[Harp-L] First Featured Solo Gig

Mike Fugazzi
Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/MikeFugazziMusic>
Quicksilver Custom Harmonicas
Last night I had my first solo performance...well, sorta. I had played 3-4
songs solo as part of larger gigs, but never a featured set ( an hour and
fifteen minutes).

I do a one-man-band set with a looper, effects, and harmonica.

The venue was a really classy place with a great stage. The FOH was all top
end powered QSC stuff and the sound man went so far as to email me early in
the day to make sure he was prepared for my rig.

The sound was exceptional. My playing was not, lol. I did fine, and it was a
fantastic experience for my first run, but there are plenty of bugs/details
to work out. It was a lot of fun. There were about 20 people there, and the
headlining act which was a six piece funk band (they were awesome and had a
crowd of about 30-40 when I left).

The band after me came up right away when I finished and were checking out
my rig and complimenting me on how fun and unique the set was. That was
really reaffirming as if I could fool a few educated musicians, I might have
a chance at this.

Anyways, I play the same set tomorrow, which will hopefully be more relaxed.
I've never had stage freight until last night. I can totally see, though,
why people play solo/duo. It is almost automatically more intimate and there
really is no way to hide on stage. With a full band, for example, no one
really notices when you screw up a riff or lyric. On your own, it echoes
through the club like thunder.

The only technical issues I had were with my stompbox and looper. The
stompbox would slide on the floor and it would drift further and further
away through a song (so my timing sucked). I tried putting it spots where it
was against something and wouldn't slide, but it always found a way to move.
I'll put something like skateboard tape on the bottom tonight.

I had spent about a year looping with my M13, but got a Boomerang III this
week. I decided, knowing it was risky, to use that last night. I knew if I
let myself use the M13, I wouldn't switch to the Rang.

I have to elevate it on my board. A couple of times my foot hit the lip of
the board and I didn't engage/disengage the pedal right and is screwed up my
timing or what have you. The whole night, though, I think there were only
two times I had to quickly stop/erase a loop because it was off or was
recording over itself...totally my user error.

I brought a tambourine and shaker but only used them on one original tune. I
am not coordinated enough to use them real well yet. I also need to work on
solo train type songs. While I can technically play them, I had a fair
amount of anxiety last night and wasn't always really into what I was
playing (too worried about other things).

Finally, the rig itself sounded fantastic. It was everything I wanted and
more. I had fabulous bass tones to the point of others asking if I was using
bass backing tracks. The beatboxing sounded percussive but not too
slicing....my HG2 sounded perfect. It was a total joy to play and for
whatever reason, I had no issues with the POG2 creating speaker distorion.

My rig is seemingly complicated, but actually my whole setup took less than
five minutes. I plugged in my board and amp and then plugged two XLR cables
into DIs...done.

So, my current conclusion: This is totally workable and people enjoyed the
format. I wasn't even very good at it, but it was unique enough to hold an
audience. Having a schtick for between songs, etc is a must. I was picking
on a college student wearing an Aaron Rodgers jersey and Super Bowl hat and
he and others totally ate it up (granted, this was very low key). The
Yankees game was on, and I am a HARDCORE Yanks fan, so I let the crowd know
and we were teasing each other.

When the Yankees finally lost, I stopped my loop mid-song for a moment of
silence. We then stared taking bets on football scores for the week, etc.
Point being, having fun with the audience kept them engaged and let me make
mistakes without getting booed.

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