The first time I ever played a gig was during a festival in a large auditorium. Up to then, the only place the band had played was in my Dad’s basement.
When we got on stage everything sounded weird. My vocals felt like they were coming from another room. The drums were loud. My guitar sounded very small. Needless to say, the experience was deflating. It didn’t sound the way it did in my Dad’s basement.
What I didn’t realize was that things can sound very different, depending on the environment in which they occur.
What the audience hears and what the band hears is often very different. A sound person has to provide two different mixes, one for the audience and one for the band. For bigger acts, there might even be a whole different person dedicated to just mixing the band’s sound on stage.
Recently I played a gig where the sound on stage was really difficult. There was no time to do a proper soundcheck. The guitar was too loud. The vocals were too quiet. A friend of mine shot a video and to my surprise, it wasn’t bad from the audience’s perspective. Despite the conditions we were able to pull off a decent show thanks to all the practice we had done.
Since I can’t afford to bring my own monitor mixer to ever gig, I’ve learned the value of practice. Luckily, for this show we were able to fall back on it and at least create a decent experience for the audience.
Practice is term we use to describe the process of mindfulness. With meditation, it’s kind of the same idea as playing a live show. By taking time out of our day and focusing on the breath (just allowing thoughts to come and go) we give ourselves the skills we need, in life, to fall back on when we are confronted with unfamiliar, less than ideal conditions.
Below is a playlist of songs that have resonated with me in the past month. I hope they bring more joy to your life. Thanks for listening, MMM
Included are songs by: Dj Shadow, Beak, Phoebe Bridgers, Bummer, Violent Femmes, Lael Neale, The Rugged Nuggets, The White Stripes, Flying Lotus, Oxford Remedy, Directions, The Beatles, Spiritualized
(Subscribe to get a new playlist every 1st Monday of the month. Click on my user link or search: Major Matt’s 1st Monday on Spotify to cruise past playlists and discover more music.)