This is what we'd call an "enhanced tips & treats" gig. A tips & treats gig is one where the restaurant/coffeehouse/whatever gives you food and drink and lets you collect tips. This one was enhanced because they also paid us some. Not as much as we'd usually charge for such a gig, but we were happy with the results.
And they want us back. Which is way cool.
Best of all was the Fallen Angel came down and did quite a bit of video recording. You can see the first of the results after the break.
We played two sets between 6:30 and 8:30 pm. For our first set we had a pretty full house. By the second set it had emptied out quite a bit and we played to assorted people who were mainly coming in and out to get to go orders.
I was pretty happy to see a number of folks during the first set that had actually come in to watch us (instead of just treating it like an unexpected bonus). Lots of applause, some good tips, a few CD sales. Nice!
And we played well too. Bonus!
Since it's a smallish room all we did for sound system was my little "party box" and mixer. Thaddeus and I shared my fat can condensor mike, Dean had his tiny bass amp and a vocal mike. Nothing else. We managed to hit the right level straight away.
OK. Maybe not straight away. It had been so long since I used the party box that it took several minutes of head scratching before I got things working.
But everyone, even at the far end of the room could hear us and none of the restaurant people were making with the "turn it down" motions so we think we did good. I think the only thing I'd change is adding one more mike in for Andrew's occasional backup vocals.
Lots of discussion happens on the various ukulele forums about sound systems. Often people suggest systems that are designed with a rock band in mind and/or are way more expensive than you'd want to spend.
I've used this a lot since I've gotten it. Whenever there's a place where they have no sound system I take the party box. It'll handle up to a medium sized room with no problems and it has the capability of running a satellite speaker off of it to handle even a largish room. Thad and I did that once (though it might have been his party box... which he no long has). It's about the size and weight of a medium guitar amp. I add in a Behringer Eurorack UB1202 mixer because the party box's built-in mixer doesn't provide phantom power and I like my condensor microphone.
To the right is a thumbnail pic of the UB1202 (it too pops up to full-sized when clicked). It's about 2/3 to 3/4 the size of my laptop. The mixer, all the necessary cords and the microphone box (holding the fat can condensor and the pencil condensor) all fit into a rolling suitcase that's smaller than the -- already pretty small -- PM-50. And the suitcase is nowhere near "crammed full."
I take the "tape out" from the mixer and run it into the tape/CD in of the party box. When you add in the dynamic mikes that the party box can handle all by itself I have enough inputs to run a quartet through with no trouble whatsoever.
And if you're just a solo act and either have dynamic mikes or one of those inline power supplies for a condensor you can skip the mixer entirely. The party box will handle two dynamic mikes (or one mike for vocals and a direct in for an instrument with a pickup) all by itself.
Here's a quick peek at the mixer built into the top of the party box. You can see the tape/CD in as well the two channels that will accept either an XLR mike input or a 1/4 inch direct input. Click the pic for the usual larger view.
What all this means is that I have a sound system that can be carried in by one person in, at the most, two trips from the vehicle. And the extra trip is just for the mike stand(s).
Basically, if I'm doing a solo gig and need to bring my own sound I can carry everything I need in just two trips.
The whole sound system, including microphones, stands and assorted cords was purchased brand new and it all cost around $400. Can't hardly beat that with a stick.
I hope that the preceding has been helpful to those of you who're wondering about such subjects. And now, for all of you, here's the first video (of 5) from last night's gig. It's Ain't Misbehavin' by Thomas "Fats" Waller, Andy Razaf and Harry Brooks. I posted a video of me doing a solo ukulele version of this song a bit over a week ago. Compare and contrast. It's quite a bit different in a combo situation, even though it's basically the same arrangement.
Check out Dean's mouth trumpet solo. It's just boss!
As usual, you can also check it out on its YouTube page (just in case the embedded vid doesn't work for you).