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allatxFor the first time since I have been wrangling Russ  there were no press credentials waiting for us in will call. After being shuttled back and forth between the regular will call and HAAM’s table, the staff was kind enough to let us in but in the very back row on the right. Not the usual rock star/VIP treatment that Russ is used to. ( IT WAS HAAM DAY, SO, IT WAS ALL GOOD) We listened to a two song set by Quiet Company who sounded great and bam!…that was it!…out came Jody Denberg and he blabbed in between the super short sets….so that was the format…two songs and on to allatx1  suzannathe next one. Next up was Charlie and Will Sexton who played two songs with an Austin all star band. Our leader Russ was unhappy with his seating and decided to make a break for it and wheeled off to the area in the center where the sound board and photo area was. KLRU was taping the show and there were all kinds of large manned TV cameras as well as robotic ones. Apparently Russ’s escape to a better viewing area was noted by the authorities and they came to me and said he was blocking acess and go get him and stay in our assigned seat way in the far back. Considering they never found our tickets I guess we were lucky not to get thrown out all together. I moved into allatx malfan empty seat near the center to take a few pics from different angles. When I sat in the center I noticed that when Jimmie Vaughn and Lou Ann Barton played the sound quality was terrible…very loud and grating! The last few shows I saw at the Moody ( Buddy Guy, Lyle Lovett, etc.)….the sound was dead perfect…this hurt my ears! Alas, this went on all night. I realize that it is a tough job when allatx montemultiple acts go on but it continued on. The lovely Suzanna Choffel was next and did the best two songs of the night with Charlie Sexton on guitar. I went upstairs to take some pics from a new angle and saw Carolyn Wonderland and Guy Forsyth do two intense and “too loud” songs. The next pairing I thought was bizzarre for an “all Austin” showcase…Shake Russell…OK …and Michael Hearne who is from Dallas but I consider a Taos, New Mexico artist….I have seen him there many times and like him fine, but with all the great Austin players what was he doing here? Then at the end of his song he played the worst “piece of shit” out of tune solo I have ever heard in public! The sound was cutting in and out so I don’t know to blame him or the sound man…it was dreadful!! I look forward to seeing this on the KLRU show to see what they do with this turd of a solo…I realize great running backs fumble the ball every once in a while, but I wish I was closer so I could have launched a ripe tomato at him…poor bastard…I know he is better than this. Then it was smooth sailing with uneven sound but great playing by Monte Montgomery Marcia Ball, Van Wilks and the sweet singing Malford Milligan., Then Eric Johnson came out and I was struck by the fact that he must be in his 50’s but he looks like he is 25 years old! He must either be a Vampire or got a deal on Michael Jackson’s Hyperbolic air chamber after he croaked! Creepy…Jackson Brown is the same way…perhaps they are Aliens…Eric dragged out Malford to sing with him and he put on a good show….a portly but awesome Christopher Cross closed it out with a 3 song set ending with “Ride like the Wind”. Overall, a fine sampler of Austin music with annoying sound. Near the end Russ texted me and we broke for “stage right” and he was ensconced in the VIP section for the last few songs. One of the most impressive thing I observed at the show was the amazing robotic cameras at the show…this camera on the end of an amazing telescoping arm had incredible range and appeared to be a giant smooth snake that moved all over the stage and above the audience…you can see it in my first pic…it is hard to explain how it flew around the room like it did. So in the end Russ made it from ” chump” seats to where he could tickle Jody Denberg and Suzanna Choffel after the show. Another night of live Austin music… Ken Miller




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  1. The Kerrmudgeon

    In the movie “Wild Heart,” Jeff Bridges does a sound check before the big show, and he stops in the middle of the check to point his finger at the sound man. “I want every last person in the back row to hear each and every word I sing. Do you understand that?”

    Heck, we’ve got a bizillion-dollar theater downtown in the Live Music Capitol of the World, with a million dollar sound system and a bar over there sellin’ ten-dollar-a glass wine, and another one over there and another one up there. We’ve got rock ‘n’ roll lights everywhere, sprayin’ the beacons of light in every color of the rainbow on the ceiling and the walls and the audience and the stage; we’ve got TV cameras over there and over there, and a TV camera on a rail travelling around the balcony, and a TV crew with a boom for getting great angles. We’ve got some of the finest talent that Austin has produced, and you want what? Wait, say it again, I can’t hear you . . .you want . . .you want to hear the song? Now I’ve heard everything! This is not about music, man, this is Show business!

    About the only good thing to be said about the HAAM benefit concert last night is that the money went to a good cause. Don’t get me wrong, I am very impressed with what has been accomplished at the Moody; it’s a beautiful venue. But something has gotten lost along the way. When the reason that people show up is for the spectacle, or to say that they were there, or to support the charity, then your art form is dying.

    I don’t know the personalities involved in the production, and that lends me a certain freedom. The sound was terrible. Awful. Lousy. I imagine that the guy who ran sound and his crew are pretty well-paid, and their reputations are above criticism. Been doing it for years and years. Got a degree from the Berklee School. Mixed sound for so and so and so and so back in the day. Well, if the old lady in row “L” can’t hear the words, then he hasn’t done his job. Period. If the only thing that the sound guy is listening to in those headphones is the bass and the drums, then what’s what the audience is going to get. Oh, onstage the monitors sound great, so the musicians don’t really undedrstand why so many people got up and left as we slogged through the line-up. Well, Bubba, they couldn’t hear the songs; just the drums and the bass.

  2. Kfm2nd

    Ha ha…this guy does a better job explaining what the sound was like than I did! Kfm2nd.