By Nathanael Boehm Sep.22.2008
In: Other, Production

My band's first gig

First of all a big thanks to Jye for inviting me to contribute to The Music Blogs and it’s been awesome to see how popular the blog has been since being formally launched only a few weeks ago.

My name is Nathanael and I’m a 25-year-old Canberra musician. Well, my main job is as a web designer and team leader in government but you’re probably not really interested in that. I play the drums, percussion, keyboard/piano and bass guitar.

Tastes in music range from Darkane, Static-X and Disturbed, Trivium, Dream Theater and Tool through Metalheadz, Goldie / Rufige Kru, Andy C and Limewax through to Nick Warren, John Digweed, Basement Jaxx, Juno Reactor, Daft Punk, Francois K, Paul Mac and to Living End, Coheed and Cambria, The Mars Volta, The Prodigy, Cog, Pendulum, Moloko, The Presets, Muse, Massive Attack … and heaps more. So pretty diverse.

Mallacoota/Genoa gig by NathanaelBI toyed with solo house music production for a little while but that just didn’t work for me so I’m sticking with instruments for now and my latest band I joined only 4 weeks ago as drummer had their first gig on Saturday evening 4.5 hours away down in Genoa near Mallacoota across the NSW/VIC border.

Nothing overly big – just a 50th birthday party that half the town was invited to attend. Big bonfire, lots of drinking and dancing. I ended up getting roped into playing with two other bands during the night. Really good time – absolutely loved the gig and enjoyed the evening.

Luckily it ended up I didn’t have to take my drumkit all the way down to Mallacoota for the gig as a kit was provided by one of the other bands; but one thing I learned some years ago is that it always helps if you at least have your own cymbals. It’s like taking your own pillow when you travel … if you do that (I don’t but I understand why you might). So I took my cymbals including a Pearl PPS-37 clamp bracket for mounting my splash off the cymbal stand, rubber bands, key and obviously drum sticks. Also can’t hurt to take tape – my old “Hondo” drumkit was held together with nothing but sticky tape! At the very least it can come in handy to tape snares to the resonant skin of a snare drum when the snare clamp fails as they inevitably do with age.

Also another tip is make sure you get a foldback! You need it just as much as the guys up the front and you’re probably going to need your own dedicated wedge. Speaking of which, you really do trust the sound engineer with your life or at least your health. I had a cable or connection go bad on a foldback I had on a gig once and the sound nearly deafened me. I couldn’t hear out of my left ear for the rest of the performance.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to learn more than just how to play your instrument if you want to get into live performances and recording or get into a band. You need to learn how to play with other people, to fit in and complement … and if you’re a drummer then how to set the pace and feel. Understand music theory so you can explain what’s wrong when you realise something isn’t working. Know microphones, leads, connections, speakers, amplification, effects, sound theory, mixing and equalisation. Expand your repertoire beyond your signature beat or riff and learn how to play ideas rather than notes. Understand what it means to make a beat more “airy” or make a riff feel “reggae”.

Anyway – that was my weekend; hopefully some useful advice too.

Nathanael Boehm