Sunday Night Gig Update

Sunday night we played at the Bayside Chapel, a very cool place about an hour away in Barnegat, NJ that was fantastic to play at. That has to do with both the facility and the people, and I look forward to playing there again for both reasons! They made us feel welcome, they were an appreciative audience who seemed to genuinely like our music (not that that doesn’t happen elsewhere!), and they were great to talk to afterward.

Usually around the time we’re packing up our gear after a gig, I’ll make some comment about getting just big enough to hire roadies. So you know it’s a good gig when I don’t mind moving the small mountain of gear Dan and I have. Sunday night was one of those where I was so pumped that I didn’t mind at all packing up, which was a little weird, because the gig itself was pretty laid-back. But everything was just so good that night, it makes you feel good about what you do.

1.5 Gigs Done; 1 To Go

Yeah, I know I wrote earlier that we only had 2 gigs this weekend. More on that in a minute. Last night was the first gig in Burlington, NJ. We were the inaugural act for a new coffeehouse starting at the Broad Street United Methodist Church. It wasn’t a huge crowd, but they were appreciative, and it was a fun night. The only major mishap was my main controller locking up right at the end of the penultimate song of the first set. It’s connected to my laptop via USB, and when a USB device goes away in Windows/Usine (yes, yes, I’m using Windoze – Usine is that good!), there’s no getting it back without rebooting. Fortunately, Dan has no problem filling in the spaces with his ability for extemporaneous speaking! I was able to reboot fairly quickly, and we closed the set.

Also, my friend Ben was there in the capacity of official band photographer. Thanks, Ben! Looking forward to seeing the results (even if it turned out to be more of test run – who knew what our backdrop would be?)!

And now the “.5 gig” explanation: Dan’s father is the senior pastor of our church, and he and his wife came to the gig last night. He heard one of the songs, and realized it would be perfect for the service the next morning, so he asked Dan if we would do it. This proved to be interesting, as we don’t have enough time to set up our entire rig Sunday mornings (although we do have some gear there: Dan and I play on the Worship Team for the first service), so we needed a “B” rig. For Dan, that meant one guitar (which happened to be the one he uses Sunday morning), using a clean sound (ie no pedal board), and his laptop and MIDI pedal board. For me, that meant my Korg Karma (which I usually use Sundays), my X-Station and my laptop. The laptop provides the environment, and any number of soft-synths, and the X-Station turned out to be the hub. Not only is it the audio interface for the laptop, but I ran the audio of my Karma through one of it’s inputs, and thus only needed to run one input (going mono here) to the sound board. I also needed to make a second copy of Usine (one of the things I like about it is that there’s no install, and nothing in the registry), with a separate config (Windows/Usine tends to freak out a little when all of the devices it’s expecting aren’t there – I’ve had some re-mapping in the patches going on, which wasn’t fun to recover from).

We got home from the gig last night about 10:30ish, and unloaded the truck, and then I spent the next little while programming the laptop software, imagining in my head (I didn’t want to get everything out and set up) how everything was going to hang together. Dan and I got to the church this morning a little earlier than normal, but were still up against the clock. Somehow, we managed to set up, debug, sound check (which doubled as a quick rehearsal), and get through the other practice (the regular service stuff), and still have some time left over for other special music to get in some practice time. Amazing. It all went perfectly, too. Well, OK, maybe not perfectly – I couldn’t hear myself very well for our one song (I had a headphone monitor, but it needed more gain than I could give it – I’ll have to work on that), but I got through it OK – I even nailed the solo!

A regular gig for us is 12 songs, so technically this was 1/12th of a gig, but I’m adding the other 5/12ths for all the work that was needed to get there. Hopefully, as it’s pretty inevitable we’ll be asked to do more things on short notice, or more confined spaces, that this “B” rig will work out for a lot of the things we do. It might take some re-working, but we should be able to pull it off. Eventually, I can see phasing out the Karma in the B rig in favour of my CME controller, and relying more on soft-synths.

This afternoon, we’re off to Barnegat, NJ (the Shore!) to lead worship at the Bayside Chapel. it’s a smaller set, but we’ll have the full rig with us (we might use their sound system), and it should be a little more relaxed.

Gigs this Weekend

Dan and I (a.k.a. reverential) are busy this weekend with not one, but two gigs! Our first is a little more local than the last few have been, but the other is at the Shore. We’ll be in Burlington, NJ on Saturday evening, and in Barnegat, NJ Sunday evening. Check out our website for the details, and if you’re in either area, come on out! It should be a fun (but tiring!) weekend!

SGI and Changes

I went to a talk given by an engineer from SGI the other day. I was thinking, as he talked about their Intel-based products geared toward clustering, parallel systems and storage, how far the company has come from the uber-cool graphics hardware I used to drool over as an undergrad over a decade ago. As a member of the executive of the computer club in the CS department at Guelph (President for two years), we had a prof who had connections to SGI via Alias, which was based in Toronto. We used to borrow large machines from them periodically for the club, and we always got lots of time on them. We had access to our own SGIs in the department, but these were always bigger systems with the high-end graphics boards.

One of the changes SGI has gone through in recent years is their re-branding, which meant a new logo. I always loved the 3D SGI logo, and was sad to see it go (I still have a small embossed version of it that I appropriated from an older, recycled machine stuck to one of my monitor bezels).
As part of the talk, we got a pile of literature, some swag, and a business card from the sales rep for our area. I had taken it all back to my office, put it on my desk, and happened to turn the card over. I was happy to see the old logo on the back. It makes me wonder how many people there miss the old days too.