Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Machines are Revolting

So penultimate weekend of the kid's show I'm doing. At a new theater a fair drive away. So as I set out I start to punch in the address on the smart phone keypad. A restart fixed that, but fixing it distracted me enough to get me off schedule. I get to the theater at last and no open doors. Apparently one (ONE) of the people inside tried to call (instead of, say, having a door open, answering the bell, or even giving instructions on how to get in or a contact number.)

However, all the company phones have been having a huge problem with spam messages. We've stopped answering any call that comes from out of state. Guess how the anonymous, unknown number that tried to call me ID'd? Out of state.

When I'm finally let in, there only available FOH position is taken up by their own board. And it is a deep house; possibly too deep for our wireless mics in this modern age of increasing interference. So snap decision; leave the receivers backstage, plug into the stage snake and use their board to mix it.

A Yamaha M7CL. Which I knew only by theory and looking over the shoulder of another operator. And I hadn't used a Yamaha digital board since leaving the Playhouse. And the van with our gear was late, the house tech was friendly but not terribly motivated, and there appeared to be some RF issues, and the cast didn't even get into mics until well after we'd opened the house anyhow (they were too busy adjusting the choreography to a new and much larger stage).

So I mixed the show cold. Without even the benefit of monitoring over headphone to see if I had signal. I had nothing but eyes and guesswork -- years of experience in watching signal hit the bridge of a good board from wireless mics sitting on actors as they talked and slapped on makeup and quietly warmed up back stage -- to rough in the levels. And only verbal guidance as to where that would actually fall in the loudness range over the actual speakers.

And it was a lot better than I had expected. But just a wee bit tiring. Especially the opening number. I was well and truly worn out by the time the show was over. Time for a little take-out Chinese, some Anderson Valley Amber, and update my blog before much-needed bed.

Hrm. Actually, it's a Dogfish Head Indian Brown this time. Pity none of their "Ancient Ale" series of historical recreations appeared to be in stock at my local. Now that I know they are brewing them again I'll have to make some calls...

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