Today we are venturing into the Forest of Dean to a place called Lydbrook. I know nothing about this part of the world. Anything immediately west of Gloucester is a mystery to me and it’s nice to find a great drive through some beautiful countryside. I laugh as we pass a sign showing the way to “The Wilderness”. I had never realised the wilderness was here. Lydbrook is a small village in the middle of nowhere and when we arrive at the village hall I am surprised to find out how big it is. The room has a sprung floor (never a good starting point for sound) and a high roof with lots of wooden surfaces. It’s a bit of a cavernous sounding box but we find during the soundcheck that the stage sound is pretty good for the band.
We use our new speakers for the second night in a row and they prove plenty enough to cover the room with a nice full sound. Although they are good, I’m not completely convinced by the sound of the hi mid and high frequencies of this P.A. so far, but the bass end of them is amazing. In a room this size I would normally be in desperate need of a sub to go with the tops but with these Q.S.C K12’s I’m not missing it at all. The show file on my mixing desk is starting to get warn out too. It has done several tours gradually being butchered every night to sort the sound for each different P.A. system in each different room. I reset a number of things most days but I think the file has just about hit it’s best before date. I’m going to use it for the last 2 shows but next tour I will be starting fresh. Who knows maybe with some nice new toys if I get round to upgrading in the near future.
Tonights gig is a little low in numbers compared to most of the shows this tour so the seating is set out with tables. Based on the size of the village though, it looks like most of the locals have turned up and a lot of them seem to know each other well and are in good spirits. There are enough bodies in here to tame down the really bad reflections in the room and although it is a bit of a cavernous wash of sound I enjoy mixing the show. I have actually mixed shows in caves once or twice and this is like cotton wool by comparison.
In a big reflective space you really need to work with the room to get the best out of it. I often find I lower or even stop using the reverb effects on my desk and use what the room creates instead. That way you can ride the levels of instruments as the show goes on and the more you turn something up the more of the rooms natural reverb increases with it. You can run into problems if the room reacts in a way that really doesn't fit with the music, but adding your reverb effects on top of it doesn't help very often, it just make it messy. Tonights room fits pretty well with the music so I don't have to struggle too much.
Collectively we are starting the physical and psychological wind down that is common at the end of a tour. Real life is getting closer and closer with tomorrow being the final show. Things have pretty much been running on autopilot for this last stretch, though it never has felt like groundhog day at any point which is both a rare and welcome state of affairs. At the end of a great tour I end up in a state of limbo. Glad that it’s over and wishing it was carrying on all at the same time.
I like to have a weeks rest to readjust to normality and give my ears a rest. Unless i decide to get back in the studio I probably won’t listen to any music for a while. I saw a meme on Facebook recently that said:
“You can’t overdose on music”
I’m not sure I agree with that!