We have a packed day again today, 9:30am for breakfast so that the guys are ready to do a Skype interview at 10am with a German radio station. There is a quick stop in town to get a few essentials sorted for the tour then a trip in the car down to Bristol for another BBC radio interview. It’s going to be a tight one today as it’s Friday traffic and we may get caught up in it. To add to the stress levels I’m starting to feel it today. Eight days on the bounce without a break is now making me feel tired and a irritable.
The drive down to Bristol is uneventful but I can’t seem to get any shut eye which would have payed dividends later on. We turn up at BBC Bristol with 30 mins to go before the guys are on air, and are directed to the studio. It looks to me like the guys are feeling as tired as I am. Luckily, it is a simple setup. A live interview and Faustus are playing totally acoustically so no mixing or sound engineering required. I sit in the control room like a vegetable while they do their thing. I can hear them through the glass and also through the speakers in the control room which must be receiving the radio broadcast and not the direct signal as there is a delay of around half a second which makes it very difficult to follow in my current state. I decide to switch off and flick through my Facebook timeline until the show is done.
It takes about 20 mins to do the chat plus a couple of songs and then we are straight back in the cars and off to Milverton for tonights show. As suspected we get caught in traffic…………..and then more traffic………………..and then more traffic. Our plan is usually to get to a venue at 4pm, which gives us enough time to set up, have 30 mins rest and eat before doors open. Today we arrived around 5:45 so it’s a rush to get things up and running. This music club has been running for 20 years and they have a wide variety of acts coming through from what I can tell. The organisers have not received any technical info from our agent and I have not had any contact details for them so they are not aware that we are bringing any P.A. equipment with us. We walk in and there is a full system already set up with a Yamaha mixing desk plus Mackie and Proel speakers ready and waiting. I give them the bad news that we are going to have to undo a lot of the work they have already done to get our gear in place. Under normal circumstances it wouldn’t be an issue at all but we are against the clock here and I’m struggling to keep my head together because I’m so tired.
We rush through the setup which luckily comes together easily and then get straight into the soundcheck. Although the venue has a stage at one end the organisers don’t use it. They prefer a more intimate feel of the band being close to the audience so Faustus are set up against the long wall firing across the width of the room (normally shows are facing down the length of the room as it’s easier to get even coverage from a P.A. system, but it does separate the band from the audience more). The FOH speakers are also set slightly behind the band which is always a cause for concern as it is much more likely to cause feedback. Luckily, I have years and years of experience as a monitor engineer. Because of this my frequency recognition is pretty good, so adjusting the FOH graphic E.Q. to get rid of feedback is second nature to me. The band are so close to the back wall I have to negotiate with them to turn down their monitors to reduce reflections. If we don’t do it then I have no hope of being able to mix the show at all. The Faustus boys are however very experienced and very professional to boot so we come to an agreement very quickly and it sounds pretty good. As soon as we finish we have to eat dinner. There isn’t going to be any time to let food go down either. As soon as I’ve eaten, the support act Sam Patten is ready to start and I have to mix his show too as there hasn’t been enough time to show somebody how to use the software on my iPad.
There is a 5 minute turn around and then Faustus are on. The gig is now well rehearsed after 10 shows and the fact that we are all tired doesn’t do anything to harm the performance. I am definitely running on auto pilot by the second half but I have learnt my cues and we pull off another great show. The locals are all very enthusiastic and Bev one of the organisers comments on it being the best show he has seen here in 20 years. A few others give me some nice compliments on the sound and I discuss with a couple of people how we create the great sub frequencies that are a big part of our show and very rare in acoustic music.
Tonights accommodation is slightly different and happens reasonably often on the folk scene. The organisers have found 4 different houses to put each one of us up for the night. This is always a lottery as to who you get to stay with. One night you can be shown to your room and end up going straight to bed. On other nights you can be kept up and filled with booze while you are talked at until 4 am. You never know whats coming. Tonight I have great hosts. I end up at the house of Joel and Lisa who have been sitting next to me for the show. Joel is a double bass player with a recording studio set up at home with vintage synths, computers and some eclectic guitars too. A playground for somebody like me. He also DJ’s old 78 rpm records from the 20’s and 30’s and has quite the collection. We end up discussing music, touring and motorbikes over a drink before I turn in for the night. I end up in the comfiest bed I have slept in for months and have a fantastic nights sleep. It couldn’t have come at a better time.