We spent the better part of yesterday at Ashkenaz in Berkeley (which is a lovely wood-y venue, by the way. My first time there.) experiencing the experience of in-ear monitors.
(Let’s parenthesize a huuuuuge thanks to the dudes in Hot Buttered Rum for letting us use their gear. It is fancy, and it is technologically advanced, and it is not the kind of thing you traditionally lend out… particularly to hairy band-types. Thanks, HBR!)
One of the great excuses of a bad live performance is the sound. Not being able to hear this; that was too loud; the room was too boomy; the room was too this or that; the monitor mix was blah di blah… Any of these are great for blaming mistakes on.
Two great tips for you up-and-coming musicians out there: 1.) When you make a mistake, look very disappointed at the person next to you – give them a look that tells the audience: “this guy over here to my right has – clearly – made a mistake”. Classic misdirection. 2.) If the mistake is non-transferrable, blame it on the sound. This allows everyone else in the band to quickly agree that, yes, that sound was bad and – conveniently – the reason for all of their mistakes too. Everyone is happy, egos are soothed, and (best of all) you can use this excuse – literally – every night…. Unless…
What if you were to all of a sudden have a device that made it possible for you to control your own sound mix directly into your ear holes? What if every night you could press a button and have the same perfectly balanced mix show up in your custom molded, sound isolating, high-fidelity ear buds?
Well, then, you’d be:
a.) stoked to be playing and listening to such a heavenly, accurate mix.
b.) eternally damned to own and admit to and work on your mistakes.
So. You can see that the decision is a difficult one. Not at all clear which path to take, and surely, no easy answers.
In moderately more seriousness, we really enjoyed trying out the in-ear experience. Not sure if or when it will make its way into the regular Brothers Comatose swing of things, but it was a very enlightening experience. It was only one day of a trial run, so there are – undoubtably – many things we would discover both pro and con in time. But, after one go, it was really wonderful to be able to hear instruments, parts, harmonies and dynamics so very clearly.
We’ll be gearing up in furred jackets, fuzzy boots and toasty mufflers for our upcoming run into the Hinterlands of the Rockies. See you Coloradoians in a week or so!