18 September 2011

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Lean Left continues our tour, heads to Scandinavia. For me, this proves to be the most difficult stretch of touring out of the entire August/September period. For different reasons all four concerts were sonically brutal, creating huge problems for the band. The 1st took place on the 18th, at Mono, a fantastic club in Oslo, but with one of the sub woofer/speakers pointing sidewise directly in front of the stage (no other place for it) the stage sound was impenetrable; things okay in soundcheck but during the gig the sax tone was completely brittle and harsh. But from the audience the feedback about the gig was really great, Lasse Marhaug raved about it which made the whole experience worthwhile- so some solid music must have been coming across, whatever issues I was having. The next night the group traveled to Bergen, which proved to be one of the low points of the trip, though the organizer did his best for us. The room was like a large hotel lobby, with a large speaker near the ceiling in each of the 4 corners pointing to the center of the room, the sound tech wanted to put Lean Left in quadraphonic sound, music blaring at us from each part of the room. We convinced the tech to drop that idea (which pissed him off) but during the gig he panned the guitars back and forth in the monitors, and the sax sound was so painfully harsh I thought my teeth would shatter. Added to injury- tepid response and zero albums sold. Trying to recover from this in Copenhagen we tried not to put the drums in the PA to keep the guitar amp volume cheapvaltrexbuy.com/valtrex-price.html more in check, just putting the sax in the PA, but the drums were so bad that they had to go into the PA anyway. The soundman and organizer did their best to work with us, but we were again defeated by the situation; very discouraging. I had an important discussion with Terrie Hessels after this, however, one that has changed the way I try to deal with my own struggles with the music. I find it impossible to “pretend” that I’m happy with a performance if I feel that I’ve failed the other musicians, the music, but Terrie explained to me that this negative energy, that I feel I’m directing at myself, ends up affecting him and other players, they read my attitude as actually directed toward them. It was a long and involved talk that made me realize that I need to find more positive aspects in my own playing and the music so that things keep in balance and move forward for everyone involved- we’re in this together, and there should be a sense of joy in the process- Terrie is brilliant at this. With our discussion in my head, Lean Left traveled to Helsinki where we were received with enthusiasm from the organizers and audience but where, once again, the differential between soundcheck and concert was so huge that it was impossible for us to get a “band sound,” everything fractured, out of balance, and frustrating, though this time I was able to look at it as a group struggle, not just mine, and knew we were working together to make the best music possible whatever the circumstance. Lean Left in action with the baritone in tow: