Sunday, 13 July 2008

The Wicks and Sunset Cinema Tour July

So this weekend I did sound in Dunedin, Queenstown, and Christchurch for The Wicks, Sunset Cinema, Bang! Bang! Eche! and Oh My Golly! It was rather timely as I needed to get to Christchuch anyway to give the British Consulate my “biometric” information (fingerprints and photo) for my working holiday visa for the UK. More on that another time, but yes I'm moving away on the 16th of October to London.

I originally was just going to mix my mates band Sunset Cinema (Matt Brook, DJ Champion, Samdrub Dawa, Lee Nicholson, and Will Jensen) in return for free travel, but it turned out that the Wicks hadn't organised anyone to do sound for them so I ended up getting paid to do the whole lot. Brilliant.

But yea the first show was at The Backstage, which featured a reasonable turnout for a Wednesday night (competing with The Taliband at pint night at Refuel). It was advertised as having half-priced drinks but it appeared no-one in the staff working that night knew about it so naturally people (on both sides of the bar) were disgruntled (I hear however that from now on it will always be half-priced drinks on Wednesdays there). Anyway it was On My Golly!'s first ever show, and they received encouraging support from the audience. Good on 'em. However from a soundperson's point of view I really don't like the whole laptop/midi keyboard thing unless it's done properly (Oh My Golly! and Sunset Cinema were both guilty of this). The factory sound output of a laptop is terrible – buzzing, instability, etc etc. Oh yea and it takes Adam from Oh My Golly!'s laptop about 10 minutes to boot up.

The next day we boosted to Queenstown and setup at The Dux. The Dux is a pretty sweet place to play. They provide you with a reasonable guarantee, a good small vocal PA, and a meal and a few beers. Often crowds can be pretty disinterested and sparse, but hey that's what rural gigs are like. One thing to look out for is while Caleb Finn is enthusiastic and genuine, he can be prone to double booking bands, so when booking there you have to make sure stuff is all confirmed through emails to be safe.

Anyways the gig went well, the PA worked fine, and afterwards Matt and I stayed at DJ's parents place, which features an awesome outdoor spa. Needless so say we enjoyed a (NOT GAY) naked spa at 1:00am. Perfect.


Sunset Cinema performing at the Dux

The next day me and Matt got up really early (7:30am) and started the drive to Christchurch. It's a pretty freakin' long drive (6-7 hours), and we had to be in the square at 3:20pm to make our appointments at the British Consolute. The drive was reasonably pleasant – I spent most of the time on my computer doing my freakin' tax return. Anyways we arrived safely, did the visa stuff, and then met up with The Wicks at The Dux in Christchurch for soundcheck.

The Dux in Christchurch is a sweet venue for small bands. You get a good guarantee (which is a rarity in main centres), and a small rider. Anyways we hurriedly soundchecked (the Dux is in a residential zone, and therefore has very strict times when bands can soundcheck and play). The system sounded fine on first listen, a few channels weren't working, though this is normal for NZ club systems so I wasn't too worried.

When it came to the gig I realised why engineers that do sound for my bands when we play through here complain about the system... Once there are a few people in the room, and the band is charging, it starts sounding pretty boxy, and is underpowered. The venue has the main PA settings locked so you can't fiddle with it (which is probably good for the overall safety of the system in the hands of inexperienced operators).

Otherwise the gig went reasonably smoothly, with all the bands putting on energetic shows, and the mid-sized crowd being enthusiastic. After the Sunset Cinema guys and myself said our goodbyes to The Wicks, then did the usual supermarket beer mission and faffed around at Will's girlfriend's (Helen) parent's place. Awesome.

So all in all a relaxed, reasonably well organised tour. Cheers to all the guys from The Wicks and Sunset Cinema for having me along. I'll post some pics up once I get my (parents) camera out of DJ's car.

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