Monday, September 19, 2011


We Don't Need No Stinkin' Sound Gear!

Here's a great video from one of my favorite youtube stars, "Danielle Ate The Sandwich". Please watch it on youtube and read her description of how she saved her own show from cancellation by performing outside a rained out venue. If you're used to playing without gear and playing well, you too can have shows like this. I love gear-less shows myself...both playing and listening to.

I was at The Oregon Country Fair a few years ago and it was pouring rain...the sound was out at this one stage...half the crowd gathered under the bit of shelter the stage afforded... the other half was in the rain...I wondered, "Who's this?"...I worked my way to wear I could see and hear...there was this young woman playing guitar and singing gearless, over not only the rain, the thunder, her own guitar, but two other musicians as well. That woman was Raina Rose and it was one of the best sets of live acoustic music I've ever heard. Here's one of her gear-less videos:

Later in that same rainy day my good friend Jim Page was playing on the same stage. No gear, just him. Again, crowd half in and half out of the rain. He then invited as many people as would fit on the stage itself to share what little dryness there was. Both on stage and off I could hear every word he sang. One time, ‎Jim was playing a show in Taiwan and when the promoters and the police began to fight over whether Jim could finish his set past the time when the sound level rules kicked in, he said, "Hey people. This is an acoustic instrument." and finished his set gear-less in front of the stage. Jim's been playing gearless at the Pike Place Market in Seattle for years so this was no big deal. Here's one of his gear-less videos:

Just this past weekend a local fundraiser, Michelle McAfee and I were scheduled to play at 6. The sound system was not ready. We were on a tight schedule with lots of bands and a hard, end-of-the-night deadline. So we played gear-less in front of the stage and it went great. Here's one of my gear-less videos:

All it takes is practice and some good technique. There are many performers who are lost without their gear, but the basic elements of music for thousands and thousands of years have been the human voice and acoustic instruments. I don't mind sound gear and in some venues it's a must, but I much prefer doing the old-fashioned way.

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