Commercial Street Dundee under a bus stop shelter - I wish I’d saved a couple for the ’Dog…

That escalated quickly: 5 lamps outside in the rain :)

Got 10p for a bulb, pal?


Life Through Dance starring Pasha Kovalev

I was asked to come in and operate follow-spot by the Webster Theatre Arbroath. No pictures here, as some of us respect copyright… I loved the show. I’m not sure if that’s because I was working at it and just happy to be working in a job I love, or because the show itself was amazing. I suspect the light show had a lot of influence - there were at least a dozen LED washes and another dozen LED PAR cans and pinspots doing the most amazing sweeps and ballyhoos across the curtains, with gobos and chases and a ton of other stuff that makes me go “WOW”…


“Who’s the better spot op?”

This was the question put to me by Pasha’s touring crew. On inspection of the slightly-different cue sheets to what I’m used to, I had to ask “What’s 221 again?”. Pretty much answered that question then…

I’m still enjoying this as much as ever. The only thing I will say is that I much prefer the shows that run for several performances - if only because I’m used to the script, and am not solely reliant on partly-unintelligible directions over cans straining to compete with the ambient noise. I seemed to get thru the performance OK though. The LD had to ask if I still had a blue gel in at one point - due to the color temperature of the lamp being noticeably different than the other spot…
And I still had the paranoia of the lamp or fan burning out mid-show, or worse, mid-cue.

I was so wet & sticky after that. Rule#1: Always help with load-out. You can not only show how unconfident you are when communicating with people (still), but also discern what gear was used for the show without having to ask “Ooooooohhhh - what’s that?” constantly…


Did I BOMTICC?

Nope. But I’d rather worry about something rather than think I was cool only to fantastically f*** up later. As Matt McGinn says, “Don’t start to think you’re cool because that’s when things blow up”.

So: Roots at Mains Castle Dundee… Having done a reccy of the power supply the previous fortnight (and in the process having accidentally walked into someone’s house - sorry), I showed up at the castle with a holdall and 2 massive bags worth of gear wishing I had a driving license. And a vehicle. And more confidence on the road…. I wasn’t lonely as I had Mitch & co from audioWAVE to keep me company. :)

Mains Castle Dundee Courtyard by day: Stevie turns up to find audioWAVE setting up for Roots and some fairy lights on the tree Mains Castle Dundee inside function suite - disco lights for Roots by Stevie C. Red uplighting for mood with disco scanners.

Mains Castle Courtyard & Function Suite being set up for Roots :)

The first thing of note was the fairy lights in the tree, and the head-scratching thought of “wern’t there leaves last year?” - as well as the usual moment of panic… I tackled the indoors function suite first: I set up 2 T-bars with scanners, 2 little lasers, 1 big laser and a 20W RGB Flood (set on on red) uplighting the brick wall for mood. The fairy strings in the drapes overhead were already in the venue, although I could have provided identical sets if required.

Roots House/Rave getting off to a blinding start at Mains Castle wedding & function hall Dundee. Blinding lights by Stevie C.

Roots getting off to a blinding start :)

Mains Castle Courtyard Dundee: Stevie C’s amazing LED marquee lighting. Alan Livie DJing at Roots. Sound by audioWAVE Dundee. Mains Castle Courtyard Dundee: Stevie C’s amazing LED marquee lighting. DJ Ross is in there somewhere, at Roots. Sound by audioWAVE Dundee.

Roots: Mains Castle Courtyard - LED marquee & laser lighting :)

I had spent a good while fixing an LED floodlight in the tree, as well as a waterproof outlet that would allow the venue’s fairy lights to be powered from a nearby 16A ceeform outlet, only to find that the venue had been having some electrical problems and as such, there would be no power (or indeed general lighting) in the courtyard. So after borrowing a waterproof extension reel, I was able to use the LED flood to provide some basic lighting around the tree - better than nothing…

I had spent a considerable amount of time setting up the lights in the tree, only for someone to shout “Now We Can Climb The Tree!”… Silently praying he wouldn’t, I bent down again to finish re-wiring the 13A I’d re-wired into a ceeform back into a 13A, only to be aware of several flashes of white light behind me. The photographer had got my Builders Bum…

Roots at Mains Castle, Dundee. Courtyard by Night, Stevie C providing LED mood lighting Roots at Mains Castle, Dundee. Wedding/Function Hall by Night: Stevie C providing disco scanners & laser lighting. Sound by audioWAVE Dundee.

Mains Castle Courtyard & Function Hall by Night with Stevie’s lights :)

Roots is probably my most favourite gig of this blog entry, if only the load-out could have been the next day, as with all the gigs in Alyth… Mitch kindly gave me a lift back into Dundee with all my gear, as Ross had left some hours earlier having thought it was later than it actually was…

There was a disco in the Salty Dog the following day. This doesn’t get its own section because I have no pictures. I had a couple of scanners and a few more sets of lights, but at the end of the day, it’s still the Salty Dog. I had a few tinnies of Tartan Special (it was a reunion) but had to head home early. As Riggs & Murtaugh say, I’m gettin’ too old for this…


30th at Baxter’s Function Hall Dundee

DJ Ross had another booking (why does this sound familiar?). We turned up to Baxter’s Function Suite, only to be met with a system already in place. Granted, the lights were all of the cheap LED-matrix variety (not something I personally like) and the 3 speakers arranged in a mock-2.1 arrangement were the SRM350 little brothers of Ross’s speakers, but it was an adequate pre-installed system nonetheless. But we decided to improve it by adding my lights and connecting Ross’s speakers into the ones already there.

DJ Ross DJing and Stevie C providing (more) disco lights at Baxter’s Function Suite Dundee

DJ Ross & Stevie C at Baxter’s Function Suite Dundee :)

The extra sound system you certainly noticed, but I’m not sure you would even know my scanners were in there at all. That said, Ross was so busy that he didn’t notice the LED curtain behind him. In other news, a pint of Heavy and cheap sausage rolls don’t mix, and I fell in love with the Martin scanner atop the bandit at the bar…

Man(nequin) down: not the best thing to see at the bottom of the stairs in an old pub cellar

Not the most comforting thing to see :)


Turn BFG into DJ letter-by-letter…

With the arrival of June, I had initially said I would help with load-in and load-out for Forfar Dramatic Society’s production of the BFG. I wouldn’t have cancelled (I apologised and gave them enough notice) had I not been needed to cover for Ross in the Salty while he was DJing at a wedding in Gibraltar… This wasn’t “My Big Break”, but it did teach - or rather reinforce - a couple of things: as a DJ you’re playing music for other people not yourself & Don’t Start To Think You’re Cool, Because That’s When Things Blow Up (Matt McGinn).

Stevie C DJing in the Salty Dog Dundee beside all the LED fairy Lights. Scary how well it went… Stevie C up Knob Creek and out of his Skull at The Salty Dog Dundee

DJing (seemingly well) & Up Knob Creek and out of my Skull :)

I’m pretty amazed at how well it went, Wednesday & Thursday anyway. I wasn’t suited to Friday though - 2 out of 3 ain’t bad… I had another audio-filtering problem… I may have played a bit loudly once the evening had got going - and thus upset one of the regulars - due to not being able to naturally neurologically separate the ambient chatter level with my music level. Like discerning one noise source from another - particularly in a social situation - it can be done, but it is an active process for me that, over time, burns me out mentally. In my defence, I wasn’t nearly as loud as the karaoke, but add the awareness issue to the fact that some people ask or demand things of me that they wouldn’t dare demand of another DJ (I’m a glorified JukeBox or iJ, not DJ) and my inability to fake enthusiasm, this probably isn’t my forte.

The Salty Dog Dundee Sky Boat.

The Salty Dog Dundee Sky Boat. :)

Or I could just be letting one 5-minute incident cast a shadow over a successful and fun week.


FNTRB: Finitribe

Baxter Park Sunbather (of Korova & Roots fame) had organized a night at Buskers Dundee where he himself would be DJing in-between (what I presumed would be rock) bands. I went along with the intention of catching his mini-sets and then returning to - guess where - The Salty Dog. Instead, I was treated to the support act Altres (whose CD I bought - to then be given another of their CDs free) as well as the main act: Finitribe, who were both in fact electronic-based bands, and f***ing amazing bands at that. I’d still get in bother for posting that on Dundee Music Live, probably…

Note to Buskers: all I wanted to borrow your WiFi for was to check-in on Facebook and mention what great music there was…

FNTRB: Finitribe and Altres at Buskers Dundee. Sadly, Stevie C had no involvement, other than supporting local bands.

FNTRB: Finitribe onstage at Buskers Dundee :)

Aside from the amazing music, I just kept thinking how amazing the lighting show was. Again, the picture doesn’t do it justice (and I don’t intend to hang about taking photos ALL night), but it’s the same principle witnessed at Aussie Floyd, HebCelt Fest, BonFest, Pasha Kovalev et al - it’s not so much the amount or quality of lighting fixtures involved (although that does play a part), it’s about the effects that can be achieved thru creativity and design.

Speaking of creativity, Finitribe (I thought) had started employing more and more glitchy [I don’t know how to describe it]-esque sounds into their soundscape. Only when I heard the effect the third time did I realise it was in fact one of their PCs gently coming to a dignified crash. Like the sort of noise you get when you don’t set the sample rate properly in Cubase, try to stream something from USB 1.1 or when your processor reaches 100% capacity… They managed to keep it together using a mind-boggling array of samplers, pads, MIDI keyboards and what looked like Izotope Stutter Edit. I got talking to them after their set about all things MIDI, VST and how even when something started to go wrong, I assumed it was part of the performance - no word a lie. I was given some inspiration to get back on Cubase.

Between Altres, Finitribe and Leftfield’s new album Alternative Light Source, I have lots of new music to enjoy…


Party in Alyth: Burnside Inn

I’m working on a demo video for Ross & myself…

DJ Ross from the Salty Dog Dundee and Stevie C doing music and disco lights at The Burnside Inn, Alyth. Again. DJ Ross from the Salty Dog Dundee and Stevie C doing music and disco lights at The Burnside Inn, Alyth. Again.

Party at The Burnside Inn, Alyth (again) :)

Also worth a mention is the fact I slipped out to The Lossett Inn (Just up the road in Alyth), enjoyed rather many pints of cloudy cider and was allowed to play music off my iPod for the pub…

I did not have a single regret about this gig; personally, professionally, technically… There’s a video of me dancing with a BeeGees(?) wig on, likewise there’s also a picture of Ross wearing it. Not here, obviously…


Stevie & Ross Go Large (on Pizza)

Smudge the Cat looking very intrigued yet unimpressed by his new hat

I said I would help Ross tidy the flat up (having crashed there after gigs so often), and I’ve got to say, there’s something about cleaning a DJ’s kitchen floor that’s far too parallel to the movie Kevin & Perry Go Large for my liking. As you won’t want to see me dancing around with a mop like Jim Royle to Mambo No 5 or Robert Palmer’s Addicted To Love, I’ve given you a picture of when I tried to make a lampshade-hat for Smudge instead…


LITD: Live In The Den, Kirriemuir

Really don’t want to bother you with the usual “we used the same speakers and mics and amps and oxygen as last year”, except that this was the most excercise I’ve had all year, so far… I’ve joined the audioWAVE gym.

LITD 2015: Kirriemuir Live In The Den with DD8 Music and audioWAVE Dundee

Live in Kirrie Den 2015 :)


Job Interview. Almost Blue.

I thought I’d found (another) perfect job - an apprenticeship as an electrician with Dundee City Council. I did the usual company research, interview practice and even bought new shoes/trousers/jacket etc. I didn’t get the job. What on earth did I do wrong?

I showed up at the Salty Dog, only to end up helping out by interconnecting the band’s PA system to Ross’s PA system in the lower bar, the upshot being that people in the lower bar could hear the performance. The first band (I forget the name, sorry) was easy: take the existing Phono tie-line from the karaoke amp and insert it into the Tape Out of the bands’s mixer amp - the other end already being connected to the DJ mixer downstairs. Despite all the lights and bar gear, this was surprisingly noise-free (for a long unbalanced cable). The second act (whose business card I’ve just dug out my wallet) - Reece Hillis - was a bit more challenging as his mixer only had quarter-inch jack outs…

Stevie C had to help out at Almost Blue at the Salty Dog to interconnect the PA systems. Reece Hillis.

Helping out at Almost Blue, Salty Dog. Reece Hillis. :)

I had a pile of XLR, Phono, Jack etc cables and adaptors - all at home. So after a quick jog to Kenny’s Music (10 minutes before end of business), I had a Y-split/insert cable and Reece was finishing his first song. I was now able to connect his headphone output into Ross’s spare Numark mixer’s Mic/line in, and from there into the Phono out…

Lessons?
The Show must always go on.
There is always a way.


Stuff

Stevie C’s old Nokia 2330 cellphone/cameraphone: A Bell Pepper Bloody Mary cocktail in The Salty Dog Dundee, where else? Stevie’s new Windows Phone and BarCam in The Salty Dog Dundee

Camera-phones Old & New. And a Bell Pepper Bloody Mary & Pint City… :)

So now I’ve wasted half the day messing with IIS to get my blog operational again after several 500 server error messages. I now have another hi-res camera having bought myself my first ever smartphone which means less hazy mashes of who knows what and more pictures of lights. So now all I’ve got to do is say something hopeful about getting back making music again, tell you to look out for my HebCelt Fest blog appearing in bits next week, and to read on for my Steve Note and Top 40.


One More Thing…

Stevie has found a Tiger to hug, but he hogs everything…

I have found a (Paper?) Tiger to hug again (yay!). The only problem is, he hogs everything, including the Mac…


Stevie’s Top 40

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.

  1. Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before Morrissey
  2. Science Finitribe
  3. Throb Altres
  4. Don’t Ask Me Lindisfarne
  5. Universal Everything Leftfield
  6. Somebody Rock Me (The Clash & The Killers) Party Ben
  7. Galvanize The Empire (John Williams & The Chemical Brothers) Party Ben
  8. The Mexican Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
  9. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out The Smiths
  10. Rat In Mi Kitchen UB40
  11. Head And Shoulders Leftfield
  12. The Day Is My Warrior The Prodigy
  13. Spiral Todd Terje
  14. Delorean Dynamite Todd Terje
  15. Infinite Regression Quantic
  16. The 5th Exotic Quantic
  17. The Eagle Has Landed The Fiddlin’ Bens & Heavy Friends
  18. Figure It Out Royal Blood
  19. Careless Royal Blood
  20. Animal Nitrate Suede
  21. Trash Suede
  22. Dreams The Corrs
  23. History Repeating (featuring Miss Shirley Bassey) Propellerheads
  24. Older Ladies Goldie Lookin Chain
  25. Let It All Hang Out A.D.O.R.
  26. Never Take Your Place Big Country
  27. Fairies Wear Boots Black Sabbath
  28. Skies On Fire AC/DC
  29. Stop Before I Go APB
  30. What Would We Do (Alex Mirov bootleg) DSK
  31. Policy Of Truth Depeche Mode
  32. Spuzzle Bucket Opiuo
  33. It’s Far Better To Learn Saosin
  34. Pacific State 808 State
  35. Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge Marilyn Manson
  36. 2129 Alabama 3
  37. Youth Gone Wild Skid Row
  38. Sugar Man (Vanilla Ace Remix) Yolanda Be Cool & Dcup
  39. Sheep Pink Floyd
  40. Sledgehammer (live) Peter Gabriel

* Bands I have been mixing.


Time to go pack for HebCelt Fest.