Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kenny Chesney at Lambeau Field Green Bay | Acoustics in a Football Stadium and Monitors

I have only been to one stadium show. That was Pink Floyd at County Stadium. Green Bay plays host to Kenny Chesney at Lambeau Field this summer. The venue may be one of the biggest he's ever performed in, and certainly the most famous. Famous for football, not concerts though.

Kenny Chesney Mixes Country with Caribbean

Say what you will about modern country music. It's polished to such a shine, that the purists of that style tend to stay away from artists like Kenny Chesney. There are modern country stars that stick to the old school style. Kenny is not one of them, if I may be so bold to say that. He has put together a perfect formula. He mixes one part country with one part Jimmy Buffett style tropical Caribbean party fun, and the fans love it. If you know anything about Jimmy Buffett, his music isn't the best, but going to one of his shows is the perfect excuse to party your butt off. Same for Kenny Chesney.
This tour will feature his best work. After taking a year off, Chesney is coming back to play all the songs his fans have come to love. He's touring huge venues like Lambeau Field. His stage will be set up around the five yard line of the south end zone, with walkways that will extend out to the 15 yard line. This is big. All his shows will be big. With a stage set up like that, how will the fans find his sound? How will Kenny find his own sound in a booming venue like Lambeau Field?

Kenny Chesney will wear in ear monitors via custom made earplugs. The acoustics in a stadium of that size will require not only stage monitors for the various members of the band, but in ear monitors. I was fitted for mine this past Monday. I can't wait to try them out. I have performed in large venues, and found the monitors to be too far away to be useful. Sometimes, as an opening act, the monitors are set in place for the headliner, and the sound crew will not move them for you. You are not important, so you suffer with a lousy stage mix. That's life. Soon enough, I will be able to plug into the stage mix directly, and hear things like never before. I can't wait.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Testa Rosa is a Band that I Would Love to Join

Did you ever listen to a band and think to yourself, "damn, I wish I was in that band." Testa Rosa, a Milwaukee creation is just that band for me. There are no openings in Testa Rosa, because Bill Backes has the job, and he is a well respected drummer in the Milwaukee scene.

I stumbled upon the review of Testa Rosa today, and since that moment I find myself inspired enough to listen to all of their songs on Myspace, tweeted, and now blogged about them. Yes, I'm an old punk drummer, but lush and beautifully constructed pop music sung by a woman is as tasty as as it gets. It's even better when you hear it come from people you know. Yes they have been doing this since 2006, but I didn't stand up and take notice until now.

The three review snippets that Testa Rosa has on their Myspace page sum up my thoughts exactly. What's even better is that Latest Flame records has them on their label. Now it's just a matter of time before they explode into stardom. Yes, I'm gushing. I don't care.

Monday, November 8, 2010

When Your Biggest Fan Wants You to Go Down Memory Lane

"Do you have any old videos of your band that we can show my girlfriend?" I don't have my VCR hooked up anymore. I'm glad that I don't. I don't want to go down memory lane, but I know why he does. He wants to impress his new girlfriend. I may have boxes full of my old disks, and videos from live shows, but I don't have awful band pictures hanging on my wall from days gone bye.

Sometimes I forget that your friends will speak highly of your accomplishments in hopes of impressing others. "Yea, I'm good friends with XXXX." My friend meant well, don't get me wrong. He's my best friend, but I can tell when he has made too much of what I did back when I was just a kid in a punk band. That time was special to him, just as much as it was special to me. His perspective is his own. Mine is from behind the drums. It was a sober, working drummer's view. His was view was from the front of the stage with a beer in his hand.

This is not to say that I don't sometimes use my prior musical accomplishments to impress others. We all want to be recognized in some way. Heck, dropping my old band name got me many gigs. I will continue to use it, as long as there are people that remember it. That brings me to my next point. Fewer patrons of the arts remember my old band, as they are now young enough to be my children. This is not an old man's sport.

I can't watch videos of my performances without seeing every mistake. I hate the way I look when I play. I pull faces, slouch,and look around to my left and right too fast and too often. Everything goes in slow motion when I am playing, so when I see it in real time I notice that I'm not looking too cool. Why would I want to watch myself on video? I understand why some bands videotape their rehearsals. It is a great way to hone your visual side. I think I can tell when someone has been working on their stage presence in front of a mirror, or watched videos of themselves. They look too polished for a cheesy Milwaukee nightclub. I do prefer performance over shoe gazing though.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Horton Heat at Turner Hall Milwaukee | Psychobilly Comes to Town

Horton Heat Milwaukee
I fully expect to see some greased back hair tonight at Turner Hall. If I'm lucky, the Psychobilly chicks will be there too. The reverb will be cranked to ten on Reverend Horton Heat's hollow body guitar, and the drums will pound out rhythms at 200 beats per minute.

I like psychobilly music because it combines super fast beats, with smoking hot guitar licks. Punk rock is certainly fast music, but it generally lacks that higher level of performance when playing instruments. Horton Heat is backed up by two bands tonight. Split Lip Rayfield is Midwestern bluegrass at its best. Th' Legendary Shackshakers are a band that (to me) mixes a punk visual with a rockabilly sound. I can't think of a better way to shake off this mid-term election nightmare than to spend the night at Turner Hall.