The hardest level

I’ve been wondering lately what the most difficult level of touring as a tech may be and while I’m still not anywhere closer to a conclusion, so here’s a bunch of thoughts on the tour I just finished.

There’s no doubt that as a technician there can be some god-awful places you can go into with an artist that is just starting out. I’ve done my share of venues that have blown monitors, out of phase subs, half-dead consoles, broken mic stands, bad power, you name it. I can probably name a venue like this in each city in Canada. There have certainly been some forgettable venues, although some were so bad that I’ll never forget.

On this tour, we had a handful of good venues: Sound Academy (Toronto) Club Soda (Montreal), The Garrick (Winnipeg), The Venue (Vancouver), etc.  They made life easy and it felt civilized each day we went into a venue like this. But my goodness going into a club with the same about of gear that can’t even power up your rig, or has a bloody 12’ bar directly in front of the stage can just kill you some days. The artist’s expectation is that the technician is there to make it work, no matter what the cost, so it’s up to you to try and pull off the same show each day, whether you’re in Montreal, or Brantford.

There was a time that I would go into these crap venues and just roll with it and do what I can, but when we’re carrying production and the artist expects the entire show each day, we had our work cut out for us.  On a tour like this you have to fight every day to try and make it work.  Thankfully, somehow I think we were pretty successful on this run.

I really do want to talk a minute about how amazing our LD Stumpy was on this tour. He really did make a lot of things work each day and I owe a lot of the technical success to him on this tour. We only yelled at each other once and that was simply out of the frustration of a 2.5 hour load out which easily takes the cake for “worst load out I’ve ever done, ever”.

Another big thank you has to go to Sean “Thunder” MacGillivray. Sean is the drummer in the band and also a good tech. He chipped in and helped us out on this tour when it became painfully obvious that we needed all the help we could get. I don’t think I would have physically or mentally made it through the tour without his help. He also plays bass with the great singer/songwriter Jenn Grant who is definitely worth checking out.

Every tour I learn a little bit more and I’m thankful for the lessons learned on this one. I’m not going to forget this tour, and hopefully I won’t forget what I’ve learned.

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