A fan video from D.C. Full post coming soon!
A fan video from D.C. Full post coming soon!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update. This summer was absolutely incredible, but also insanely busy.
For the first time in my life I found myself thinking that perhaps I tried to take on too much, but I don’t regret it because ultimately I ended up experiencing a lot of new challenges, despite my lack of sleep.
I started working with Lights this fall, and the first run was in Europe. I’ve never even set foot in Europe before, so I was very excited to do so, although doing so with a new client made it extra nerve-wracking. It wasn’t without its own challenges too, considering there were nights that I had to take what was normally a 36 channel artist down to 16.
There’s quite a few photos like this on my phone. Often on analog mixing consoles I have to take a photo of every knob after soundcheck so I can be sure to get the levels back to where they were after an opening band is mixed on the same channels. This obviously leaves huge room for error and is very time-consuming.
Once we wrapped up the Lights run, I hopped in the van with Arkells and drove all the way from London to Dresden (which is in eastern Germany), over a day and a half.
Again, having never done this trip before I found the travel really interesting in some ways, and yet very similar in others. One interesting part of the trip was taking the Eurotunnel. It’s a tunnel that was dug from Folkestone, England to Calais, France.
What I didn’t realize was that it involved driving your vehicle into a train car which looked like a really intense freight car. You then park, and some doors shut between each train car, and once it starts moving, it drives you under the English Channel and 35 minutes later you’re in France.
Our first show was in Dresden, which is not far from the Czech border in eastern Germany. Unfortunately our timing was so tight that we didn’t get a chance to check out the town square, which based on the photos I’ve seen, is very beautiful.
This tour, Arkells are opening for Billy Talent. Billy Talent are wildly successful here in Germany, so we are playing to huge crowds every night. The great thing too is that the fans here are eager and actually show up for the openers!
It’s time for me to go load out! More photos to come!
I’m constantly asked what my favourite music festival is, and while I haven’t been to any big festivals like Coachella, or Reading, or Sasquatch, I can tell you that one of the best festivals in the world is Guelph’s Hillside Festival.
I’ve done the festival several times:
2005 w/ Cuff the Duke
2006 w/ Cuff the Duke, Meligrove Band
2008 w/ Hayden
2009 w/ Tokyo Police Club, Gentleman Reg
2011 w/ Mother Mother, Sweet Thing, Hollerado
2012 w/ Arkells, Elliott Brood, Great Lake Swimmers
From the swims in the lake, to Meatfest (a BBQ that the technicians have every Saturday night to counteract the granola diet encouraged at the festival), it has really become a festival that I actually enjoy being at to enjoy music. The lineup is always quite good and it’s easy to find something you’ll like.
Happy Hillside to all!
This has been a long time coming, and I’m happy that I can finally talk about it!
It’s almost ridiculous that I’ve never even been to Europe yet in my life, but I’m glad I get to go and do it in such a great way. As you may or may not know, our friends Billy Talent do quite well for themselves in Germany, so we’re all very excited about doing this tour. It also helps that their crew are a bunch of the most friendly people out there.
I look forward to sharing my new adventures with everyone – it’ll be fun touring different markets, and learning new strange things that you wouldn’t encounter in North America. Perhaps I’ll finally embrace beer – what better time than in Oktober in Deutschland?
Having done monitors for SRB quite a bit in the past, I’ve always wondered what the band sounded like out front. I finally got my chance when SRB’s regular TM and FOH technicians had to sub-out for another show, and I got the call to take care of the boys.
After Arkells’ show in Owen Sound on July 30, I high-tailed it to the airport and got on the red-eye to Vancouver. An hour after the flight had landed I found myself in a random hotel in Surrey, BC. I managed to get about three and a half hours of sleep before I had to wake up and do soundcheck.
Despite a couple of curveballs, soundcheck went off relatively well. The system was a D&B J-series line array, with J-subs in a left/right configuration and a mono-cluster of B2 subs along the front of the stage. Because the subs were originally in a line one high, we had a lot of sub spilling on to the stage, so we opted to stand them up in a cardioid configuration. This helped a lot with the stage sound but created a few alleys in the audience area. It was a sacrifice worth making though.
After soundcheck I managed to get to the hotel and have a power-nap but not before I ate an obscene amount of sushi. BC is the best for sushi.
Showtime came, and things went off well. They played a great set and covered a lot of my favourite songs. Once I got into the comfort zone I found myself dancing and singing along while I mixed – if you’ve seen me mix a show I usually look pretty tense, so I must have been having fun.
As soon as the show came, it went, and now I have a couple of days off before Arkells start-up next weekend. My cross-Canada tour resumes and I’ll end up in Ottawa and Moncton next weekend before flying home for a few days of R+R. Lots of Arkells gigs this summer, as well as some with Great Lake Swimmers, Elliott Brood, and the good ol’ Cuff the Duke boys.
Watch in full screen HD.
So, we are just over a week into this tour. The routing on this tour is what I would call ‘very efficient’, with little to no time off, except for when necessary for long-distance drives. We’ve been through Chicago, Madison, Minneapolis, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, and Nelson so far.
The bus is pretty full with 10 people, but it doesn’t feel too cramped. It’s a pretty well laid-out bus which allows me to keep a desk together. It may seem unnecessary, but it really does help me be more efficient not having to set-up and tear down my office setup two or three times a day.
I brought my hand-blender and some frozen fruit, milk, and greek yogurt on this run so every morning I can start off with a fruit smoothie. I usually follow with an all-bran bar, just to keep the body in check. After years and years of living on the road and eating terribly, I have finally figured out the correlation between eating well and feeling well. It’s funny how that works.
Usually when I start a tour with a new act I have a bit of anxiety, not knowing what I’m getting myself into. Despite not having worked with Great Lake Swimmers all that much (I had mixed monitors for them twice before this tour, and both times were in 2009), I had a pretty good relationship with everyone and wasn’t worried. They’re a pretty relaxed and easy-going bunch.
What’s interesting about this tour is that I’m not doing sound. I am strictly tour managing, and we are touring with a FOH sound engineer, and merch person. I have to say, being able to focus on being a tour manager only has really helped me focus on doing that job really well, and it has allowed me to relax a little bit while on the road. When you’re going 18 hours a day it’s hard to keep your head above water some days, but thankfully that isn’t an issue on this tour.
While in Chicago, I took a tour of Wrigley Field, which was amazing. If you know me, you know how much I love baseball, and to be in such a beautiful and historic baseball venue was pretty spectacular.
The day after Chicago, GLS had a Daytrotter session in Rock Island, Il. While we were on the way there, I looked at a map and realized that Rock Island is right next door to Moline, Il, which is where John Deere’s world headquarters is located. As you may or may not know, I grew up on a farm, and in 1988 my father founded a John Deere dealership. It’s been the family business ever since, and I was practically raised at the dealership. It was my first job and I started off by cutting the grass, and ended up selling parts, delivering lawn mowers, and managing the company’s computer systems. I’ve always wanted to go to Moline to see what it was like there, and I managed to call a cab and I finally got my chance.
Once we crossed back into Canada, we had a night off in Saskatoon which allowed me to visit some family, which was really great. We are now rolling into Vancouver for a well-deserved day off, and we play The Commodore Ballroom tomorrow, before heading to Victoria and then south of the border to Seattle.
I look forward to sharing some photos of the left coast with you soon!