tour report - dortmund

"there is no sex in the sound here" - janosch moldau

after the relative disaster of berlin, we hoped that dortmund would make up for it in terms of show quality. i have to say that the venue (fzw) was really, really nice...i think it was brand new, only three months old or so. so the showers were really great, the main stage was huge, all the key components seemed to be in place for a great evening. after a really nice shower, i grabbed some breakfast, and caught up on email and internets.

mesh's soundcheck went a little longer than usual, because julia from teknoir (she's also in chandeen now) was going to perform "who says?" with them tonight. she did the guest vocal appearance on the album, so this was a nice bonus for their fans. it sounded pretty great when done live, not that geoff can't hold his own when singing the girl parts, haha! so, then it was time for us to soundcheck, and things started to get a bit weird. as i mentioned, the venue is pretty new, and the sound system that they have is totally state of the art. i can't remember who made it, but it was extremely high end. of course, this also means that the club is still working out little details, like having a secondary snake that can reach across the stage to our rack, or having spare 1/4" cables. aaron apparently lost his cable that connected the bass rig to the rack, so i had to run the guitar in mono tonight, no big deal really.

but back to the sound system. it sounded...extremely weird, compared to all the other venues on the tour so far. actually, it sounded pretty weird compared to any sound system i've ever heard in my life. it was extremely dry, with a lot of clarity in the upper frequencies, and a lot of pulsing sub-bass (usually a good thing), but literally nothing happening in the midrange spectrum. we had to keep jumping off the stage, and checking the mix, and making adjustments with the house sound guy (who was very nice, but i don't think he really got what we were saying about 60% of the time). finally, we got it to the point where it was "good enough", and had to let janosch do his soundcheck so that he could finish before doors opened.

while we were sitting backstage drinking, janosch uttered the magic line "there is no sex in the sound here....it's all dry, no wet", which really summed it all up perfectly. he also said one of the funniest things i'd heard in days; "every time i log into facebook, my heart dies just a little bit"...as a part of a conversation in which we discussed all of the many roles that musicians are expected to play in this day and age...

so, how was the show then? well, much as with the venue, it seemed like all the components were there. i think we put on a technically decent performance, and had great lights and were certainly loud, yet i didn't feel like we really connected to the audience somehow. though by the time we were done, we had done a decent job of getting some of the crowd moving, and the venue was filling rapidly during our set time, so i can't complain too much. but the entire way through the performance i had this unsettling feeling that somehow the sound mix was just way off in the crowd, so i never really felt comfortable or confident up there. truly a harbinger of things to come. when i say that 'berlin broke my heart', i'm not joking. it definitely spooked me and set the tone for the remainder of the tour, in a downhill direction.

now, the big upside to this night was that we had scheduled a radio interview with mr. damien bailey of ebm-radio.de, and since he'd read my earlier tour blogs about how terrible the beer was backstage, he told us that he was going to bring us a wide variety of german beers so that we wouldn't think becks and warsteiner were the best the country had to offer. and let me tell you, he was on the money! once we got him backstage, he pulled out SIXTEEN different beers for us to try out, i have to say it was one of the nicest things that anyone did for us the entire time we were on the road! we immediately set about sampling them, while giving the interview, which finally ended after about 8 or 9 beers were consumed over the course of about 2 hours.

i hope we didn't say too many embarrassing things, though i bet we did. aaron shot a ton of video from this night, so i'm really looking forward to getting all of that edited, and put online...some of the footage is absolutely priceless! at the very least, i think the interview was really unique, and probably the best and most candid interview we've ever done. da5id and i definitely prefer to do interviews where our voices are recorded, as opposed to the "questionaire" style interview we always get from the magazines. unfortunately, we missed seeing mesh this evening, but i think we did pretty well anyway! janosch said that it was the longest interview he'd ever seen or heard, haha!

big big thanks to damien bailey for the best interview we've ever done! also thanks to the sound crew at fzw for your help, i hope the kinks get worked out of the system!

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