Well, I figured out what was wrong with the webcast, sorta: SoundWeb had decided to stop switching the relay that toggles between the DJ coffin and the live board. So I was able to get it back online by jamming a wire into it and shorting the switch. Dusty came by a few days later and fixed SoundWeb to switch properly, though I think he didn't quite understand what had made it go wrong in the first place.
Everything was fine for a few days, but then on thursday, I needed to reboot the webcast machine, and when it came back up, it was only hearing static! I spent like three hours fighting with it, and finally gave up and went out into main room to enjoy the party. (Though we didn't get a recording of the night, at least we have some photos...) Frederick figured out what was going on the next day: apparently there's this arcane setting on the DiO sound card we're using called "Phase Inverse", and when the machine boots up, sometimes it needs to be set one way, and sometimes the other: if you get it wrong, you get static. Beautiful.
In better news, I got a second webcast machine! Yes, the Dot Bomb has been good to me again; a friend's company built this huge data center that they never used, so I was able to pick up a new VA FullOn 2200 for super cheap. So now we're doing the RealVideo encoding on one machine, and the MP3 encoding on another, and neither of them has to run ASD (a moderately flaky and slow piece of software that lets two programs share one audio card.) So we should no longer have the problem with the RealVideo image getting stuck on one frame, and the audio and video in the Real stream should be synchronized again.
Last friday was Spanksgiving, and it was great fun! We had a really good turnout, and lots of fabulous outfits. There was fire, there was latex, there were people humping belt sanders. And it was good. The first batch of pictures has rolled in, check them out!
So get this bit of prima-donna-ism. Last friday at the Growling Mad Scientists show -- which was a good show, don't get me wrong -- there was this "issue" with the live sound board. See, the band refused to use either of the 32 channel mixing boards we have: apparently neither of them were good enough. So the promoters rented their own live board for the show. Now, that's not totally unreasonable, right? Well, unless you actually watched what they did with it.
They used three channels. That's it.
The guys on stage played keyboards, DATs, and had their own DJ mixer; they passed off three already-mixed channels to the live sound guy, who did nothing more than tweak the volume and EQ settings occasionally. If you weren't paying attention, you might think he was doing effects or something, but he wasn't: that was done by the guys on stage. They were using this powerful (and enormously heavy!) 32 channel board to do what any $150 DJ mixer in the world can do.
Well, whatever. The promoters paid for this nonsense, not us, so if it makes them happy, great.
We now have a winner for the most repulsive flyer I've seen for one of our events to date: I thought the first Stompy flyer was the ultimate experience in horror, but the Naughty Christmas flyer definitely takes the cake: a cartoon Santa grabbing a stripper's ass.
Apparently the DNA Lounge has relocated to Las Vegas. Shoot me now.
These guys kept asking Alexis if I was going to come to their event, because after reading the bitching I'd done about house music, they felt like I just needed to see their event to understand what it was all about, because they do it right. He finally got them to give up when he said, "you don't understand. Jamie doesn't like the house parties we do here because he thinks they're too mainstream.." They said, "...Oh." Apparently they don't like the other house parties we do here, but because they think they're just too alternative and weird...
We had another first: tomorrow's VNV Nation show sold out yesterday! It's going to be a busy weekend, with VNV on Thursday, then Hallucinogen on Friday, then Pigface on Saturday, and I'm happy to say that I fully expect to enjoy them all! Things have definitely been improving here lately: we're having a lot more events that I enjoy, so the Sucks-o-Meter has been dropping out of the red zone. If only we weren't still broke...
Here are some of the things people are searching for that lead them to this web site.
- "dealing with DNA damage in different ways"
- "what's something good for smoking"
- "san francisco disco ball"
- "zombies eating on people"
- "sat watching the guy in the next stall through a tiny hole in the wall"
- "flowchart fast-food restaurant"
- "firefighter naked calendar"
- "hanging bead strings instead of doors"
Referer logs rule!
Well the Pigface show was not only a good show, and a successful event for us, but it was one of the best shows I've seen in years. I had so much fun! And that's quite a feat, given how nervous I was about it, and how much I was looking for things going wrong. Pigface not only put on an ass-kicking performance, they were also all great live musicians, something I don't see enough of these days. I've seen them four or five times, and this was far and away the best I've seen them.
Alexis did a fantastic job putting this show together, and again I have to thank the Red Melon folks for graciously agreeing to give up one of their saturdays so we could do this show instead!
And, we did not hemorrhage money on this event, like we thought we might! It's really hard to not lose money on live shows, since there is so much more overhead than for a DJ event, so the fact that we just about broke even is really good news.
The VNV Nation show on thursday was also a lot of fun; both VNV Nation and Icon of Coil are pretty good at working the crowd: they manage to make it feel like a concert instead of a DJ event, despite the fact that, aside from the singing and some of the drumming/keyboards, the majority of the music was pre-recorded. That show sold out! For a while, I was sitting on the stairs behind the stage, and that was the first time I had heard what it sounds like in the new DNA when a packed house is cheering between songs. That was great. I want to hear more of that. Michael from the pizza place next door said, "I was expecting every weekend to be like this." Man, I wish it was.
The light show VNV brought was very impressive: they brought basically the same set of lights that we already own, except they set them all up on the stage. There was actually some concern about whether they were going to be able to fit their light rig on our stage at all, but they made it work, and it looked great. They had these ominous truss towers with Studio Spots on top: and it was the same kind of truss that we have above the stage, so it all fit in really nicely. You can see that contraption in some of the pictures.
I'm not totally happy with how the webcasts sounded for these shows; the audio in the archives doesn't sound nearly as good as it did in the room. I'm not sure if this is just a compression issue, or if we will need to put an EQ on the webcast to tune it to sound more like the room as well.
Hallucinogen on friday was also a good show, and also sold out. They brought in this giant painted mask that they hung above the stage: it looked like just the multi-eyed blue face on the flyer. This thing must have been 15' tall! It's too bad none of the video cameras could see it... Very impressive. But unfortunately, the thing that's going to stick with me longest about that show is the smell. I enjoyed the music a lot, but the crowd was definitely of the "bathing optional" mindset. I don't mean the kind of B.O. you get from working out, or dancing a lot: I mean the kind you get from living under a truck for six months. We're talking weapons-grade B.O. here.
There has been the usual set of computer disasters in the last few weeks; we're still shaking out the bugs in the new webcasting setup. We decided to put an analog audio card in the RealVideo encoder machine instead of a digital card, since RealProducer seemed to be getting confused by the digital card at random times (and when it gets confused, it doesn't actually crash, so my scripts can restart it: it just starts happily broadcasting silence.) But that's not working too well either.
We finally had one of the kiosk keyboards fail unrepairably; that's the first time, which is somewhat surprising. There were finally one too many sticky drinks spilled into it. We've had to replace some keys on the keyboards so far, but never a whole keyboard until now. Also, someone punched out one of the kiosks: they smashed the plexiglass in front of the screen. Nobody saw this happen, of course; I hope it hurt like hell. This is me being really glad that I decided to put plexi in front of the screens instead of leaving the monitors exposed. Though at the time, I was more worried about people writing on them and gumming them up with stickers than with people trying to put their (hopefully tattered) fists through them...
Computer disasters continue unabated. That "Phase Inverse" nonsense on the DiO card is just not going away, and several times now the webcast has turned into pulsing static right in the middle of an event. So today we finally gave up and replaced the one remaining digital sound card with an analog one. This is sad, because we were using a digital card specifically so that the A/D conversion was happening in an external device, not inside a computer case snuggled up against the humming power supply. But, hey, that trick doesn't seem to actually work.
Also it appears that the SCSI controller on the webcast machine is flaky. This is the machine that had been in colo that was being finicky there. Well it's still being finicky, and there are a different set of disks attached to it, so it must be the controller. Which is built-in, so it needs a whole new motherboard if we want it to stop trashing its disks. "Yay."