Meanderings

P.A. System Thoughts

I often think that there must be a different PA system for every musician.

I've never seen two musicians turn up at an event with identical set ups.

Last time I showed up to play the market, there was a band with a PA system shaped like a lampost.

Nowadays, I have a little crate system that is easy to wheel about and assemble.

Last year, though, when we were playing as the Rustix, we had a set up loosely pieced together from various junk stores. The bass amp was a little wooden box affair, more carpenter than engineer. The other amps were an odd collection of obscure brands and knob sizes. Special effects included, buzz, drone, and crackle. Kind of like electronic breakfast cereal. Good for the cholestoral but bad for the ears.

Playing at the Fairhaven Wednesday Market is fun though. It's a very relaxed affair. Vendors set up in a rectangle around the village green whilst hoolahoopers and sunbathers mill around soaking up the pleasant ambiance. It kind of reminds me of a compact little festival.

Generally there are 2 bands who play. Music starts at 3 and winds down around 7. The vendors are very appreciative of the music and it doesn't take long to get to know everyone. It's a very family friendly day out. Even dogs are allowed.

But getting back to PA systems.....

One of the worst bar PA systems I used must have been in Ingolstadt town in Bavaria. This thing must have fell off the back of a lorry.... and gotten smashed up and duct taped back together again. Garunteed distortion. I could sing like a Dalek. It was an embarrassment to plug into. Luckily the crowd drowned me out.

Then there was the system in the Furth Irish pub. This place had a tiny stage about the size of a doorstep. The PA system was just a huge amp on a shelf at my back. I was litterally standing against it. So, for my ears it was loud even when turned down low, but for the crowd to hear me, I had to turn it up loud. The result was brutal. The crowd retreated involuntarily to the back of the room. They're lips moved as they cried for mercy but I could not hear them. I walked around in a deafened state of confusion for a week.