We played at the Minnesota State Fair on Friday morning, where I was able to make a couple of appearances on live TV – I was acting like a jackass behind one of the local TV newscasters.
The show was okay. Suffice it to say, we have sounded better. But it wasn’t our fault, entirely. The good news is that we got to eat as much bacon as we wanted for free. I had one slice, but Nathaniel had two.
I showed up for the gig without a guitar amplifier, which is usually no problem. But, at this gig there were no monitors…big problem. Nathaniel, our fill-in drummer of the day, and Ryan were unable to hear both my vocals and my guitar – a recipe for disaster. We played valiantly, but in the end, we were unable to overcome the fact that Nathaniel and Ryan had no way of telling where we were in the songs. Oops!
BUT, none of that really mattered, because the sound guys had the actual floor speakers turned so low that even the crowd of 200 people could barely hear us, and most of them were too busy talking and eating bacon to notice that we were even there.
So, I took away a few lessons from the experience:
- ALWAYS bring a guitar amp. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS! I am even considering bringing an extra vocal monitor to events that might not supply them.
- Don’t play gigs that lead to a negative cash flow. Okay. This isn’t going to be a hard fast rule. If it was, I would never be able to play another gig again. In the case of this gig, though, we had to pay $53 just to get into the fair and park. That’s some expensive shit to play a show where people barely notice that we are there.
- Sometimes cool venues don’t equal cool shows. The State Fair is awesome. It truly is. But that doesn’t mean playing a gig at the State Fair will be awesome. Like other cool venues we have played (The Boat Gig, The Fine Line), the State Fair just isn’t a good venue for a band like ours. Some of our best gigs have been at rinky-dink places like The Terminal Bar and Hexagon Bar.
All that said, I am glad that we played the show. Sometimes it’s better to try and fail than to never try. I really believe that.