Friday, April 18, 2008


Devil's Tailors - Two New Shows

We're now confirmed to play June 7th at 6:30 PM on the Folk Stage at the Celebrate Fairfax! outdoor festival in Fairfax, VA. They're also trying to get us to play another time-slot the next day, Sunday, June 8th. It's a big festival, and should be loads of fun.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


On further review of the play...

I listened to the tape last night. Now, it's important to remember that the mixer tape out isn't necessarily what the audience heard.

But that said, the levels were all off, except on the pipes+fiddle sets. The vocals, bodhran, and cittern were way too high. The gain on some of the vocals was probably too high too, meaning distortion. The fiddles and guitars were too low; although if the cittern and bodhran came down, that might have no longer been an issue.

The above is all kinda moot - apparently the sound wasn't recording from the mixer. I forgot to set the source to "line in". It was recording from the laptop's microphone! Oops! No wonder it sounded so bad. And that I could hear Andy real well when there was no mic anywhere near him (other than the laptop's). But the lessons learned are the same.

The pipes+fiddle sets were almost just right. A bit more fiddle in them would have been nice (or rather, a tad less pipes).

Lessons learned:
1) The sound guy's job is very important. If I'm going to conscript people into the job, I need to train them (and get trained myself),
2) The sound check needs to be much more than "how do we sound in the monitors" (and even there we need to do it all instruments blazing),
3) If possible, the "front of house" mixer should actually be... well... in the front of the house, where the sound guy can hear what the audience hears.

It's always a learning experience.

Monday, April 07, 2008


The Devil's Tailors - The Big Debut!

Well, it was officially our second outing under the name "The Devil's Tailors", but it felt more like our first real debut. This year, we had a full band and a nice long set.

I spent the morning setting up, and then played for the Alexandria branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society with Julie Gorka. Then it was time for us to get going. Rhianon had to cancel, because their singers all had an upper respiratory flu. So the stage manager (me!) awarded us all their time. We had prepared an hour and a half's worth of show, and we got to use every bit of it.

Andy worked sound for us with no experience and little training, and did well under the circumstances. Getting him further trained up will be very important for future gigs. I discovered that my fiddle's condenser picks up my voice too well, so I bought a stereo volume pedal to mute myself between sets. And we need to work out the monitor settings for vocals better, and possibly get a shotgun mic for the smallpipes (which were barely audible), or a clip-on pickup. Feedback was a problem, mostly for Jim's guitar, so I might recommend a volume pedal for him - or better for a lutenist like him, a rosette!

The most difficult moment was during The Devil's Reels - Lauren was doubling up with me on it, but she doesn't know The Dram Shell and only sort of knows Timour the Tartar. So part way through Devil in the Kitchen, three (three!) of my fiddle's pegs come loose and the strings un-spool. So I'm desperately trying to re-tune while Lauren carries on, told them to skip The Dram Shell, and came in a couple notes into Timour the Tartar to finish the set. Also, Chris (who was on bodhran) dropped his tipper! So though it all worked out okay in the end, we now have officially declared this our "cursed" set.

But that was the bad. The good was great. I was pretty happy on the songs, and most of the fiddle sets (except the first high note in Detroit Jig), but the pipes+fiddle sets sounded awesome. I listened to The Virgin Wedding off the tape we rolled, and was very happy with how it turned out! I'm going to turn whatever I can into a demo tape. We had an excellent reception, especially for the pipes+fiddle sets, and the St. Andrew's Society folks were very enthusiastic.

Hopefully someone will have pictures, which I will add. And I'll probably put up links to some MP3s of us.

A great debut!

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