Opening for Stef Lang – Night #1

 

New Bassist Jon & Drummer Phil
He’s French…

Well Friday night was the first night in our band’s two nights of opening for Stef Lang. Also the first gigs for our new bass player Jon. We were supposed to be there for 7 to set up.  So going off of the traffic problems I had last week on Friday night Lindsay and I left our house at about 5:15.  We got to North Van at 6.  That never happens. So we got some supper and killed some time finding what street the place was on again and still got there at quarter to 7.  Long story short set up and sound check didn’t actually happen until 8 ish and we didn’t start playing until 8:30.  Musician’s law:  Show up late because they expect you to anyways.

 

So since we were all there too early we got some food.  Notice our beautiful lead singer eating oh so classy.  Did lots of waiting and a little bit of sound checking.  Finally we went on to do our set.

We haven’t had a gig in a while and it kinda showed.  We weren’t bad by any stretch, but didn’t have the same togetherness that we normally have.  Some of our starts were a little off and a lot of the songs came out too fast.  I’m sure nobody else except for us notices this of course because we’re so used to what they should sound like.  The sound levels were a little off, expected in such a small space and lack of sound guy.  Apparently the guitar was loud and the vocals too quiet.  Someday we’ll have a sound guy and we’ll never have to think about it again.

Sound Check

I myself made some technical gaffs that I kicked myself for.  At the end of ‘Let Us Stop’ I fade out all my sounds, using my foot pedal and using the keyboard’s main controls.  I turned the main volume back on for the next song, but forgot to put my pedal back up to full volume.  I’ve just discovered that when you do that my keyboard plays the first note of the next song and then goes silent and I stare at it in complete puzzlement trying to figure out why all the lights are on and nobody is home.  I clued in after a couple of bars and got it working again, but since I have the lead line at that time it was an odd start.

 

The New Guy – Jon

On another song we just changed the key a half-step down.  I haven’t learnt it in the new key yet so I’m cheating by using the transpose button on the keyboard.  This is a very handy function in such circumstances, if you remember to push the button.  Needless to say, playing a chord a half step above everybody when you all start in unison sounds like two metal cars colliding head on against a chalk board.  I thought everyone else played quite good and Jon has no problems with the songs, he’s a natural fit in the band.

The turn out on a Friday night of Halloween weekend wasn’t quite what we had hoped.  We found out the next night that the most people of the evening came at around 11, to be expected, but it wasn’t packed.  So we finished our set of 9 songs to a few  appreciative fans and grabbed a seat to watch Stef Lang.

Yep I can look up sometimes :)

Her band and sound is very different than I was expecting.  It started out with some more country folk sounding songs played with acoustic guitar, slide guitar, and a violin.  Yes she has a violin player.  A few songs later the drummer and bass player joined and the sound changed to more progressive rock/pop interspersed with the straight ahead pop numbers everyone knows from the radio.  I’ve got a few pics and a video here you can take a look at.

She put on a good show, lots of stage presence and interaction with her band members.  It looks like they’ve been together doing this for quite a while.  I liked it even if it can’t be classified very easily.  I enjoy how her guitar player looks like a cowboy with a giant red beard, minus the hat, and her drummer could be mistaken for Gord Downie.

Watching them for the first set, most of our band took off after that, I felt we all were getting some ideas for our stage presence.  You always have room to grow right.  Stef was plugging the bar’s drinks and food while bantering with a few folks and her band.  Lots of interaction on the stage groovin with her bass player, highlighting the soloists, etc.  We’ve got the music part down, I feel next is growing our stage presence so it’s more show less just the music (which is of course great)

Anyways, enough of my ramblings on Friday night.  I’ll be back soon with details on night number two, which went way better overall. If you’re reading this blog, and enjoying it from time to time please send your friends a link and subscribe our follow it.  Also check out my sponsors if you’ve got the time.
A short and dark Stef Lang video is at the bottom of the page.

Thanks,
Faas

 

It’s a pig in case you’re wondering

 

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