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2Nd Street Post-Mortem...


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I think we were good (mostly) at the 2nd Street Market. (The only person who screwed up was me, on “Queenie” the fiddle tune and on “Manzanita Moon.”) Problems with the sound, though. If you got it loud enough so people could hear us, it distorted. The building itself has pretty good acoustics, though, with those brick walls.

Jim from the music store said it’s our PA not being powerful enough; it is only 40 watts, but I wonder. The Dodson Drifters had the late-‘70s model of that same PA (it was only 30 watts then), and it was the basic engine of our battery-powered PA system, powering two gigantic speakers—and we used it for outdoor concerts. I don’t think we ever had a “not powerful enough” problem (or a distortion one).

Could the speakers be the problem? We were using some home-stereo speakers—twice the size of the ones we had in Ilwaco, but still not designed for a room as big as we were playing. There is almost no way to tell whether the speakers are the problem except by hooking up a decent set of speakers. (I might be able to do that at the Arts Center next week—I think they may have a set I could test with.)

How we have the mixer hooked up is another possibility. We have the mixer run through the “CD player” jacks on the back of the PA, and that’s not how I recall the Dodson Drifters doing it. The Dodson Drifters had two 4-channel mixers (battery-powered), and I believe they were run through the microphone inputs—splitting each channel into four, in other words. Should we be running the 6-channel mixer the same way? I don’t know—but the techie guy who owns the Radio Shack store might. While I’m feeling flush, I should go see him. (Before I do that, however, I’ll do some testing myself. That old Japanese mixer will take a special cable, but I might have one that would work for testing.)

Flush? Yes, the bands got paid for performing at the Wheeler Summerfest. Not a lot, but it is the first money I’ve made off music this year. We got tips at the 2nd Street Market, too, from (I believe) seven different people.

And an offer (of sorts), this morning. The square dance club is thinking about putting on a dance with live music—something almost never done any more—and asked if we could do it. (That’s 45 Degrees North. They really want the fiddle player. She’s good, I was told. Yes, she is.) Actually, I think we could do it pretty easily. We would want to do mostly “singing calls,” where the caller is calling out the moves in time with popular (or once-popular) songs, occasionally throwing in snippets of the lyrics. What makes it easy is the caller already has that music in recorded form, on either computer or CD, in “karaoke” format (no vocals) but in a key he or she can sing in—and if I can get that, I can make copies for the band, and we have something to practice to in our spare time.

The club is talking about three dances over a weekend—Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday night. I’m assuming with that kind of schedule, the band is getting paid—not a lot, because the square dance club can’t afford a lot, but something. Like the Good Book says, “The laborer is worth his hire.” It could be quite a draw: square dance clubs and callers went to recorded music decades ago because of the expense of hiring live bands, but the novelty of a live band is likely to bring in a lot of people, because it’s just not done any more. Wouldn’t happen until next summer—which gives us plenty of time to practice.

That’d make two commitments for NEXT YEAR (Deathgrass has already been enlisted to play at the Garibaldi Museum for the Crab Races next March). Does this mean I know what the future is going to be like? No—only that I have confidence there will be one.

Joe

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