I’m not a mathematician.  I’m not a scientist.  I’m simply a guy trying to mix a band and please everyone in the audience, the band, the venue owner, the promoter and myself.  I’m pretty sure I do a good job.  I’ve been at the same venue for over a decade.

This particular Saturday, I had nine local bands.  Each had a 35 minute set with 15 minute changeovers.  The promoter sent no info other than set times and band names.  Which were “subject to change.”  None of the bands bothered to advance the show.  Load in was set for two hours before doors.  I did have a monitor engineer on this show.  He and I would also pull duty as stage managers as there was no stage manager for this show.

I arrived about 30 minutes before load in.  Knowing this particular promoter generally books heavy acts, I decided, in the interest of saving time, to wire the deck for a typical show.

1 Kick in

2 Kick out

3 Snare top

4 Snare bottom

5 High Hat

6 Tom 1

7 Tom 2

8 Tom 3

9 OH SR

10 OH SL

11 Bass

12 Guitar SR  SM57

13 Guitar SR  e906

14 Guitar SL SM57

15 Guitar SL e906

16 DI SR

17 DI SL

18 Vox SR

19 Voc C

20 Vox SL

21 Vox Drums

A few minutes after load in, the promoter showed up and the bands began to trickle in.  The promoter had no technical information for the bands so it was up to me and my monitor engineer to gather what information we could.  

Find the first band.  Ask them about the instrumentation (including any triggers/tracks or anything else that I didn’t include on my stage plot).  Get them to put drum kit on riser.  

Find the 9th band.  Ask them about the instrumentation (including any triggers/tracks or anything else that I didn’t include on my stage plot).  Get them to stage drum kit behind riser.  Instruct them that AS SOON AS their kit is behind the riser, to put amps/heads on stage.  Remind them NOT to place cabs ON cables.  MOVE cables, and then place cabs. 

9th band and 7th band were to use the same bass rig provided by 7th band.  Bass rig had not yet arrived at the venue.  No one in the 7th band (the band providing the shared bass rig) knew what rig the bassist was bringing.  No, he doesn’t have a cell phone.  Fine, we’ll deal with that when it shows up.

Find 8th band.  Ask them about the instrumentation (including any triggers/tracks or anything else that I didn’t include in my input list).  Get them to stage drum kit on SL in front of proscenium.  Instruct them that AS SOON AS 9th band has placed their amps, to put amps/heads on stage.  Remind them NOT to place cabs ON cables.  MOVE cables, and then place cabs. 

Do this for all remaining bands finding creative spots to hide drum kits.  Of course, the band personnel were not always easy to find.  Some got hungry or went next door to the bar to grab a beer.  Herding cats = much easier. 

Band 6 had not yet arrived and were “stuck in traffic” and said they were told they “didn’t have to be there until 7:15,” 15 minutes AFTER doors.  FINE, their equipment can be stored backstage and they can drag it up when it’s time.

Discovered one band had a 4th Tom – add mic on end of input list.

Discovered one band had tracks at drum kit – add DI at end of list.

Throughout the process, I am constantly shuffling back and forth on stage moving equipment (ok, making band members move equipment) off of cables, saving space and generally organizing the stage.  It never ceases to amaze me how the simple instructions are somehow misunderstood.  Who doesn’t know what “behind the drum riser” or “all guitars go backstage” means?

This all sounds pretty simple.  And it can be.  But only if ALL of the bands and band members show up on time and pay attention and don’t disappear.  It can be even simpler if stage plots and input lists are provided PRIOR to day of show.  Of course, they’re rarely accurate.

FINALLY, put 1st band on stage and sound check.  

First band’s bass player wasn’t at the venue but should arrive “shortly.”

Finally, 15 minutes before doors, the bass player showed up.  Sound check done.  I even have five minutes left until doors – that gives me 35 minutes to eat dinner.  Wait, the 1st band starts 15 minutes AFTER doors…

Better hurry!