Keith at Brea — 17Nov2007

Well, I suppose it’s only fair that the best gig we’ve had in a long time (Brea Downtown last week) should be followed by the worst gig I’ve had, probably ever. My own fault, though — I shoulda known better than to accept Geneva’s offer to come along and take some video of my performance. I always fall apart when I know the camera’s watching me, I just didn’t expect to fall apart so badly. Luckily for Warren, I was solo.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to relax at first, so I did several songs without the tape running. But it didn’t help much — as soon as the camera *was* running, I started making huge mistakes in every song.

Fortunately (?!?) it didn’t matter anyway, because I had wired up an external microphone to the camera, hoping to get only the amp’s output, and none of the talking, crashing and grinding of the coffeeshop. This turned out to be a big mistake, because the mic caused a loud buzz/hum on the audio track, all the way through. I tried to use some audio software to remove the buzz, and that works, except it makes what’s left sound all weird and ring-ey.

So, it was pretty much lose-lose — I didn’t get any usable video, and the customers got a bad performance.

Consolation prizes: some usable still shots snagged from the video (above), and a pair of nice conversations with Geneva in the car, up and back.

To be fair, the big mistakes in each song, while too embarrassing for me to want to keep for posterity, were probably not always noticeable or deal-killing to the general customers. I made $24 in tips (and gave half to Geneva), so I must have done something right. And probably 4 or 6 of the songs on the video would have been usable if the sound hadn’t gotten so trashed.

One older dapper oriental guy apparently tuned in during “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye”, and came and stood to watch for a while (he was just shopping, not hanging in the coffeeshop). He asked Geneva for the name of “that song with the ‘million years’ in it”, which she didn’t know, so I told him. He listened for a few more songs, and then asked if I would play it again (while depositing some tip money), so I did. Musta struck some kinda nerve with the guy, ‘cuz he smiled big-time all the way through it.

Anyway, I think I know what I did wrong with the mic and camera, so I could try again sometime, but it’ll be a while before I get stupid enough to do that to myself again. (Oddly, having the video running at Brea Downtown last week didn’t bother me. Maybe that’s the way to go…)

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