The RAMONE gig notes from the Foundry 12/29/17

Most of my gigs have been last minute additions and/or short notice
This gig at the Foundry was booked months in advance and I had booked Bullet Machine as a headliner
Bullet machine backed out couple of weeks before the show because their drummer needed surgery
The Foundry is not a punk club and they didn’t want a really rowdy crowd, which made it hard for me to find a band
I finally decided that I would play both sets myself, which meant that I was going to have to quickly edit some of the new tracks I was working on
My current setlist has about 18 good tracks which makes for a 35 to 40 minute set
19 new songs made it onto the Roland P-10 video sampler for this gig

This was going to take some serious cramming
I had just finished the bass parts and my plan was to go back and EQ the individual drum tracks and bass parts as well as keep a consistent volume
This was going to have to be put on hold in favor of the original technique which was creating a mono drum and bass track each with panned all the way left/right
This is where I ran into inconsistencies
One of the dangers of this kind of editing is that it is easy to get lost in the process and lose your place
My first finished videos were all over the place in volume and balance
I was getting mixed up about what kinds of adjustments I had made to what over the course of learning how to edit these new tracks
This reminded me of a lesson I learned last time
“It is easier to delete all but the source material and start over than it is to try to figure out how to retrace your steps to undo your mistakes”
Once I stopped trying to fix the things I fixed, it was easier to edit the tracks
I was editing levels all the way up to the night before the gig and I still wasn’t happy with the way they sounded
I think I even had to re-edit some green screen settings but it is all a blur
Luckily, the subtitles of lyrics on the screen went quickly
It’s lucky that Ramones lyrics are so repetitive because I saved a lot of time by cutting and pasting
There was no time to record new “One Two Three Four!” intros so I just recycled old ones
I also bought a new video screen but will be talking about that in the next section

I provided the PA and got there super early so that all the kinks could be worked out
This includes the new rear projection video screen with PVC frame that I built

The screen went up surprisingly easy
There was a tad bit of confusion but setup will go even faster once I color code the PVC joints and pipes
The rear screen projection worked well under the stage lights and I have plans for some kind of “blackout” tarp I can connect from the top of the rear of the screen to keep lights from weakening the projection
Now to the performance aspect

Lots of lessons to be learned:
2 days before New Years Eve is not a good time to book a gig and I’m certain that’s why the date was so easy to secure
I did not draw one person
No one was there to see The Ramone, so I was playing for people who just happened to be there
To complicate things more, a group of people with children and an older lady started to sit at the picnic tables close to the stage
I told them what was about to happen and they said it was OK
This was a chance for me to test my performance at a lower volume
The older lady put a finger in her ear as she talked to someone so I turned it down a few notches
She put her hand back down and I noticed it again later in the set
I was observing their behavior and noticed they seemed to be conversing without having to shout
It was cool to watch them realize what they were watching
There were a couple of teenagers and some little kids
The smaller kids started to jump around and dance (the teenagers were too cool to dance) and yelling indistinctly at the ceiling with their arms open
I’ve never seen that from a stage before and it was really cool
It is rare that I laugh during a show but these kids were too cute with their non-self-conscious behavior
I wish I had video cameras that night but I just didn’t wanna deal with that extra distraction
Then they started to run laps around the picnic tables
The girl with the cat ears even got accidentally busted in the nose and I said “Our first pit injury”
No one knew what I was talking about
She was back to running laps one song and a couple of Mommy kisses later

I was not worried about playing from 8 to 10pm by myself because I had busked on the street twice as long as that on many occasions but I did take a 10 minute break
I got a lot of positive feedback from the moms and the older lady said she noticed I was trying to keep the volume down
They even laughed when I said I tried not to play the songs that were about heroin and one mom said “The little ones won’t know and the older ones already know about that stuff”
So Played 53rd & 3rd in the 2nd set
The kids came up to me and asked me if I could play some more and I told them I was just taking a quick break
No one pointed out the numerous mistakes I made because I was just background to them
This took a huge amount of pressure off me when I played the new additions to the set because I knew they didn’t know, much less care

This gig was positive on so many levels
1- I got paid (the most important part of the night)
2- I got a chance to react and adjust to an audience in a low volume situation
3- I was able to keep my ego in check and not get butthurt that I wasn’t the center of attention nor did I get my feelings hurt (too much) that I couldn’t draw a crowd that night
This is an example of some of the gigs I am going to encounter out on the road
Not every gig is going to be full of glory and attention
And the perverse thing about it is that the gigs that pay the most can often crush your ego

This was a very positive way to end the year
Good or bad, all of the aforementioned factors are giving me energy to try to take The Ramone out on the road in 2018

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