Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trowar Report: 25 October 2013

We did another gig at the same venue (Pete's Bar & Grill) in the same town (Carnation, Washington) for the same reason (to get our chops up) on Oct. 25th.  We were the first of two bands to play.  The second band did not know until they arrived and saw our gear on stage we were playing first.  If they were pissed, they did a great job of concealing it.  Although I didn't interact with them too much personally (I was able to catch a ride home pretty early - don't really like hanging out after shows), they seemed like a real nice bunch of guys.  This was a pretty good sized crowd and they were primed to celebrate on this, the last weekend before Halloween.

I'm proud to say this was our strongest gig to date.  Vocals were the main priority for this gig, esp. Fred's lead vocals.  He did great.  He was plenty loud enough and he stayed on the mic.  Anytime there were any rough patches, he was back at it - he didn't let the less-than-stellar moments stop him from persisting on his singing efforts.  And to be honest, I don't remember any less-than-stellar vocal moments.  We were able to overcome the awful acoustics in that bar and nail our harmonies.  This is thanks in large part to our vocal coach Emily, who had worked with Fred and I earlier in the day.
This is the view I wake up to.  Looks like a damn
Russell Chatham painting.  Awesome.
We provided an interesting contrast to the second band.  We were loud and play aggressively, doing only originals, dressing in street clothes.  They did covers in the rockabilly style, completely kitted up as pirates and zombies and whatnot for the Halloween crowd that had gathered.  I noticed more crowd involvement this time - I saw some head bobbing, clapping after the tunes and even a little hollering between songs.  Usually the praise is directed at us after we tear down our gear; it was nice to get some love while we were still on the stage.  There was a lot more dancing for the second band, but creating "danceable" music is not high on our list of priorities.  
Obligatory gear shot of the T-20 and the
Ampeg SVT-350.   Tone and volume have
been a struggle with me in this band.  I'm
hoping to address this soon.  I've got ideas.
As usual, it was not a perfect performance, but with each gig, the confidence, precision and wealth of improvised ideas popping up in the music get better.  Areas for improvement:  continue working on vocals (lead and harmony) and keep them high in the mix, and work on eye contact/interband communication during tunes. The rest is fine tuning what is already there.
Grafetti on the box truck we use to haul gear, courtesy of an
unknown artist.
Some notable differences in this trip (beside some difficulties on the travel home - sux when you arrive on the flight before your luggage's flight):  It was a short weekend.  As a band, we only had time to rehearse the day of the gig.  We ran the set as a band, took a break, and camp back and did a concentrated rehearsal with Emily focusing less on the song structures and more on the vocals.  In a way, I like this abbreviated schedule forced us to focus on problem areas to make sure they were ready by evening time.  It also didn't give us enough time to succumb to the pre-gig head games.  This was key.

Smart advertising on our part, you gotta admit.
That's the trip in a nutshell.  There's probably plenty I've forgotten to mention.  But I'll have some other Trowar news coming up soon.  I will update when the details are finalized!

Landing in Indianapolis


  1. What kind of issues are you having with tone and volume? Is the SVT not loud enough? We've been working with issues like that in Black Kaspar - generally, if your guitarists are using 100 watt heads you need at least 300 watts to keep up without destroying your tone. You may have to add a slave amp to your rig.

    1. Bill - that is exactly the issue. Even with everything "redlined" on the SVT, I can't be heard any too clearly. The amp is being pushed to it's limits and the tone is muddy and ill defined. The altered tuning (which is lower than standard tuning) probably doesn't help either since, I'm guessing, it takes even more power to push a lower frequency.

      One option I'm exploring is a direct input box. These can be used with an amp to fine tune the tone; but more importantly, you can bypass the amp all together and plug directly into the PA system. There's also the portability factor - I could throw it in a suitcase and take it anywhere and count on a relatively uniform sound (or maybe I'm niave on that count?) wherever the venue. We're planning on hitting several cities soon (Bloomington, Atlanta, Seattle, Los Angeles) so the portability might become a big selling point. But like I say, I need to look into it.