Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Jammy Smears

A few days have passed, so it must be time to reflect on the Hampshire Jam.

It was an uncessarily early start, as I woke up around 5 am with my head full of music. Got up and made use of the time listing the patches for each section of the set. Broke the rig down from the studio and prepared to load the car. The incessant drizzle chose that moment to turn into a downpour that only stopped moments after we'd recluctantly loaded up. Nothing ended up with water pouring out of it anyway.

Liphook isn't much more than an hours drive away, so we were soon at the millenium hall. The other acts were there but had only just started setting stuff up. I waited for Redshift and F&S to do what they wanted then quickly assembled my little rig. The soundcheck was quick too, just a quick blast of a couple of sections that I thought would cover the extremes of the sound palette. A quick walk round the hall and it sounded great. Job done. With hindsight it might have been better to have prepared some prerecorded played parts so I could check the lead sounds too.

Some hours later, and it is starting. I have used the gap to write a stack of sticky notes to remind me what I need to do during each bridge, and the keys for the parts that follow. The last action before going and hiding backstage is to check that all of the initial patches are right and to set the faders in the right place for the start.

Steve does the intro, and I'm on. Amazingly I've felt relaxed all the way through; the nerves just never came. Start up the Live set and the intro swells in. I hit the keyboard and the wrong bloody sound comes out. Fortunately it worked and I was able to go with it (not at all what I had planned though - the sounds on Bohunt Sabotage are what it should have been). When I had a moment to check, I found the wrong patches on a couple of the instruments. I have no idea how that could have happened.

I managed to fit in a few more mistakes, but the set is flexible enough for none of them to have had a serious effect. For instance, the first sequence had two distinct sections, playing sweeping chords then moving onto the lead-line. I totally forgot the first and went straight into solo mode. The most annoying was forgetting to start my recorder. This might have meant not having a complete recording (Tony and John on the desk fixed that) but worse, that was meant to be my set timer. I had to guess how long I'd been on, so in the end I played a bit longer than planned. Better than rushing through it in 30 minutes and then having nothing left to play I guess.

But despite these attempts to wreck it, everything seemed to go very smoothly. Not too many keyboard accidents, and the leads seemed to flow nicely. I couldn't see the audience well through the lights but I could make out some tapping of feet and nodding of heads. I made it to the final fade, and (phew) was rewarded by a big wall of applause.

Given I had been on a while, I kept the encore short. It was a bit rougher, but that was kind of the idea. It was well recieved too. Finally off and backstage for a beer.

More on the rest of HJ later.


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