Back when I was doing live sound, I had this constant struggle with the bands.
They were ALWAYS late!
I told them sound-check was at five and they’d show up at six with their drummer missing.
Just another typical indie band that doesn’t know how to be professional.
It seriously used to annoy the $#!t out of me. Why couldn’t they appreciate the chance they were given to play? Why wasn’t this concert the most important thing right now?
Didn’t they understand that they needed to sound-check?
No, they didn’t. Because they didn’t really need to.
It’s not Them, It’s You
See, the sound-check isn’t really for the bands. It’s for you.
Yes, they’ll complain about their stage sound being bad until you fix their monitors. But for the most part, that sound-check is your responsibility. You’re the sound-tech and you need to make the band sound good. You’re always in a lose-lose situation. If the band sounds good, it’s their awesome performance. If a band sounds bad, it’s all your fault.
So once I realized this divide I decided to do something about it. I was in charge of the venue after all. I made the most of my time to make the sound-checks run as smooth as possible.
So I started showing up early to set everything up before the band came. That meant checking the system, setting up the mixer as well as miking everything. Even if I didn’t know the line-up, chances were it had a typical set-up of drums, bass, guitar and vocals. Then I threw in a few DI boxes on stage in case of any keyboards, playback and/or acoustic guitars.
Doing this meant that when the band showed up they could simply plug in and rock out.
Another thing was memorizing the go-to settings for certain instruments in my venue. The venue had a back-line of instruments so the sound was always pretty similar. This meant that I didn’t need much time to get a good stage sound going.
Finally, the monitors were always a constant hassle. Since it was a small venue it was loud and there was plenty of bleed from the floor to the stage. And vice versa.
The vocals were always the most important thing in the monitors anyway so I always had my AUX sends set up for a good vocal mix. Then, if anybody needed something else, I could add a bit extra without masking the vocals.
Having this plan made every sound-check, and subsequent concert, a smooth and easy process. Nevermind the band was late, I only needed 15 minutes to get things to where I wanted to. I had my estimated sound-check before the band even arrived.
I talk about sound-checks and other aspects of live sound a LOT in Live Sound Survival. I might have made it look frustrating here above, but with the right mindset it’s actually quite easy.
Stop tearing out your hair and make live sound easy and efficient:
Image by: nottooamused