It’s a long drive day again. Hampshire to Pembrokeshire. Hopefully it will only be 3.5 hours if the traffic is easy. The cones are back in hibernation so far on the drive. Where the hell do they all go? Tiredness is starting to set in properly with everyone. This is the 6th day on the bounce and we have 3 more after this before most of us get a break. Saul is going straight on to other work when this run of dates is over before meeting back up with us for the last few dates of the tour. It’s always good to be busy in this line of work. You rarely turn down a job offer as you never know when the next drought is coming. I have taken a step back this year after 3 years of being solidly on the road. The time off has done me the world of good and even with the fatigue settling in it’s feeling great to be out on tour again with my friends.
Todays venue is Burnett’s Chapel in Martletwy. Its a tiny village and a tiny little chapel. Faustus played here 10 years ago to the day, way before my time with them. I have been chatting with the organiser of tonights show via email because this show is going to be a little different. Today the band are prepared to play completely unplugged. No mics, no monitors, no P.A. at all. Most folk gigs in here are done like that but I have a feeling that I can make things sound a lot better by adding the odd bit here and there.
As I walk in the room I see why it doesn’t need much. The venue is 100 capacity, but it’s 100 people squeezed tightly into the bench seats. Before we bring any major equipment in I get the guys to play a bit so I can hear what the room sounds like without a P.A. at all. I notice that the vocals are a bit undefined, I can’t hear the violin and we decide that its worth adding a mic on the bass end of the melodeon to fill out the sound a little. So we get 2 FOH speakers out along with 3 vocal mics, a violin d.i. and the melodeon mic. There isn’t any space for monitors so the guys are going to have to work off what the room gives them. Without them the stage sound is a lot lower in volume which then gives me a great chance to mix very subtly so that the audience almost don’t notice the P.A. at all.
We have tried this once before at a gig in Sheffield a few years ago, on that gig the P.A. turned up broken and without monitors so we ran a similar way. On that day it didn’t work very well but it was a much bigger room with a much smaller audience. Today it works really well. I get the mix to a point where it sounds almost exactly like a normal show for us yet it’s a lot quieter. The only part I’m missing is the submarine pickup on the acoustic guitar that adds the bass notes. The low end of the melodeon however is making up for it and I get several comments at the end of the show about how good the bass and sub sounded.
The audience have a great time and there are loads of thank you’s sent my way as people are leaving. We nip down to the local pub for a quick pint after the show before finding our hotel and settling in for the night.