Private Party with the Midnight Ramblers

I am writing this in the car on my way home from this one…

I was contacted a month or two ago by a friend of my father to provide lighting for a private event. The band is called Midnight Ramblers, and they were a pleasure to work with. Their setlist was packed with older classics; from Santana to The Who, this was probably the best setlist I’ve ever programmed light shows for. My lighting prep started way later than I would have liked, as I did not get a setlist until about two weeks prior to the event. As such, programming the shows was a little more crammed and I didn’t get to get as intimate with the songs as I prefer. The show, however, did not reflect this. The crowd was very well receptive to the various effects used for different songs, and the band appreciated the connections the lighting made with the songs. Setup was easy in that I was only running lighting, and no PA. Setup was difficult, however, because I was trying to maneuver around the backline which had been setup before I arrived. I have made a mental note to myself to at least try to get the major pieces in place before the backline goes up.

No technical issues arose during the show, other than me forgetting to make sure the VNC server on my fog controller computer was enabled. (I have one computer connected to the fog controller, and remote into it with my new tablet) Another mental note was taken there to verify that all computers are configured as they would be needed for the show before leaving the house. I was able to fix that issue during intermission, and by the time the sun set and the second set started, my fog was pumping, my position palettes were set, and I was ready to go. The second set went off very well, the lights were effective, and the audience was much more responsive than than they were in the first set. (Because the sun had set). All in all, the show was a great success, and gave me a couple of important takeaways.

  • Always verify show computers are configured before arriving at the event
  • Request to get in before the band to get lighting up before backline.

Del Val Dreams For Kids Basketball Game 2018

We were tired after the Friday night Knight’s Challenge, but pushed forward on through the next night.  I met up with Ophelie outside Del Val at around 10 in the morning, and we got started getting equipment into the building.  Once everything was inside, we had the arduous task of untangling the cables from the night before.  This took a while, but we had arrived so early, I really wasn’t worried about anything time wise.  The system was a little more in depth than I normally have, as the acoustics of this space are particularly challenging.  The first step was to setup and tune the Main PA.  This was my standard Yamaha Club V rig  (two S115vs and one CW118v).  It sounded okay when running through the automatic tuning program in the DriveRack PA2, but when it started to turn the volume up to be loud enough for the measurements at the back of the gym, the reverberations started to become overwhelming.  The generated EQ curve of the gym sounded alright once it was applied.  Once the automatic tuning was done, I made a couple of adjustments per my preferences, particularly a pretty decent boost at 75 hertz to get a little bit of the kick drums in songs to carry throughout the gym.

After the Yamaha rig was tuned and ready to go, I turned the volume down quite a bit; to the point where announcements and music were at a comfortable listen level for a sporting event about half way down the bleachers.  Then we setup the delay speakers.  I have a pair of Behringer Eurolive B1520 Pros that were given to me with blown compression drivers.  I was able to repair them by replacing the diaphragms and fuses so I now have a second set of PA, which is very convenient in situations like this.  I had the Behringer speakers setup half way down the court on the sidelines to cover the back half of the gym.  This way I could keep the volume lower than if I had just one set of speakers covering the whole gym and keep the energy on the court as low as possible, to minimize reflections from the gym floor.  I don’t have a second DriveRack, but I do have a Behringer DCX 2496, and I was able to punch in all of the required adjustments I felt were necessary.  I think I came out with a pretty good sounding rig.  I spent about 45 minutes  aiming the four speakers and getting my gains set just so that the coverage across the front and back half of both sets of bleachers was as uniform as possible.  When I was done, the sound was better than I had ever heard in that gym.  A few people even commented on how much better our rig sounded than the gym’s installed PA.

In between setup and the start of the event, there were a couple of people shooting baskets on the far side of the gym, so Ophelie and I had to stay to make sure no rogue balls hit any of our equipment before the show.  We were finished after a couple of hours, and still had a few hours to kill before everything got started.  I forget what time people were allowed in to start getting seated, but we started playing our walk in music when they did, and wee ready as soon as the event was set to start.  There were no major issues other than the audience complaining that the delay speakers were blocking their line of sight.  I eventually caved and had Michael and Ophelie take them off the stands, but was mad that I had put all of that time getting the system to sound perfect and uniform for nothing.  It’s like moving in next to an airport and complaining that the planes make too much noise.  There were plenty of seats that weren’t blocked, but those apparently are less desirable than picking a spot with a bad sight line and then complaining.

Otherwise, the event went well, and we had no major issues.  This was a good cause and I am glad that Mystic Rhythms was a part of it.

Knight’s Challenge 2018

This is going to be the fifth year that Mystic Rhythms has DJ’d Kingwood Township School’s Knight’s Challenge event.  For those of you who are not familiar with the event, it is a series of team based relay events to raise money for the local volunteer rescue squad and fire department and the 8th grade trip to Washington DC.  It’s always an enjoyable night, and rather casual on the DJ end.  If we make a mistake, it’s really not a big deal, making it an excellent warm up gig.  Of course, it it optimal to not have any issues at all, but when there are large gaps in time between gigs, mistakes and other problems are inevitable.

On the day of the event, I picked Ophelie from Del Val after checking in with the status of the jukebox, which had just had the vinyl tubing applied to the lighting channels.  We arrived at Kingwood at 4pm, and started setup.  Michael arrived a bit later and helped to finish the setup.  Everything went smoothly until we realized that I had forgotten to bring speaker stands.  Fortunately, this was the biggest issue we had, and that was easily mitigated by my father bringing them on his way to the event.

Michael and I handed off control of the console throughout the night.  Feedback is a problem at this event, so we are constantly moving the mic fader up and down all night.  There’s only one mic for announcements, so it’s not too bad.  We played music throughout the entire night, and had no issues during the event, which makes it rather dull to read or write about, but that was great for us.  Ophelie picked up some experience with the equipment and workflow for the next day, and I knew my equipment was all in working condition, so all in all, it was a good night, and we were ready for the Saturday gig.


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