2019 started off strong with more shows with Foo Fighters, some lengthy runs with Mumford & Sons in the US. Did another round with the awesome folks of TED Talks up in Vancouver before heading over to Europe for Mums shows and some supplemental gigs with Pink while I was in the UK. Later on in the year, I did the start up for another Game of Thrones tour but only had to do a couple weeks of shows as I was jumping back out with Mumfords again for another fall run. We did some great festivals that year including Bottlerock, ACL, and iHeart in Vegas. I ended the year with the Late Show gig and some much needed time with the relatives.
So yeah, it’s been a bit. Since my last real post, I’ve done a bunch of shows, had a longer than expected break, and then did a bunch more shows (thankfully). In and around that, I’ve had some ups and downs and thanks to many, I’ve managed to retain some sort of sanity in the process.
2017 finished up strong with some great runs with GoT, TED Talks, and Matchbox 20. See CV page for a little more in depth info.
2018 went just as well doing tours with Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, TED Talks again, GoT, as well as the start of a lengthy journey with Mumford & Sons. In and around those shows were a few other great events that helped fill in some gaps along with some R&R trips as well.
After a few weeks off, I was able to join some old tour friends who I admire greatly. They offered me a gig as a monitor tech for Matchbox 20 on their 20 year anniversary tour. We played most of the shows with Counting Crows with Matt Nathanson or Rivers and Rust opening. Was nice to get behind the board in monitors again doing ears for the openers and helping the great Bob Lewis as he did his thing for MB.
Crazy circumstances hit from all sides on this run though. From bees infesting our speakers one show day, to sinkholes preventing our trucks from entering the venue. A few massive downpours, to even a skunk problem one day after a storm…we encountered enough delay of games to last us a couple years at least. Plus on top of that another wonderful flood situation at home in Houston put things on high alert. In the end, I came out ok but several friends lost a lot. Tough to watch from afar when you are working on the road.
After the run for GoT was over, I ventured out into the corporate world for a few shows. One of them being the yearly event for TED Talks up in Vancouver, BC. An absolutely great bunch of people on the crew here and a great event overall to work on. Amazingly good talks here with live acts occasionally playing on the same stage. They actually build the entire theatre seating area in the convention center there and they do it in under a weeks time. PA done and floated in one afternoon with a few tweaks done a couple days later.
The start of 2017 brought me my first freelance job as System Engineer for the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience. This featured conductor Ramin Djawadi who is the main composer for the show as well as several other projects such as Westworld, Pacific Rim and Iron Man. We deployed 8 main hangs of Meyer Lyon speakers for the in-the-round setting that was needed for the show. Long days and nights as this was a pretty huge production. Tons of video, pyro, and lights here and the crowds seemed to enjoy the shows quite well.
After deciding long and hard about my current location and career, I decided at the end of 2016 to join the freelance world of live audio. Mostly decided out of the need to get closer to family. Being closer to help out when needed especially when I am home was the driving factor. Traveling back and forth from Wisconsin was getting expensive and only going to get worse over time. Losing the security of a staff position and the yearly jobs that contributed to my growing experience was going to be tough to match but something had to happen. So, with that all weighing on me I decided I wasn’t getting any younger and put in my notice. LD Systems was a great company to grow up in and I am very thankful for all the opportunities they offered me throughout the years.
With the passing of the new year, I began as a freelancer and it didn’t take long thankfully, to gain employment. First job being as the System Engineer for the Game of Thrones US tour in 2017. A big change of pace and speaker systems but I learned a lot and continue to do so. Pics to follow!
Here I am…in the middle of my 7th week of work straight I think…Now I’m in Indy doing the March Madness Music Festival after doing the Sweet 16 in Houston. Before that was the rodeo there.
Been doing this NCAA festival for the past few years and have had some great acts on the bill. Three days of concerts and college basketball.
This year though, it’s just a little bit better. My home state of Wisconsin is now in the final matchup against Duke. Seriously great stuff to be surrounded by so much red. Hoping they do well on Monday.
I myself will be heading home early enough to watch the game if all goes well after I load out. More after show on Sunday!
Another crazy few weeks have passed for me here on Planet Monk, filled with tons of work and lots of accomplishments. Managed to work so much that I actually went the entire month of December all on overtime pay. A lot of this was due in part to my company purchasing a brand new PA system. It’s from a company in France called L’Acoustics and they make what is arguably one of the top 3 sound systems in the world today. Their latest system has a heart called the K1 box. This PA is out with the likes of Peter Gabriel, Radiohead, Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift, etc… Needless to say, it’s pretty awesome and I hope that it raises the bar in and around my company and staff as well…
By making this purchase, it set off a flurry of little tasks that needed to be completed once the gear began to arrive. Tasks such as barcoding each cabinet (all 390 +). Labeling of hardware, cables, and accessories (600+). Checking all the gear in officially, logging it, and documenting it then followed… I have been in charge of this little mission since sea containers began arriving in July. The biggest and final shipment arrived near the end of October.
Mind you it hasn’t been just me working on this, but I was basically handed the task of making sure it got as close to completion as possible. The hard part was herding the cats (crew guys in the shop) long enough to sit still and help. We all have been doing shows in and around this task as well as many I’m sure, find labeling and shrink tubing cables just such a joy… I am pleased to say that overall the project is about 90% done. The remaining items to accomplish really are on the horizon but it is revolving around several other outside forces (companies) which I can’t control! Long hours studying a piece of gear and thinking such common thoughts as, “I wonder if their foot will land here… or here…and would a label make it there…..” Yes, such thoughts do occur, and I am sure I’ve just been a lovely conversationist these last several months. Boring friends with, “we discovered this pretty cool trick when you do this…. or lemme tell you about just how good this stuff sounds.”
Most of it will make it’s major debut this year at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. The rodeo here is listed as the world’s largest indoor rodeo if I remember correctly, and also touts one of the largest temporary installs of lights, video, and sound. It’s in Reliant Stadium and runs for 20 nights and days starting in late February. Everyday is a rodeo and then one large international/national music artist. I’ve had everyone from Tim McGraw, to Ray Charles, to Kid Rock, to Janet Jackson play this thing. It can get fairly large to say the least, with a capacity crowd of up to 73,000 people a night. (So it’s kinda a big deal….) I’ll begin a post a day when that kicks off with some lead up shots of the load in I’m sure. Funny thing is, I’ll have more time on my hands once we begin, then when we prep. Funny how it works like that….
Anyway, I’ll let your eyes rest a bit from this novel and leave you with a couple pics of the gear that I’ve been getting friendly with. Glad it’s finally getting done though. I have a life out there somewhere, and it’s time I go find it again…..; )
… when you are working your tail off.
Sheesh. It’s been forever in a month (or so) since I’ve posted. Been truthfully very, very, busy with work and it has not allowed me much time to sit, write, and post like I have before. To be honest, it’s also been a lack of energy in the evening when I get to the casa that has let me wander to the bed instead of writing or posting a pic or two…
So, before I crash for the evening this time, I think I’ll put up a couple I’ve taken recently that stick out as favorites of mine, from the past few weeks….
Another couple weeks of crazy shows coming up starting with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill this weekend. Then on to some smaller gigs with Sara Evans and The Band Perry next week. I’ll see about trying to put up some pics from that when I can. Have a nice weekend folks!
Was too tired last night to put anything up as we were onsite from 8am until about 12 last night. Show and load out basically…The morning proved to be a bit wet as we got dumped on pretty good the afternoon before.
More good bands on my stage yesterday as we had those crazy kids Die Antwoord and then Crystal Castles headlining. Had a good time mixing The Features as well as POLICA. Freelance Whales proved to be a nice surprise too. Festivals like this are hard to come by and I must admit, it’s these type of multi cultural, multi genre-type gigs that make me love my job. Behind me on one of the other stages I had The Civil Wars, The Afghan Whigs, Jack White, Metric, and The Shins. All of which are favorites of mine. Good music, good people, and a great time. Got to see some pretty famous people as well. By the end of the festival I had seen Natalie Portman, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, and Christian Bale. All were here shooting footage for a Terrance Malick movie of some kind. Pretty neat stuff. I hear it’s supposed to be out next year sometime. The most amazing thing was being able to watch Felix Baumgartner break the world record for the highest unassisted skydive while we were in the middle of a set change. The festival put the live broadcast up so we could see it on our screen. 24 miles up. I’ve skydived 6 times now and each one has been truly amazing, but to see what he was able to see from that high up has to be incredible….
Anyway, I’m back in Houston now and getting ready for the next one. Can’t wait for some time off though. Need to recharge! Here’s a few other pics…