Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Monday, April 13, 2009

Back in the saddle

Poker content - Lost my ass in Tunica. Lost my ass again at BadBlood's. Shoved into the nuts and lost my ass at my home game. And I still love the game. We did wonder what type of thread we could get started of jealous bitches on the forums if we posted that Lee Jones made a McDonald's run at Blood's home game, though. That dude is great fun, but I hate getting in big hands with him. You'd think he'd played the game once or twice.

Today was first tech for the Avett Brothers, and it was a trip to be back in the saddle. This was the first show I'd really done since Godspell in September. I did a little one-weekend thing in December, but it was super-simple and nothing near as complex as this. I picked up a dozen used LED color-changing fixtures online (go here if interested) and bought a pair of small moving lights. I also got a lighting board that is PC-based, so the whole control rig runs out of a backpack, and a bunch of cable and big hampers to move everything with. So today was all about loading it in, putting it together for the first time and beginning to teach their road guys how to run it all. Once I figured it out, that is.

The Avett boys are really loyal, and their road crew (the parts that don't play in the band, that is) are all people that they've known for a long time. This doesn't necessarily mean that they know a ton about lighting, so I'm learning how to run a new console while I try to figure out how to teach their lighting guy how to be a lighting guy. It's a challenge, but he's really bright and was like a sponge today soaking everything up, so I'm pretty sure it will work out okay. These guys are getting bigger and bigger and I think they might be ready to make the next step. If you're going to see Dave Matthews over the next 5 weeks or so, get there early enough for the opener, because they're worth it.

They're also all about the art, which is very cool. So today we got the rig put together, and everything actually worked the first time we turned it on, which NEVER happens. We actually got done early enough to cut a chunk of the crew early and I got a couple hours of dark time in the theatre to program. That's something that I almost never get, and I've yet to be on any show where I have enough time, so to grab an extra two hours today was a luxury like getting to sleep in when the time changes. I think we've put together a good rig, and the ColorBlast TR fixtures (the LEDs) have a ton more output than I expected. We're flying them at about 20-22', and I didn't think they'd give me any punch at all over 16-18', so I was very pleasantly surprised.

And the console that I'm learning has turned out to be very intuitive, and I think it will be good for their guy, since he doesn't have any experience on lighting boards and thus doesn't have any bad habits. It's a Jands Vista PC, which uses a much more visual system of running and programming lights than any other lighting console on the market. When it came out, it was a total reimagining of lighting control, the kind of thing that comes along once every couple of decades. And since it's PC-based, it doesn't have a big piece of furniture, so it's way less expensive. It's available in a big desk-type light board as well, and I've sold one of those to a big church that I worked on a few years ago, but the PC version is ridiculously inexpensive and powerful.

So all my gear worked and I got out of the theatre by 8, so that was a good day. And it was a good thing, since I've got another 8AM call tomorrow. I'm still debating with myself whether or not to talk to Scott about running a couple of their shows later in the summer. They've got two shows in Myrtle Beach, which is an easy drive and I'd only have to burn one vacation day, but if anybody knows the boys are coming close to them and wanted to party, I might be persuaded to range a little farther afield.

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