Dear Mother Maple: brrrfl whmf da shndt?
Dear Mother Maple:
Who are these people who run the sound at our clubs and do they ever listen to the artists they are running the PA for? I am tired of trying to pick out musical details and lyrics at most of the shows I go to. Last week I showed up for what promised to be a great gig and left after the 3rd number because the sound was so muddy. This happens way so often that I question my own hearing but there are a few people who can get wonderful sound so it’s not me.
Why don’t people take pride in their work?
Tired of straining.
This goes a bit beyond Mother’s ken, Tired. When I was spending more time on stage, the sound technician mostly ensured there weren’t rips in the megaphone the singer used and kept the cones on my Dobro in good shape. So when I see all this newfangled gear in clubs, like when I saw that devil Fred Eaglesmith at the Bow Valley Music Club a little while ago, it boggles my eyes, let me tell you. And I was at a house concert recently where they used that little Bose system. It might have sounded good, but it just looks dirty to me.
If there’s blame to be laid here, Tired, where should it go? It doesn’t seem quite fair to blame the performers. They’re on stage, and it’s hard to hear them. I wonder if some sound engineers have either lost a little hearing from too many shows, or perhaps they’re not trained in the craft.
Some small venues just may not have access to a professional, and once a show is underway, the man or woman behind the board is overwhelmed (Why AREN’T there more women behind the boards? Now THERE’s a question Mother would like to tackle). But if you’re able to have a quiet word during a break, Tired, and especially if you might be able to offer some help diplomatically, why not reach out?
A wise man once said “Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.” I implore you, Tired, to reach out your hand into the muddled bass frequencies and pull another ear out of that spring-reverbed mess. But be nice, and if they reject your help, take it as a lesson learned.
Mother Maple loves your questions. Send them to her at firstname.lastname@example.org