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6am………………bloody 6am. This is not my time of day at all. But I’m awake and getting ready to leave for ten days on the road. The last three days have been spent prepping new equipment for this tour. We are doing a few self promoted shows and need to provide some extra P.A. bits for them. I pack my car and away I go to Paul's house, briefly stopping so I don’t run over what I mistake for a pack of baby velociraptors at this time in the morning.
From there we are off to pick up Benji on our way up to Ramsbottom (you have got to love the names of northern towns) for Folk expo. We are doing a 20 minute show there around lunch time before getting back in the cars to go to Hull for tonights show.
Traffic is pretty good and I manage to get some shut eye while Paul drives us to show three of the tour. We turn up at lunch time which gives us 30 mins to soundcheck. The talented Kitty MacFarlane is just finishing her soundcheck and then we are on. Continuing the theme from our radio station visit a few days ago, the local P.A. guys today don’t have any information about what equipment we need. Luckily again they have the extra stuff stored away and get things up and running pretty quickly. We don’t have time to use our sound equipment but these guys have brought decent stuff with them so it's not an issue. We manage to get a song and a half for soundcheck before we run out of time. I’m having to work from the side of stage rather than out front so I get my headphones out and throw a basic mix together. It's a good place to start before I walk out to the audience area to hear the damage. It's actually sounding pretty good, a bit harsh in the high mids which I sort with the main E.Q.
The doors open and in come the audience, theres a quick bit of chat, 20 mins of gig, enough time to throw down a plate of food and we pack up back into the cars and are off to Hull.
I don’t come to Hull very often. In the book of crap towns it's rated No. 1. With that in mind I get the feeling it's not a place people go to by choice.
I did come here on my second ever tour and worked a gig at a venue called the Adelphi. From what I remember it was essentially an end of terraced house that had most of the downstairs rooms knocked through and then turned into a gig venue for metal and indie bands. I never knew how they got away with it or how the locals put up with the noise. Talking to todays in house tech, I find out it's still there. If I had time I would love to go back to look at the place and see a gig just to remind me where I started nearly 20 years ago.
We are in the Truck Theatre today, a totally different ball game. Mat, the house tech and I had chatted via email a few days previously and everything was set out perfectly waiting for us. The FOH speakers are some decent EM Acoustics boxes which sound great. I load up the mix from the Nettlebed show and it sounds great. It reassures me that the problems I had with the sound at Nettlebed were room related and not a bad mix on my part.
Tonight Benji brought along a new toy called a Submarine. It’s an extra pickup for an acoustic guitar that adds an octave down on the low string to give a bass note along with the chords he’s playing. It sounds immense and hits the rocky feel the guys are going for. A bit more low end in the sound will give a more powerful feel and this thing does the job perfectly. It's very easy to overdo, but when you hit that sweet spot it fills out the sound amazingly well.
Tonights gig is a great one. The guys are settling in to the new material well and the audience are in a playful mood so theres lots of banter between them and the band, if every gig is like this it would be great. Hassle free and fun from start to finish. I’m looking forward to us going back there in the not too distant future. To top off a great day our hotel is the building next door with a bar open late and a few friends join us for a couple of beverages at the “after show party”.