(Stands for Exotic Erotic Electrostimulating but Erratic and Entertainingly-challenged Ball)
Well, we had a fun time in New York. The Ball was a semi-success overall, considering it was the first time it’s been attempted in NYC. I had a few complaints about the production, which didn’t do much to help artists and crew put on a good show. I arrived at the assigned time and was shown to a ‘changing area’ which was a small curtained off space with a trestle table but no water, drinks or food. Each time I came back to it there was a new set of scantily clad trapeze artists, contortionists or S+M performers crowded into my space. Sound check was delayed nearly 3 hours, and when I finally got my sound going the doors were opened to the public with no warning.
The venue was one huge warehouse, and the live music acts had to compete with a disco at one end and live burlesque/fashion shows at the other. And the PA and sound crew provided were better suited to a conference event in a hotel ballroom. That said, the small audience that stayed in front of the stage for my set (as opposed to going off hunting porn star autographs in the nether reaches of the warehouse) were friendly and supportive. I had to remind myself it’s a lot harder to thrill a non-partisan crowd than a house full of Dolby fans, but it’s important to expand my audience.
In the circumstances I handled my part pretty well, but MAJOR kudos goes to Darin and Johnny, who had to pull out all the stops and run the audio and visuals themselves given the poor service they got from the venue. Great to get moral support from splendidly-attired Forum regulars Holly and Jim, Spikey (Jen), StevieD and others. Holly has posted some pics in the Forum, including the one below of me with George Clinton–and I have a funny story to tell about this shot that musos and geeks will get a big kick out of.
I had prepared ‘Hot Sauce’ to add to my set for the occasion, because it needed an extra party number and because I knew George Clinton would be there and might wander up and sing with me. It’s a brand new arrangement and sequence, meaning a number of unpredictable thigns might happen the first time I play it at a gig. But I knew it would be a fun way to end the show, plus I’d been told that budding porn starlet Violet Blue had prepared a special strip routine involving hot candle wax; so I would do an instrumental jam while she did her thing. we’d never rehearsed this though.
I saw George Clinton only seconds before I went onstage, and mentioned I would be playing ‘Hot Sauce’ last, in case he felt like joining me.
Now, I’ve mentioned before in my blog that I use ‘in-ear’ monitors. These are injection-molded earphones that fit deep in the ear canal and effectively block 90% of exterior noise, so that the performer can hear his own music mix regardless off how the onstage monitor system sounds. These are great but the drawback is, I can’t hear the audience response. So to offset this I have Darin set up a Shure SM58 mic on a stand next to my keyboard rig, and I mix a little of it in with my cue mix so I can ‘feel’ the audience.
So about 20 seconds into ‘Hot Sauce’–the first time I’ve ever played it live in this arrangement–I hear something VERY strange. At first I thought the vocal effects I’d set up–that tune my voice down an octave–had gone badly wrong. Then I turn around and get the shock of my life…. George Clinton has wandered onstage, picked up my Shure SM58 ambient mic, and is singing into it! Meaning that the audience can’t hear him at all, but I can hear him VERY LOUD.
I think this calls for a new caption contest, don’t you? Post your caption in the Comments field, and in the meantime I’ll think up a prize