I keep hoping that one of these days, I'm going to be able to just sit back and enjoy a show at DNA, without spending the whole night stressing out about it.
Well, all things considered, the KMFDM show on monday went pretty well. I was far more nervous about this show than any previous event we've done. It was so much work to set up; it seems like every time I saw Alexis, he was trying to nail down some other detail of it. I just kept bracing for disaster: to find out that an hour after doors, the band decided to cancel for some reason or other. But no, they played!
It wasn't until Kidneythieves and 16 Volt finished, and KMFDM actually started playing that I was able to settle down, and convince myself that yes, everything was going to be ok...
The only real hassle I had to deal with was that half of the video on the webcast was missing during the Kidneythieves set, because KMFDM's video guy had decided that he'd just go ahead and re-use one of our webcast cameras for his own purposes. (I noticed in time that it wasn't turned on, but I didn't notice that he'd also moved where its video was routed!) I'm going to have to make the "Don't Touch" sign on that camera even ruder.
Oh, then one of the big-ass monitor speakers up in the DJ booth fell on me. Apparently some time in the last few weeks, someone broke one of the legs off of the tripod that it sits on, and instead of fessing up, they just left it precariously propped there for someone else to discover the hard way. Jackass. We're lucky it fell in instead of out, or it could have killed someone.
Anyway, it was a good show. All three bands put on energetic performances, and there was very little in the way of recorded backing material. (I'm a sucker for seeing people on stage who are actually playing instruments!) The crowd was really enthusiastic, and enough people showed up that we broke even.
But I must say, this was the worst sounding live show we've ever done. That was a real disappointment, and it's pretty obviously because the band insisted on using a lot of the gear they were traveling with, instead of the club's sound system. So we ended up with this Frankenstein hybrid sound system that had been installed and tuned in one afternoon, instead of our in-house system which was designed for this room from the start.
I think a lot of it was an attitude like, "we're not driving this 18-wheeler around the country for nothing, dammit, we're going to use it!" This was certainly true of the lights:
|KMFDM's Lighting Tech:||Let's just leave our lights on the truck.|
|KMFDM's Tour Manager:||No, we're using our lights.|
|Lighting Tech:||But DNA's lights are better than ours.|
|Tour Manager:||We brought them, we're using them!|
I assume a similar set of conversations happened about each piece of the mountain of sound gear. It took Alexis weeks to talk them out of bringing in half a dozen VW-bug-sized subwoofers. I don't know where they expected to put the audience with all the gear they wanted to bring in.
It's pretty ironic that, when these bands travel with so much gear (presumably in an attempt to live out their Van Halen rockstar fantasies of 80' speaker stacks on 200' wide stages, with flight-harnesses and Stonehenge dropping from the ceiling and whatnot) what happens when they play non-stadium venues is that there's so much gear on stage that none of them can move! They want to feel they have a big show, and it results in them not being able to shuffle two feet from their assigned spots. Whereas bands with more realistic (and no less loud) amounts of gear have plenty of room to run around...
They ended up using their own mixing console instead of ours, which they had to put in the corner under the main stairs, because it was like 10' wide and 800 pounds, and there was no way it would fit up on the catwalk where our mixing console normally lives. So I don't know whether the problem was their extra speakers, or that their console was crap, or that their sound guy liked the sound of muddy vocals and constant clipping, or what. But it sounded like ass.
That didn't stop them from working the crowd, though: from watching the crowd move, it seems that everyone was really into it. I just wish they had trusted us a little more, and given us the chance to make their show sound good as well.
To accommodate their lights, and all the extra speakers they brought on stage with them, we had to re-route some electricity. Since we've had to do this before (to make VNV Nation's light show work), and probably will again, this time we did some more permanent work to make it easier: we had one of those fancy-pants high-amperage plug sockets installed above the men's bathroom. (Please do not lick.)
Hassles aside, it was a good time, and it's always great to see live music happening here; that's the whole point, after all!
Check out the photos...
The Mozilla party was fun. But deeply weird. I saw a bunch of people I hadn't seen in years, and it was cool catching up with them (or as much as you can in a five minute shouted conversation.) I only had three unfortunate fanboy incidents, so that was merciful. But it was a very strange crowd: not just in that they were nerdy, but that there was a higher-than-usual concentration of complete nutcases, above and beyond our usual collection of lunatics who show up only when admission is free.
Funniest moment: someone radioed down to the front door to ask what the clicker count was. Whoever was up front radioed back, "We've had three hundred through the door so far. And uh, six cute ones, over." Then two minutes later, "That would be seven, over."
Apparently there were a number of people who came in, bought a Mozilla t-shirt, and turned around left immediately.
Speaking of t-shirts, the Mozilla crew sold all 200 of the shirts they brought with them. They were set up right next to coat-check, which is where we sell DNA t-shirts. We sold... one. One! That's so sad! Isn't DNA Lounge a part of the Mozilla mythology now? Don't we have a super-cool logo? Here, make me feel better, go buy a t-shirt now.
jna loaned me an Airport, so now we have a public wireless network inside the club. We're filtering out the major bandwidth-hogging services on it (RealVideo, the Napster descendants, etc.) but we don't yet have any real traffic-shaping in place, so please play nice lest you use bandwidth that is needed by our webcasts and I pull the plug.
I think someone stole my bicycle last friday or saturday.
I say "I think" because I just can't imagine how this could have happened, and yet, the bike is gone. I left it parked in the club's kitchen, as usual. It would have been really difficult for someone to wander in off the street, make it that far into the building, and leave again without being spotted, especially since the only time the doors are unlocked is when there are a lot of people around. But I've searched the building from top to bottom enough times that I'm reasonably certain it didn't just get moved somewhere strange. What a pain in the ass.
Well, you may have heard that the Librarian of Congress released the final ruling on the additional webcasting rates: they are half of what CARP proposed, but still high enough that they will put nearly every webcaster out of business, since the new fees will be way more than any of them make. And certainly more than we make here, since we don't make a dime on our webcasts. Buy a t-shirt, won't you?
As far as I can tell, the only "appeal process" remaining is to write your representatives and get Congress to change the existing law. Save Internet Radio has links and suggested messages.
Wow, check this out, from RAIN (Radio and Internet Newsletter): the author of the Yahoo deal on which the new RIAA webcasting royalty rate was based has come forward to say that the deal was specifically designed to make it impossible for small webcasters to compete!
Now, no one asked me any of these things prior, during, or after the first or second pricing. I'm not sure that this matters. But if it does, here it is: The Yahoo! deal I worked on, if it resembles the deal the CARP ruling was built on, was designed so that there would be less competition, and so that small webcasters who needed to live off of a "percentage-of-revenue" to survive, couldn't.
Please don't drop dead of non-shock.
And in local news: S.F. bars closed for serving coffee without a permit:
San Francisco police pulled the plug on World Cup parties in several Richmond District bars early Friday, minutes after the 4:30 a.m. start of the U.S.-Germany quarterfinals match. The barkeeps' crime? Throwing open their doors and serving free coffee without a "cabaret" permit.
[...] Bar owners say the police have known what they are doing all along and never even hinted they needed a permit, especially since the celebrations were alcohol-free. There were even police officers in the crowd watching the game.
[...] Police asked the bar's owner, 24-year-old Emma O'Rourke, whether she had an after-hours permit for the event. O'Rourke argued she didn't need one because it was a private party. She refused to close. Police, who said O'Rourke strongly protested with "colorful" language, cited her for keeping a bar open after hours and resisting arrest.
We were sitting in the office the other day at like 4pm, and noticed on the security camera some guy walk up to our door and start peeing. So of course Casey bolts for the door (she's fast when she wants to be!) and gets there just after the guy finished, and his friend started peeing in the same spot. So she slams the door open, and we get to watch her soundless, arm-waving, head-shaking rant on the monitor.
She says she started off with something like, "not only is that disgusting, but it's illegal! Who said our door was your urinal, do you think we want to smell that?" Genius 1 retorts, "well call the cops then!" Genius 2 says, "well, do you have a bathroom in there?" "Not for YOU!" Casey was unable to determine whether his balls were, in fact, made of steel.
I swear, one of these days I'm gonna hook up a remote-controled super-soaker so we can just drench pigs like these from the comfort of the office.
Sadly, the webcam did not archive the action this time.
Our one year anniversary is coming up! It definitely doesn't seem like it's been that long since we opened (though it feels like a lifetime since we started remodeling.)
We were going to have a semi-private party celebrating it -- the plan was that we'd get our promoters' main djs to play for free, get the distributors to kick in some booze, and we'd invite all of the promoters, djs, and staff's friends to come hang out and drink for free. But that all fell apart, because half the people Alexis talked to about it were holding out their hands. A bunch of the djs would only do it if they got paid; most of the distributors weren't willing to pitch in anything; the printer wouldn't give us a break on the invitations; and basically nobody was able to see it as "we're throwing a party for you" and were instead looking for their profit angle from it. Whatever. It shouldn't be this hard to do something nice for people, so we bailed on that idea.
I guess that makes the Melon party on July 13 our anniversary party by default.