Wednesday, February 29, 2012

So... How'd It Sound?

I promise the purpose of this blog isn't to gush about Dave Rat but I've been reading his blog like a novel this week and it's been super fun to watch how a large scale tour progressed (in reverse).  I've also seen that a lot of the things that I do are also done on very large shows, just with a little more complexity.  Parallel evolution of ideas, neat.

Apart from the mind blowing-ness of Dave's thoughts on subwoofer arrays there was one thing in particular that caught in my consciousness and has been rolling around in there while I've been prepping for this weekend's services.

How often have you finished mixing a gig and had an interested party come up and ask you, "So, how did it sound?"  Probably quite a lot as it would seem logical to most people that the sound guy should know how the show sounded.  I'll stop rambling and get to the quote.

I am often asked , like nearly every show, the questions "How was the show?" and "How did it sound?" Seemingly innocuous enough but I find the queries surprisingly difficult to answer. My gut reaction is to respond by describing the the nuances of the issues I faced at that show. Yet, I realize that my perspective is so totally skewed and what is an issue to me is often irrelevant in the big picture. Plus, having to choose and balance between what feels to be self critical and self complimentary is an awkward position I prefer not navigate. More importantly though, as I am the person holding the status of 'man of sound, I feel remiss in being a part of biasing, deflating or elevating another persons opinion of the event. My roadie purpose is to present the music that the band creates. It is the adventure for the humans attending the show is to form an opinion of the experience to carry with them and share with others.
                                                                    - Dave Rat

Amen brother, amen.  It still doesn't leave me in any kind of a better place to answer the question.  What I find myself doing is this.  If there were no major glitches on my part I'll respond by saying, "Everything was smooth on my end."  Or if there were a couple passages that seemed particular moving to me or those around me I might mention them.  

But it's a real problem to try and answer a question for which I may be literally the only one in the room not fit to answer.  I spend most of the show (or service) concentrating on tonality and balance and almost none of it paying attention to musicality, emotion or the words. 

So there it is, a real brain teaser.  How do you answer?

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