Monitors For DRAKE this Summer?

Friday I got a text message from Todd at MSI asking me if I was interested in possibly Doing Stage Monitors for DRAKE for his Summer U.S. Tour……..Of course I fired off my Resume as fast as I could………Here is keeping my fingers crossed anyway…….and even if I do not get the Position, it sure was nice to be Nominated and have Todd and MSI think of me……..I am of course more than ready to hit the road again this Summer with someone……..and of Course today I got my copy of Live Design Magazine in the mail and low and behold…..who is on the cover?…..DRAKE……….Will it be the DRAKE and BLAKE Show this summer?………

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Doing the hurry up and wait…..

It’s Wednesday, and I am back in Houston after spending most of last week in Austin, TX at the TAF&E convention doing monitors for all the showcase acts (10 acts to be exact) on a 24 channel Presonus Studiolive digital console with my iPad….I must say it worked really well….. Ate some great food while I was there too….but today I find myself sitting presently on a cold cement bench outside of the Houston, TX House of Blues with my iPhone where I am doing the hurry up and wait for the load-in with SKYROCKET…. We are here on the main stage tonight for a private party and then back here Friday and Saturday as well…..I arrived early with the hopes of getting my hands on the Soundcraft Vi6 digital console at FOH a little early….but alas I am the first one here……….guess I will just have to chill until the scheduled 3PM load-in…..

ABBEY ROAD ON THE RIVER……MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND…..

I have several local shows over the next two weeks that I really have very few details about as of this moment…..two days in Stafford, TX this weekend and then back here in Houston next weekend……but for the last week of May and over the Memorial Day Weekend, I will be in Louisville, KY for nearly 10 days for the ABBEY ROAD ON THE RIVER Festival which is celebrating their 10th year anniversary as the World’s largest Beatles band festival…….Beatles Tribute acts from all over the world will be appearing for 7 days straight and I will be there working for LP Productions doing audio on several of the stages mixing FOH and Monitors throughout the week long event….

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SXSW 2011 DAY ONE

Sunday of course we got all loaded in and set up and then I was off to the hotel to sleep for the first time in nearly 36 hours…..
Crashed hard……

Got up Monday morning and went to the band and took care of a few personal matters to start the morning…….by noon I was at Latitude 30 (the venue) to check on all the Avid/Digidesign guys only to discover that they had already gotten all the Backline on the stage and had already put the mics on everything……

So I wondered down to the corner of 6th street and Congress Avenue, and discovered that Apple had opened a temporary pop-up store front for this week only especially for SXSW…….But there was something strange about this store as i looked into the windows……….all the product on display was iPad2’s…..no MacBook…..no iPhones, …..just iPad2’s……there was no one inside so I walked up to the door and a security guy came out and said “they don’t open until 12 noon”…….. Now knowing that the new iPad2’s had entirely sold out nationwide last Friday, I asked anyway, any iPad’s?……..and i got a surprising reply…..”yep…..SXSW is the place to be……this will be then only store in the country that will have them this week”….. So I looked around, and there was no line…..I guess no one knew apple was opening this store as they had kept it wrapped up the day prior where you could not see in…..so I asked…….”what, no line?”……and the reply I got back is, “I guess you will have to start one”…..SO I DID…….mind you the time right then was 10:22 AM…….so I stood there for 90 minutes and was first in line and at 12 noon the line behind me after serving as the appointed information booth was nearly 3 blocks long…….but low and behold, right at 12 noon I was the first person in the door and the first person out the door with a brand new iPad 2……AMAZING…….my luck is NEVER that good……
So I returned to the Hotel and fired it up…….

By 4PM I was back at the venue……opening night was mostly a British DJ spinning tunes and a Meet and Greet social gathering for all the British music people having cocktails…….it when late into the night though right up to 2AM…….6th street was a zoo…….tons of people……live music everywhere….spent most of my evening entertaining Robb Allan and Chant Peck for Avid/Digidesign………..the guys were very happy with the Turbosound rig and it sounded great……everything worked and came off without a hitch or any issues at all……I will be meeting them down there today (Tuesday) for today’s soundcheck at 3PM…….I also talked to a guy named Mitch Marcum that has a company called DRM EARZ…..(custom fitted IEM’s and earplugs)…..says he is very reasonable on his prices…

So day one of SXSW is in the books…….I am getting an early start today and headed down to the convention center and going to weezle my way into the trade show floor where the gear manufacturers are and see what’s going on before tonight’s festivities…….Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark is performing across the street from the venue where we have the gear at, so I am also going to check that out…….

Sent from my iPad2….

Blake Norris<

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Sabwafare is everywhere…….

Yeah, I know is been a while since I have written, but, even with this down economy and slow year for the industry, I have managed to stay pretty busy as of late (thank god)…..!!

When I last wrote, I was about to leave town for a few days to do some Stage Management and Monitors for the Incredibly talented Vanessa Williams……Friday, September 25th we were at the Star of the Desert Arena in Primm, NV and the following night, Saturday, September 26th, we were at The Greek Theatre in Griffith Park in Los Angeles……both shows went down without a hitch even though we were pressed for time due to a late set up in Primm and it being festival day with Kenny G and others in Los Angeles. Vanessa’s band is nothing short of amazing and of course Vanessa’s voice speaks for itself…….Working with Vanessa and her band and crew is nothing short of the best……Oh and my hotel room in Burbank That Saturday night was the definition of “living large”…….it could have been an episode of “Cribs”……..

On Sunday, September 27th, I returned home from L.A. via Southwest Airlines, then slept for a few hours and then went to the Mandalay Bay Events Center Arena for show #82 and the Final show of the U.S. Leg of “The Circus featuring Britney Spears”…….After the show we loaded it out for 3 1/2 hours and put most of it in Conex Containers to be shipped to Australia for the start of the tour dates down under………during the encore of the show, one-third of the circular video wall took a dump (first picture below) and I have also included a picture of Britney Singing Live on stage that I took at Front of House (second picture below)…….if you are a bit confused about the second picture………well…….just think about it a bit……you will catch on…….Oh, and also….the Meyer Milo Rig sounded like ass………

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Then after a few days off, on late Thursday night/Friday morning, October 2nd, I went down to the Hollywood Theatre at The MGM Grand here in Vegas at 1:30 AM to pick up all the Backline Gear from the week long run of Liza Minnelli for PRG (Production Resource Group). I arrived as I was told at 1:30 AM only to find out Liza was going long and it was only Intermission………Once Liza stopped playing just shy of 3AM, I packed up all the backline and loaded it out into the truck and went home…….slept for a few hours and then went to the airport and boarded a Continental Airlines flight to Houston, Texas……..

Monday, October 5th, I found myself back in Houston, and had Lunch with Kevin Rebtoy (one of the guys that got me started in the industry back in Houston, along with Famed Owner and long time Texas Talent Buyer Don Gomez, from the legendary Houston, Texas Showcase Theatre, Rockefeller’s Nightclub (picture below)……

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Don Gomez is one of my mentors, as during my days working at Rockefellers for many years, this man taught me most of everything I know about how the Music Industry Works and should work…….Many Thank’s Don……..It was Great to see you and find you doing well…….not much happens on a daily basis when working, when I do not think of you and all you taught me…….

Also Greg Pitzer joined us for the lunch….Greg was the Manager of Twenty Mondays (Spindletop Records), a great 90’s band out of Houston I used to mix FOH for back in those days (picture below from the 90’s)……We all ate good at the Famous Hickory Hollow BBQ place across the street from Rockefeller’s and reminisced about all the great times back in Houston…….Then later that night I went to the 20 year Twenty Mondays reunion show in North Houston and mixed the show……Originally they were called “Inside Out” when they formed in 1989 and that was the line up that performed at the reunion show……….these days they are all married with kids and different careers…….BUT…….after all these years gone by, the guys still played great and sounded great and put on a great show……..it was like they never stopped performing……amazing……

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Then Tuesday, and Wednesday, October 6th and 7th, I spent the day at my Folks house in Coldspring, TX (population 364) and relaxing and eating good food before bording another flight home to Vegas the following day out of Houston……….and of course, while I was relaxing in Texas, the phone rang from PRG (Production Resource Group), and I was offered a 7 day gig for big money that I had to turn down because it started that night and I was of course still in Texas………SIGH………..and of course as I was trying to get back home to Vegas, there was a security breach at The Houston Airport, so my flight left an hour late after they shut down the airport gates for about an hour……..Ho hum……below are pictures of the Killer backyard at my folks place in Texas……….on a side note……..the very large, Texas Mosquito’s, ate me alive……..

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Once home, in Vegas, I spet again for a day and the found myself at The Suncoast Showroom here in Vegas at The Suncoast Casino doing monitors on a Yamaha PM5D for Saturday and Sunday, October 10th and 11th for the Oldies Group “The Four Preps” (see the link below)……….they were very nice and easy to work with and the shows went down well until the second night when their multi tracks on the Mac Computer with the bass and strings on it, crashes for the middle part of the show………they ad lib’ed and did some acapella number and got through it……….

THE FOUR PREPS

So far this week (Wednesday and Thursday, October 14th and 15th) I did the load in and set up at The Mandalay Bay Events Center Arena for Justin Timberlake & Friends (50 Cent, Alicia Keys, TLC, and others)……..Justin is putting the show on as a benefit for the Shriner’s Childern’s Hospitals (pictures below)……..Clair Brothers, in addition to their line array that got flown for this gig, also draged out some old Clair Brothers S4 Cabinets for this one……its been nearly 20 years since I have seen (or used) those cabinets……..man on man those cabinets weigh………

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And with all that………I think gets us all current……….This weekend I am in Vegas doing more monitors on a PM5D for some local Vegas no name shlock act………sigh…….BUT, next week…….U2………..The rig is completely massive and the load in and set up starts tomorrow at Sam Boyd Stadium here in Vegas and will continue for 5 days until the show next Friday the 23rd of October and then the load out will take 3 days I understand………should be some work indeed…….

More soon everyone……….BLAKE