Learning Live Sound Production (part 4)

My first time as monitor engineer

We are at Bunker’s Bar and Grill located in the Warehouse District of Minneapolis. The night is Saturday, September 27th, 2008. I arrive at the usual time (found in Part 1 of this series) to setup for the show. Everything went as described earlier in this series.

The night is cold and so is the beer. The audience is hungry, and even though the kitchen is serving deliciously warm burgers, they want more. They are hungry for an awesome show and we were going to provide just that!

After soundcheck was done, Dave Hill, my live sound production mentor asked me to sit in position as the monitor engineer for the night. I thought, “Am I ready for this? Is he serious?” and in two seconds flat, I gleefully said “Yeah, I’ll do it!” 🙂

The first band, The Jade Murphy Band, began to play. During the first song, a couple members asked to have their monitors volume turned up. The next song had a few more minor adjustments. The rest of the set was clear sailing. Next was the headliner, Summit Ave. The first few songs had some adjustments, and again was clear the rest of the show. Both bands greeted me with big smiles and said I did an excellent job. Needless to say, I was overjoyed.

Here is the post I found on Summit Ave’s blog for this very night.

Blog post for the Bunker's show

Summit Ave's post

My first time a front-of-house engineer

There needs to be a little bit of a back story before I detail my experience. In 2007, my girlfriend at the time and I put together a local art and music gallery in 29 days. Our first showcase was on July 29, 2007. The second show was in August of 2009. I am going to briefly write about the second show as I was the front-of-house engineer for one really great band. More about this gallery as it came to be known as Relentless Gallery, will be detailed later in a blog post (or two).

For both shows we hired Jonathan Waldo to engineer them. Waldo, as he is also known, is in the band The Absent Arch, which played both showcases. At the first show, I was so busy mingling and schmoozing that I barely saw any of the bands play! But the second show was where I first got my taste of being a front-of-house engineer.

Because Waldo is in the band The Absent Arch, and The Arch was playing. Waldo wasn’t able to both play and engineer the band. That’s where I came in. We did a quick soundcheck and then they gave me the green light.

The first song was played and I was hesitant to change anything. During the second song, I made little adjustments. After a few songs the band was warmed up, and I made a few more minor adjustments. Some time during the set, a mutual friend of ours named Will Garrison, came to me and offered a little mix advise. While I was thinking to do exactly what he said prior to him coming up to me, I had let it be. But because I hold Will’s opinion in high regard to music and his close relationship with the band, I made that final adjustment. Everything went great. No feedback issues or unhappy band members. 🙂

This concludes the series on my live sound production beginnings. Thank you Dave Hill for your priceless advice, it will never be forgotten. Thank you Waldo for having faith in me and leaving your band’s live sound in my hands.