The Rest Of It

Here's the rest of the tour diary which I didn't get to update from the road.

Day Four: 13 September 2008

The drive to St. Clair was the shortest we had to travel in the tour. I think is was just around twenty minutes.
We grabbed something to eat first when we got into town. The show was at the St. Clair Recreational Centre and when we first walked into the venue, the organiser of the show and the sound guy was there already, setting up bits and pieces of the PA. It looked decent at first glance but looks can be deceiving. What started off as an okay sized PA soon looked like it was going to be a disaster.

Addressing the issues:
1. The FOH mixing desk was set up right next to the stage, behind the right speaker stacks. It'll be a fair location to set up the monitor desk but not FOH. It was a terrible location to mix from.

2. The guy used 2 standard foldback wedges as drum fills and had one foldback wedge on each side of the stage. Apparently bands tend to destroy them if they are set up "on" the stage. But wait, this is not the best part. The signal flow was even more interesting. The desk had 2 aux sends, which meant I could have 2 seperate mixes for the wedges. But no, the flow went like this.

Mic In (Channel) --> Panned hard right --> Right Master ---> Another tiny mixer --> mixer spits out L-R out.

So effectively, I only had one monitor send. Ridiculous. The classic case of not knowing your gear and pretty much not know anything about signal flows. What a joke!

3. Dodgy leads. Some of them don't work.

4. Dodgy mic stands. They were all taped up and not adjustable. Mitch's mic was moving when he was singing.

5. Dodgy mixing desk. The buttons can come flying out when you hit the solos! It was a tiny desk too. I wouldn't even really consider it a desk. Sheesh.

6. Phantom power doesn't work on the desk. In this day and age, how can NOT have phantom power? I was unable to run my 901 for the kick because of this.

7. Limited DI boxes. The in-house guy only had one and he doesn't even have a battery. He was supposed to mix all the bands. Right. How are you supposed to do that when The Red Shore needs TWO DIs? Being prepared, I had 2 batteries, 1 for the guy's DI and 1 for my DI, which I used for The Red Shore's triggers and sampler.

8. No graphic EQ. The least you could have is a simple graphic EQ. I wouldn't even mind if it's a Behringer. There was so many feedback issues when the other guy was mixing. I was riding faders and used the EQ's to get ride of feedback. I had no issues with feedback.

9. Dodgy in-house sound guy.

When I spoke to the
in-house sound guy when we first arrived, he asked me to help him run leads. I was like, "excuse me, but I'm here to mix The Bright Star Alliance and The Red Shore. Full stop."

I would have helped out if he was a nice guy because when I work, I always help out anyway although it wasn't part of my job scope. But since this guy was a douchebag, I left it as it was.

When it came time for TBSA to go on, the guy was reluctant to let me mix. I went to set up the boys anyway and forced my way in to mix because these boys paid me to be their tour mixing engineer. I can't let them down. This was what the douchebag said to me, "okay, I will let you mix these guys, but I'm mixing The Red Shore". He talks like he's a hero. Despite all the lack, I managed to pull a good mix for TBSA. I only wished that Mitch didn't have to put up with crap mics and that we all didn't have to put up with these kinda crap.

I had a chat with The Red Shore boys telling them I won't be mixing them because apparently the guy is mixing them. They said that there's no way that guy would be mixing TRS and they really wanted me to mix so they went to sort it out with the guy. In the end, I mixed TRS as planned.

The idiot wasn't even running any guitar cab mics so I used the ones set up for vocals on the cabs. Ran my DI and guess what, when there was no signal coming through one of the guitar mics, I asked for a new mic lead and he was grumbling and gave me a short lead which won't reach the mixing desk and he took forever to get me another one. He even had the nerve to say that I don't know what I was doing. Thinking real quick, I put my wireless on the cab and ran it into the desk immediately. TRS rocked St. Clair and the sound was good, despite these MANY problems.

Overall, the sound was still great. Not to be arrogant or anything, but people came up to me saying that my mixes was way better than the in-house guy's. TBSA and TRS loved it. I won't let the shitty feelings of someone breathing down my neck get to me because if the bands and the crowd are happy, then I'm happy.

Day Five: 14 September 2008

We left the mansion on Sunday morning and drove towards Wyong. Thanks heaps to the boys from TIMEHASCOME for putting us up in their awesome party mansion. It was good times boys! Gary, the bassist had a new haircut when we woke up in the morning. Haha.

The venue in Wyong was actually quite nice. It was a small sized band room but the entire venue had heaps of stuff. The bar staff were very friendly, the food was awesome and they even had free pool. There were a few pokies machines like a little casino in the back room, a courtyard and a backyard. It was a cool venue.

I scoped out the band room and again, it looked okay but nothing to shout about. Inspecting everything up close, there were issues that didn't sit good with me.

Addressing the issues:
1. Dodgy mic stands. Very limited adjustment.

2. Dodgy foldbacks. Only two in front of the stage. There wasn't any drum foldbacks.

3. None of the bands had a bass cab for this show. Which blows because Nikki had to use a combo and I took a DI signal to mix.

There wasn't so much technical issues because I could still work with the limitations but what I couldn't stand was the in-house sound girl. Again, breathing down my neck, not allowing me to do things the way I do.

If there are groups on the mixing desk, I will group all my drums on 2 groups and if there are enough compressors, I will run parallel compression. But since there wasn't enough, I didn't bother. However, in a case like this, I would still run my kick drum to one of the groups and also to the stereo mix for that extra punch but the chick won't let me do that.

She said, "you could either just send it through the groups or just to the stereo mix". <--Haha.

Why can't you do two?, I asked.

She said, "I won't make any difference anyway if you do". <--Haha! Really? It won't make a difference, oh, I must have been so misled all this while! Haha.

Then I showed her the difference and she couldn't even hear it! She would be the most deaf sound person ever! I won't even call her a sound engineer. She must be stuck in the 80s or something doing things the good old fashion way. I wouldn't even be blogging these things if the two sound people were nice. I would have loved to help.

Oh well, it's all good. Not only do I get to develop as an audio engineer, but I'm developing my skills to handle douchebags along the way. All good. Well, the sound was still good despite these mess ups. Thanks to Shamis for the kind words! Like I said, as long as the bands are happy, I'm happy.

After the gig, we had dinner. I had the same thing as I had for lunch. Pictures in a bit. Then we embarked on our long drive home to Melbourne. I took the third driving shift. It was nice just cruising down the freeways. Note: the freeways that I've seen so far here in Australia aren't as big as Malaysia. It's more like the two lane highways going to Terengganu. The signs were well placed though and everything was easy to read although this is my first interstate drive. It didn't hit me until later too, that all the signs and instructions were in English! haha.

I got home at about 6am Monday morning. I notice that the weather in Melbourne has gone cold again. The weekend in NSW was hot. I was just in jeans and t shirt without a jumper. ______________________________________________________

Broken Scar's album, Midnight In St. Kilda is available on

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    Loves Jesus. Singer. Guitarist. Songwriter. Audio Engineer. Producer. Wears band t-shirts. Wears red t-shirts. Based in Melbourne.



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