That weekend in Chicago

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Some of you know I went off to Chicago to play with those high school show choir kids and I just got back Sunday and wanted to report in.

It was very cool to play that huge stage at the McCormick Center - and as a side-note, Chicago was having its own ComiCon cenvention going on right next door, so I managed to get great pictures of the cosplay folks in my down time - I brought out the Ludwigs and felt really at home on these drums (usually they provide a kit and insist you play it - this time I said "no, I'm bringing my own").

The interesting thing was that we got to soundcheck with the judges before the show and after soundcheck, I was told to play louder. Those of you who have seen how I play with a show choir (including me) would think I'm already playing loud enough. This particular weekend, we threw all caution to the wind and cranked up the band. Our girls group ended up taking everything by a 30-point spread. Our little trio band beat out all the other bands but since we were all adults, we're not in the running for a placement or an award (they save that for the kid orchestras - fair enough). After the soundcheck, I was being watched by all the other drummers, and the stage crew understood that Bo was giving lessons that day - it was a running joke the whole weekend, I appreciated them going with it - the judges even told the kids they'd never heard a band quite like ours. But enough about myself ;)

The "playing louder" part concerned me because for the 15 minutes of music I played both times (we had two groups there), it was actually painful. My hands hurt, my heart was beating, my breathing was fast - I felt like I was really pushing myself physically and even after our show, I had to sit down and just chill out. Granted, I'm not mic'ed up, but I'm in there with John Bonham drums, so they're already louder than everybody else's drums. I admit, as I get older, this gets harder and harder, and I have to remind myself I'm not in my 20s anymore, but this weekend those two shows just wore me out.

Of course, I'm playing next to a keyboard player who is pumping 1500 watts of PA power, and our guitar player (who plays for the band Ambrosia - yeah, those guys) is really screaming through his Marshall amp, and here I am trying to play through them, not mic'd up, and the 50 or so kids in front of me. With my hair getting longer, I must look like Animal playing so friggin' hard!

And as I watched the other groups, alot of those drummers aren't even breaking a sweat. They have horns, bass, and everyone is playing normally. Except me. I'm starting to wonder how much more of this I can take. I can handle playing with a club band for hours, but when I do this show choir stuff, I die by the time its over fifteen minutes later. There must be something wrong with me.

But it was a great weekend, and now my year with them is over. I'm seriously debating continuing on in this line of drumming work! But for now: FREEDOM!
 

sdedge

Senior Member
hahaha Bo yes its hard work sometimes,but wy did you not mic up ?,there was a 1500 watt PA systeem?.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
And as I watched the other groups, alot of those drummers aren't even breaking a sweat. They have horns, bass, and everyone is playing normally. Except me. I'm starting to wonder how much more of this I can take. I can handle playing with a club band for hours, but when I do this show choir stuff, I die by the time its over fifteen minutes later. There must be something wrong with me.

But it was a great weekend, and now my year with them is over. I'm seriously debating continuing on in this line of drumming work! But for now: FREEDOM!
Playing live at really high volume levels is something I really only started doing a few years ago. It was a huge learning curve for me, both physically and mentally. I can say that I've made the adjustment and it's not as hard as it once was. Being fit helps—I'm not anymore, but I'm trying to get back to where I was some years ago. But I find that the stamina to play really loud is just another type of chops that just takes practice. I'm no kid anymore, either, but it has gotten easier.
 

vxla

Silver Member
I had this problem a while back and found that going back to work on basic technique and focusing more on wrist power really helped. They really should have had some sort of sound reinforcement for you, Bo.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Playing at high volume is like anything else, is you do it often enough, you get used to it. If you don't do it often, it's exhausting.

But when you're playing casuals, small bars gigs, and such, it's certainly a different approach.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
hahaha Bo yes its hard work sometimes,but wy did you not mic up ?,there was a 1500 watt PA systeem?.
No, my keyboard player is pumping 1500 watts with his own system! And he's partially deaf so be pushes a lot.

And in this setting mics aren't usually used. Like I said the other bands had no problem being loud enough. We get out there and I feel like I'm trying to play to the heavens. Jeez!
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Playing at high volume is like anything else, is you do it often enough, you get used to it. If you don't do it often, it's exhausting.

But when you're playing casuals, small bars gigs, and such, it's certainly a different approach.
Well, I've been doing this all year, every year. I'm normally playing on the very loud side, this particular show I was extremely loud. And I keep wondering why the other groups aren't doing the same.

If I continue to do this, I'm debating getting a larger mixing console for the keyboard player, and micing up, at least a bass drum mic and an overhead. He's pushing 1500 watts with a Crown XLS amplifier plugged into two Yamaha A15 cabinets, so he can handle more signals going through his system. Maybe I'll add my Yamaha O1v mixer since it has compression and effects built-in too.

But I keep wondering why nobody is noticing the overkill. The drums are set-up behind risers which are partially blocking my sound from projecting forward, but so is everybody else. Can our groups of kids be singing that much louder than all the other groups? I doubt it - everyone in that 14-18 age range seems pretty much the same. So I'm perplexed. Or could I be that weak? I doubt that too since the mouse gig has me slamming over a track.
 
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