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…..

Advertisements

From Gig Hell to Gig Heaven….20 Hours in Texas….

I started my day yesterday at 5AM…..I drove to the south side of Houston and loaded in and set up a system on an outdoor stage in the oppressive Texas Morning Dew and Humidity and proceeded to completely sweat completely through every stitch of clothing I had on…….I am talking about being able to ring out all my clothes soaked in sweat…..it’s a terrible feeling…..and while knowing, that because of the humidity, you simply are NOT going to get dry anytime soon……….then just when you think that you could not feel any worse, suddenly, a Texas Thunderstorm crops up and completely drenched the stage and all of us on it……thunder, lightning, total frog drowning downpour…….so by then it was 12 noon and there was no way to be any more wet without being completely submerged underwater……..but we did manage to get the rig covered in plastic in time while getting completely soaked……GIG HELL !!

Lucky for me, I somehow saw this coming and had brought several changes of clothes……..so after we finished this load in and set up and downpour, I changed clothes, and left that gig and proceeded to my next scheduled thing on my list yesterday, which was an interview at Bright Star Productions in Downtown Houston with Larry Huff. Once there, I discovered that Larry was the same guy I did a load out with last Friday night in Downtown Houston. The Interview went as good as I had hoped and it sounds like more work will be coming my way from the guys at Bright Star Productions…….so at this point, I figured the day might be improving…………it was now 3PM…….

By 4PM I arrived in West Houston at the Hotel Sorella at the Monnalisa Bar for my gig that evening…….it is a high-brow place……..NOT the kind of place that most people going to see great live Texas music would go to usually, let alone, think of…….it has tons of acoustical nightmares with tons of glass around the stage, and such……so of course, I was expecting the worst for my gig that evening and more GIG HELL……..but, much to my surprise, and this my friends is the best part about the incredible Texas Music Scene, GIG HEAVEN just happens when you least expect it……the band was an Austin, Texas based group called “BettySoo”……we did a sound check and walked away and came back at 10 PM and did two 50 minute sets until 12 Midnight……..and in those two sets, I heard, Intelligent, and crafty songwriting, killer 2 and 3 part Vocal harmonies, and in those two sets of Music, was treated to more of the most amazing tasty guitar hooks and leads than I have been present for in the last 10 years in Las Vegas combined……I do not know what it is, but, Texas just breeds amazing guitar players…….This my friends is why the best music scene in America is in Texas…….The Guitar Player on Stage left was Will Sexton (Charlie Sexton’s Brother) and two weeks ago, Will was playing in Bob Dylan’s band…….on the break between sets, Will found me and told me it sounded fantastic on stage……All was suddenly right with the world……GIG HEAVEN…….we talked at length about mutual Austin, TX friends (Kim Wilson and the Fabulous Thunderbird’s and Ian Moore, and of course his Brother Charlie, and a host of others)……..we exchanged business cards and then proceeded to do the second set…….we came, we rocked, and we left…….and everyone was smiling…..Perfection in GIG HEAVEN……..Powered down the system, put away the Microphones, and walked out the door and drove home arriving at 2:30 AM………

From GIG HELL to GIG HEAVEN in 20 Hours under a Texas Full Moon………

UPDATE: Woke up this morning to discover someone had crashed into the back of my car while I was asleep in Bed…….SIGH!!

20110329-035257.jpg

As The Word Gets Out……Gigs soon come…….

After a few weeks of networking like crazy back in the Houston and Austin, TX areas, it seems the word that I am back in Texas is starting to get out…….Spent yesterday afternoon at LD Systems here in Houston and today I spoke to Southern Sound Systems here in Houston and also got a phone call from Bayou City Sound also here in Houston. Sounds like Gigs will be coming my way soon from all directions……..Personally……..I cannot wait……with the exception of a local gig with the band “Inside Out” a couple of weeks ago for a private function here in Houston, I have not had a gig since my Smokey Robinson Gig about 7 weeks ago back in Nevada at the Star of the Desert Arena…….Currently, I have a serious “Gig Jones”…….although, tomorrow night I will be mixing at the Continental Club in Downtown Houston…….should be fun…..and folding back the monitors I am almost sure…….SIGH…..LOL…..

On another Note……It’s finally Football Season………GO SAINTS……..BELIEVE IN BREESUS………I smell a repeat…..!!

20110329-035551.jpg

A Good Couple of Days……..

Yesterday, I finally got something I have been waiting for……..for many years it seems………..When I was living in Las Vegas, the one thing I missed was BIG thunderstorms and all day long downpours of rain with lots of lightning and thunder……..if those things happened at all in Las Vegas it was two or three times a year only for about 5 to 18 minutes at a time……..But here in Texas yesterday thanks to Tropical Storm Hermine, we had tons of rain and lightning and thunder all day long…….it was fantastic……..

Also, yesterday i heard from Robert Ausmus at LD Systems here in Houston, and he asked me to give him a call today and was going to have another of his co-workers named Doug Alexander sit in on the call……..This sounds good to say the least, as I would love to go to work for LD Systems as they are the Big Boys on the Block in Houston when it comes to Audio Production Companies……then last night it got even better, when Robert E-mailed me a second time and asked me to drop by the LD Systems Shop at 2PM today………Color me there….!!

I am hoping for good things today from LD Systems…….

http://www.ldsystems.com/

Oh and also…..I have a gig this Friday night at the Continental Club here in Houston mixing the band Smithfield…….

http://www.continentalclub.com/Houston.html

http://houstoncalling.net/2010/09/08/smithfield-debuts-at-the-continental-club-this-friday/

And another GREAT thing today is the release of IOS 4.1 from Apple which should finally fix the proximity sensor glitch in my Apple iPhone 4………

http://www.engadget.com/2010/09/01/apple-announces-ios-4-1/

http://www.apple.com/iphone/software-update/

2010 starts a new…….I hope…….Anything new would be good….

After an extremely slow 2009, it seems that the new year is off and running at about the same crawling pace……..For me, January was a bunch more corporate stuff (that I hate) and the following:

January 15 – 17

Spent three night doing Monitors for Frankie Avalon at the Orleans Showroom……….and yes his hair was perfect…….Below is a video clip from the show someone put on Youtube.com…..in this clip, Frankie and Edan Everly on Guitar and Vocals (Don Everly’s son) does the Everly Brother’s classic “Wake up Little Suzie”…

January 22 – 24

Three more nights of Motown madness with The Temptations at The Orleans Showroom…..

Then of course the first half of February was just more of the same Corporate Yuck, so just to get my mind right, I had to run up to The Cannery in Las Vegas (my old house gig) and see Tower Of Power on the night of February 12th…….No one gets you heart beating like these guys….still and always the best soul band on the planet….No pictures or video of this show…..but the video clip below will give you the same groove,,,,,

February 13 – 14

Back at The Orleans Showroom on the Monitor Desk for Richard Marx for two nights……….A really good show actually……Richard still has his voice and is a great songwriter….Just ask N-Sync….PLUS there was this classic adlib moment from the saturday nights show in this phone video clip from someone in the audience below when he completely trashes John Mayer….

February 20 – 21

The following weekend….once again I was back at The Orleans Showroom for two nights doing monitors for Comedy and Movie legend Don Rickles and his Orchestra…..If you ever go see Don Rickles live, make sure you do NOT sit in the first 7 rows, because if you do, it makes you nothing more than fair game for anything…..

February 26 – 27

Finishing out the Month of February, I was also on the Monitor Desk at The Orleans for two nights with the Kenny Wayne Shephard Band………These guys are Great and Easy to work with and just plain know the “less is more rule” to Rock and Roll and Blues……..Kenny is great to work with and Noah, the lead singer, is a whole lot of fun to hang out with as well as work with………..we all had  flawless shows on both nights……PLUS, Chris Layton was playing Drums and I have Known Chris since my days back in Texas when I was at Rockefeller’s in Houston and around Austin with The Ian Moore Band……..Back then Chris of course was the drummer for “Double Trouble” (Stevie Ray Vaughn’s band) and then later the drummer for “The Arc Angels”, with Charlie Sexton……..It was Great to seem him after many years and catch up a bit…..Anyway, we all rocked the Showroom for two nights……plus it was NASCAR weekend here in Vegas, so the crowds were large……Another Rockin good time by all……..Kenny Wayne Shepherd Live video below (from some other show)…….

So this is pretty much what I have been up too thus far for 2010……..Things hopefully will pick up here in Vegas as it gets warmer……

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………

IMG_0309

IMG_0313

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)……

HPIM0439

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……

688487193_l

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……..

IMG_0336

IMG_0338

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………

IMG_0348

IMG_0357

IMG_0363

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