Sounds good to me


Some of you may recall that I used to run sound (typically Front Of House ("FOH")) for some bands way back when. Well, I've had the opportunity to revive that old role; I've recently run FOH for a few bands here in Madison, but the most fun I've had with it happened this past weekend.

Typically, FOH is a bit of a challenge. You have to help the band "load-in" their equipment; heavy speakers, amplifier racks, mixing boards, and other stage equipment... Then you have to set-up all of the equipment, which typically belongs to the band, and is often in rough shape, so things like microphones and cables are beat-up and in questionable states of performance. Then you sound check, which the band usually doesn't want to do, because they're tired from all of the set-up, and they'd rather relax before the show starts.

Then the show starts, and it's a constant fight with the band; their stage volume is usually far too loud, which makes the overall mix far too loud. And they're never happy with what they're hearing on stage through the monitors, usually because the band's equipment isn't capable of delivering what the band wants.

And, when the show's over, you get to tear down all of the equipment, load it into the trailer, and finally head home, usually around 4:00am or so. It makes for a long day/night.

Well, I was thrilled when I was asked to run sound for a very small venue here in Madison. The venue is called, "Kiki's House of Righteous Music," and it's actually someone's house.

I've seen a few shows at Kiki's house, and have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. Kiki normally has a regular person to run FOH, but apparently that person has been unavailable quite a bit, as of late. So, she asked if I'd be interested in running FOH for her. Apparently, word got out that I do sound, and she reached out to me.

I arrived to Kiki's at around 6:00pm on Sunday night; she owns her own sound system, complete with speakers, amps, microphones, board, and all cabling. Nice. No set-up to worry about!

The band loaded-in their gear; I offered to help, but between the two of them and their assistants, everything was taken care of. Nice!

We got the stage set-up by 6:45pm. I asked for a sound check, and they were more than happy to oblige. These guys were true professionals; they had just come from a show in Toronto, and were on their way to play a show in Chicago on Monday, so they weren't your typical bar band crew. Nice!


They were fantastic to work with during the sound check, because they maintained a very reasonable stage volume, and they knew exactly what they wanted in their monitor mix. We had everything dialed-in within 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, Kiki was upstairs preparing dinner for us, so when we finished with the sound check, she hollered down the stairs to alert us that dinner was ready. Kiki made a wonderful chicken, vegetable, and pasta dish, complete with an Asian coleslaw and some bread from the Batch Bakehouse.

The band invited me to eat with them; we sat around Kiki's table, gnoshing and getting to know one another. It was really cool to hear about their recent travels and to learn about where they were heading next (Russia an Europe in June!).


By the time we had finished eating, the crowd was beginning to arrive. Ian (the lead singer), asked if anyone had a coffee grinder. Kiki didn't, but I did, so I ran home to grab my Chemex coffee pot and grinder, and before long, I was brewing coffee for the band. Here we are, enjoying a cup of coffee (photo, compliments of my friend's Instagram account).


At around 8:00pm, we made our way down to the basement; my iPod was playing pre-show music for the crowd of about 45 people. I grabbed my seat at the sound board; my pals (Chris and his girlfriend) sat next to me. I had to snap a quick "selfie" to capture the moment.


The show started, and the band was incredible. Their musical style could best be described as melancholy southern rock... think of something like an acoustical version of Tom Petty meets Lynrd Skynrd, or something like that... I'll include a link to their website at the end of this entry.

The guys were solid; they hit every note, they were consistent with volumes, and they just sounded professional. It really made my job easy. They'd throw me an occasional glance for a little adjustment, but nothing was too difficult or unusual. It was super fun.


The band shared stories about their travels and gave a behind-the-scenes look into many of the songs (inspirations, meanings, etc). Before we knew it, the clock had struck 10:00pm and it was time to call it a night. The crowd slowly made their way home, but not before grabbing a t-shirt or a CD or poster. The band graciously signed autographs and chatted with nearly everyone.

I helped them pack-up and load things back into their trailer; they responded by giving me a personalized, autographed poster, and by inviting me to join them on tour this summer. Sadly, my "real job" would prevent me from traveling to Russia and/or Europe, so I had to decline the offer. Who knows if they were serious, but they seemed sincere!

I can't wait to run sound for future Kiki shows. It's such a better, more enjoyable experience all the way around.


Ian Moore Music - Official Site

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This page contains a single entry by Steve published on May 21, 2014 1:10 PM.

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