Arghgrhrhrhghgh, sunlight, sunlight, whereami, oh I remember, in my bunk on a bus on the way to Carlisle. And the curtain has fallen off the window so sunlight is streaming in.
It's almost 10 AM, and we're nearly there, the driver is negotiating the outer security ring around the One Big Sunday site. Mmmm, three songs live to Radio 1 and live to 55 thousand punters and only me to engineer sound on monitors AND at front of house! Milky, where are you? Well I know where he is, he's on a flight to Mexico to continue his Helloween tour. This Embrace gig came in too late to change his travel plans. And the only way I could come and do the gig was that Dobson Sound, who I was supposed to be doing the Guildford Festival for, were able to get a replacement for me at the last minute.
So the bus parks and I'm up. Clean my teeth, and squint in the sunshine of Carlisle. Gary's sorting out passes and meal tickets. Great. Wonder on down to catering. What's for breakfast mate. "Nothing". Er, what do you mean nothing. "Lunch is at midday, bands don't normally arrive this early". Oh, coffee for breakfast then. Mmmmm. Get my required caffeine hit and it's off to test the local porta loo. Very nice, very clean.
Get my briefcase off the bus and go to have a look at the stage. Our truck hasn't made it yet, must have been on a different ferry than the bus. Due about midday. Make contact with the PA companies monitor man, Grubby. Tell him he'll be minding the band during the gig (is three songs a gig?) as the band want me to mix front of house. I will set up rough mixes first, so he should be in the ballpark as they start.
Channel list is OK, and everything will get used due to the choice of songs, Good Good People, Save Me, and the new single Wonder. Can't do much else on stage until the truck arrives, so I go and find front of house.
Mmmmm, this is a new experience. Me at front of house. All seems very relaxed out here. I check the desk, do a bit of pre EQing and VCA routing, plus set up a vocal reverb and a drum reverb. Ask the FOH babysitter if he can set the gains, as I'll be on stage until just before the gig. " No problem mate".
It's midday, and still no truck. Oh, well. Lunch soon. Mmmmm, food.
In the queue for lunch, meal ticket in hand. The truck arrives. Oh well food later.
Get the monitor rack and cable trunk and two briefcases to the monitor desk area. Start plugging in the all the cables for the 6 gates, 10 comps, 6 IEM sends, 3 reverb sends and corresponding 6 reverb returns, and finally the send for the drum stool shakers. Phew. Get my remote box onto the key riser, and the IEM cable loom laid into place onto the riser before Beeves gets all those keyboard cables all over the place! (Only joking Beeves!) Run in the 20m cable from the key riser currently backstage, to the 15m cable that goes to the monitor rack. Great, we have contact. Get Dan's mic plugged in and set a level for his vocal in all the IEMs. Reverbs all working as well, and levels set. Have to stop for a bit while Turin Brakes, the only other live band, do a song to warm up the punters.
The live to radio bit starts. In the odd 3 minutes while they run a video I can do a quick 1, 2, 1, 2 level check on Dan's mic to Rick and Steve's wedges, and check of Rick's mic to his wedges.
Another band is due on in 1 minutes, 11 seconds, time to clear the stage again. Are 4 girls on radio mics miming to a backing track a band? Rick asks why they can't do it like that - what, wear short skirts and dance around the stage? Rick just grins.
Finally got the ears checked out to Des and Beeves. Good. Waiting for the next video playback for my next making noise slot.
Videos playing. Beeves, give me some A90, good, Keys good, bit of Mickey Dales vocal, great. Next. Des, bit of kick, great, snare, yep, hat, yep, all the toms, OK, bit of overheads, yep, Akai, OK and finally Mikes vocal. Good. Had to guess the levels of that lot to the wedges as there's another 'band' on again!
Another video. Quick Cuzzy, guitars please, AC30 is OK. 4x12, OK. Acoustics. Des, bit of bass while Cuzzy's doing acoustics, or Beeves, Mickey Dales' guitar. Good, guitar, bass, yep thanks Des. Cuzzy, which acoustic is that? Yeuch, there's something wrong with the bridge. Try the other acoustic. Yep that's OK. Get to the other side of the stage, Cuzzy, change the battery in Dans' acoustic and we'll try it again.
Back at the desk. OK, acoustic again. Yep, got it, it's working now, great, thanks Cuzzy.
My hip vibrates. The alarm I set on my phone is going off. It's 3 PM. We're on stage in about 15 minutes. Better make my way to Front of House.
Make the FOH mix tower quite easily, weaving my way through the masses of Carlisle.
So here I am. FOH. The guy from the sound company mentions that they didn't set any gains as the techs didn't play any thing. Agahaghagah (so I've got a virtually flat desk, no gain set, and 3 songs about to happen in 7 minutes and 14 seconds! Cheers!!)
Were into the changeover on stage. 3 minutes of video playing. Des, anyone, I need drums please. Great cheers Des, er Gary, er whoever it was. Bass, quick, yep, all of this is on headphones, the punters are all listening to the video, Beeves, keys, yep, A90, yep, there's Dan's vocal, and Rick's please, Mikes vocal, yep and Mickey Dales. OK, what else, how long have we got, Guitars Cuzzy, yep OK, acoustics, Beeves Mickey Dales guitar while Cuzzy changes instruments, yep, acoustic, yep got them, bad buzz from the guitars, Cuzzy, lift BOTH earth's on the acoustic, nope, not much better, oops, they're going on, here we go.
Open up the left and right. Rich says something at the mic, can't hear what it was from here, push his fader, Dan speaks, too quite, AM I SWITCHED ON? Check the desk, yep, other desk, the guy says yes, you got a gain problem mate, oh great, push the masters to plus 10, noise, great, Good Good People, guitars, bass, less drums, vocal, less drums, backing vocal coming up, more A90, oops, too much, back it off a bit, string coming up, push the lows a bit, less snare .......
Phew, one down, two to go. Save Me next, and they've started, where's the bongos, push the Akai channels, there we go, touch more acoustic, yep, bv's, guitar solo, fade the acoustic, keys ......
Final song, the new single Wonder. Adjust the acoustics channels for Dan's acoustic (wish they'd get some proper acoustics!) wow, what a contrast to Save Me, more Mickey Dale guitar, OK, here come the harmonies, yep, good ..........
And it's all over!
I make my way back to the stage, Beeves, Des and Cuzzy are on a high! We did it! The crew got the band on stage and playing in no time flat, yet again! I get all the monitor bit's back together, pack the cases up and get them across the stage to the load out ramp. Some one has parked a dirty great big generator right on the load in! Mmm, useful. Leave the rest of the guys packing guitars and keyboards and stuff and walk up the hill to the bus.
The band are lounging around on the grass by the bus. I get a round of applause as I approach! Thank you, thank you. Danny's girlfriiend says it sounded great out front. Good. And the band got by on stage without me, although I gather it was a bit rough!
Find some beer and softies from the fridge and take them back to Beeves, Des and Cuzzy. Cheers!
Next festivals are the V gigs. And Milky's gonna be there, so I can return to what I do best! Maybe a case of Come Back to What I Know!