Saturday, May 27, 2006

Slab City Slam - Day 1...WTF Do You Mean There's a Band?

I survived my first day at the poetry slam...just barely. We showed up at 3:45pm to discover that the sound mixing board had a) been changed to one that I was completely unfamiliar with and b) was set up behind the stage. Okay. I'll figure it out. First go steal the board I DO know how to work from the ceramics studio, then drag everything out to a table off to the side in the main seating area. Gaffer tape? Anybody? 'Cause they've filled the moat around the stage with water. (Yeah, you heard me...they've got a moat built around the stage that they can fill with water.) Uh, mic cables shouldn't be in water. Must have tape to keep cables out of the moat. Finally a roll of duct tape (hey, any port in a storm) is located. Catastrophe averted. WHEW!!! Until they very casually tell me that Molehill Orchestra has cancelled and the new band they booked is expecting someone to run the sound (read that as ME). I totally flip out. WTF? I came here to run sound and record POETS, dammit. Blank stares and recriminations all around. Finally, I just said "fuck it...I can't promise jack, but I'll do my best."

Run soundcheck for the band at 7:15pm. They're pissy 'cause there are no monitors for them to hear themselves. Try to explain that I wasn't expecting them & Arcosanti doesn't have anything besides the house speakers & the board. Grumpy, but ultimately they accept. They have to get booted off the stage by the emcee 'cause they want me to keep tweaking the sound - more keyboards, no less...vocal too loud, saxophone too quiet. I'm pulling my hair out in big long chunks and biting my tongue to keep from turning into Super Bitch. Then comes the opening performers. First poet up, no problem. Sounds great. Totally monkey around when the second poet comes up, finally get it dialed in. Then they're doing a duet slam. Fuck. How do I keep the voices separated so you can understand what the fuck's being said? Work fast, get it dialed in, breathe again. Then comes a guest poet (freakin' amazing), so it's time to adjust the mic levels again. Oh, and then she asks if there's anyone who can beatbox. A dishwasher from Arcosanti can. Bring him up, set up another freakin' mic super fast, and try to get a decent sound w/o time for a soundcheck. Shit. Fingers fly, ears strain, get the mix nailed and sit back & breathe again. Sounded great. Scared the crap out of me. But it worked. Not "ohmigodthatsoundedAWESOME," but it didn't suck. Then the band's up, spend the first two songs getting it down (BTW there's a background singer that I didn't know about - not at the soundcheck, so pull it out of your ass, my dear). Able to sit back and relax, just the occasional tweak, but dammit I want the band to hurry up and quit playing. They finally wrap it up after 10:30pm.

Start rolling cable in double-time, shift the board backstage and make a break for the car. Race home & in bed just after midnight. 5 1/2 hours of sleep, and I'm out the door to head back to Arcosanti for the big slam day. Wish me luck, people. I feel like disaster was narrowly averted yesterday, and I'm praying for an encore performance today. Poets slamming their shit from 10am until 8pm, followed by a bronze pour of this years trophy and a performance by Flam Chien (awesome fire group from Tucson). More later...if I survive!

*Photo is of emcee Ira Murfin, kicking off the 6th Annual Slab City Slam at Arcosanti on May 26, 2006.


At 4:11 PM, Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

I've never been to a poetry slam... but wow, aren't you getting to do all sorts of cool things lately?! Hope you surive Angie!

At 10:02 AM, Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

I never been to Arcosanti.

At 5:41 AM, Blogger Sparkle said...

WOW! Girls that know how to mix sound are super hot!

*takes a cold shower*


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