Monday, 1 December 2008

The Windmill, Brixton

So I’ve started working part time at a live music venue down in Brixton called The Windmill. It’s awesome. It’s pretty small (capacity would have to be 100-150), run by Irish people, has a reasonable PA (EV acoustics), and appears to be the preferred small south London venue for up-and coming touring bands. Tim, the promoter is really enthusiastic, clued up, and friendly which makes things easy. So far I’ve done sound there 3 times, and 2 nights have been dominated by really awesome American bands. I love doing sound for well-toured bands; they’re really easy to make sound good, are easy going when faced with poor foldback/other technical issues, and generally make good music which is actually enjoyable to listen to.

Smoke or Fire. Notice how the British are actually moshing/dancing/enjoying themselves. Crazy.

Okay so the first night of American bands I did featured a Fat Wreck Chords band called Smoke or Fire, a relatively straight-ahead California-style punk band headlining, and they were supported by a bizarre powerpop/Americana/punk band from Florida called Fake Problems. I wasn’t so much into Smoke or Fire’s music (I definitely would have loved them when I was 16 however), but they really were awesome at what they did, were really friendly, and were really easy to make sound good. Fake Problems however I really did enjoy, though probably mostly because I spent most of the time trying to work out where the hell they were coming from. The guys were all really baby-faced and twee looking, but would flip from playing post-hardcore stuff to country, and back to pop punk. It was pretty weird, but they were really tight, really nice guys, and definitely had enough of an “x-factor” for my liking. Unfortunately the stuff they’ve got posted on their myspace doesn’t really give much of an impression of what they’re actually like live.

My view from the mixing desk: Fake Problems

The next night I had the pleasure of doing sound for a guy called PW Long, the songwriter from ex 90s grunge band MULE. This guy was ridiculous. It was an awesome mix of growly, moody Americana – mixing blues, country, and folk. Though please don’t get the wrong impression, this was not the usual brown vest wearing, airy-fairy cheesy folk artist. This was a guy who’d played in touring “grunge” bands in the early 90’s who’d just gotten angrier. He certainly played his beaten up old strat at levels that would have probably more suited a band situation than solo in a small, and admittedly that night, basically empty venue. However it worked, I got my jollies, got paid, and had an awesome time.

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