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Excess Baggage Tour Diary Day 3

Today is going to be a good day. It is every time we come to Ripon. Our hosts as well as the promotion team for the evening are Nick and Jen Thompson. The Kirkpatrick and Thompson clans have been firm friends forever and I have also got to know them very well over the years of working with Benji on the Faustus and Bendrix shows. It’s pretty much like catching up with family and there just happens to be a gig at the same time.

Nick has a talent for promoting too. He understands whats required to get bums on seats and we have never had a bad turn out for a gig here. The locals also LOVE their music and tonight they are definitely up for a good time. In the past we have been at the Golden Lion pub a few doors up the hill. Today is our first gig in the Ripon Amateur Operatic Society. Nick has moved his gigs here as the room is better suited to putting on shows, it sounds nicer than the other room and has a more practical stage setup to perform a show. The venue also seems to be a bit of a work in progress and Jill the venue manager and her husband are keenly working on improvements to the building when I return the morning after the show to collect some equipment. Jill is a professional stage manager and is obviously well versed in the aspects of running a performance so I’m sure this place is going to get even better by the time we return.

We are supplying all of the sound equipment for the show apart from a pair of subs which have been supplied by a local guy Mitch. I’ve have met Mitch couple of times on previous gigs and he has ended up doing me a massive favour. He’s bought exactly the right subs that match with the system we are touring. The QSC speakers I use are 50% of the monitor system that were owned by Bellowhead. When everything was divvied up after they split Faustus and I took on the bulk of the speakers to tour with. Bellowhead didn’t need the matching sub speakers so I’ve never heard what the full system is like. Mitch heard the QSC tops at a Faustus show the last time we played Ripon and I have a sneaking suspicion he might have bought a system because of how good that gig sounded. Now I finally get to play with something new that I am genuinely considering purchasing in the future.


The new toys are great and the room is very forgiving sonically making it quite easy to mix in. It’s well carpeted and the only minor issue is that the ceiling is relatively low but it doesn’t cause any noticeable issues. The kick drum sounds big and punchy and the bass notes are clear, tight and well defined and I’m pretty sure I frightened everyone in soundcheck hammering the volume to hear how they stand up to a lot of punishment. As with the tops that I have been using for years they take the abuse easily and still remain clean and clear at a volume well above what is acceptable for a venue of this size. Unfortunately this means they are now on the shopping list that always seems to get longer with more increasingly expensive items rather than decreasing.

This is the best gig of the tour by far too. The crowd are really enthusiastic from the first note to the last and they are well aware of the level of talent that is in front of them. This is no ordinary band playing an ordinary gig. It’s 3 musicians at the top of their game showing how it should be done. I can best sum it up from a comment given at the end of the night

“That is a masterclass in every respect”

It goes some way to explain what we have all witnessed and luckily for me something I get to play an integral part in.

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