This Sunday just gone (25th October), I had the great pleasure of being able to play at a lovely venue for the first time, as THE ARMOURY in Shrewsbury were celebrating their 20th year trading by hosting a 3-day beer and music festival.
Playing at this lovely riverside venue meant that I'd be performing in possibly my biggest room to date, so it was going to be interesting to see whether the dynamics of the room (size & shape of room, audience size, ambient noise etc.) caused any difficulties regarding sound quality. I believe it was also a bit of an unknown quantity to the venue themselves, as they don't normally host live music, but reports from the acts who played on the Saturday were very encouraging!
The excellent single-stack 'HK Elements' PA system I've been using to date is ideally suited to crowds of up to 100 or so people, and I've been concerned for a while that it may not quite have the required power in larger, noisier venues. Therefore, having planned for a while to double the size & output of my system, I decided to head up to MID WALES MUSIC CENTRE in Newtown on Saturday, to purchase another identical set of speakers, as Sunday's gig seemed a great opportunity to find out how they can cope with a cavernous and busy room.
I spent the Sunday morning trying to whittle my 340-song repertoire down to an hour-long set (approx 18 songs), which would hopefully appeal to as many of the Sunday afternoon audience as possible.
My slot was from 3 'til 4 in the afternoon, and I can honestly say that I can't remember having had a more enjoyable hour of playing live, as the audience were really warm and generous, and The Armoury's organising of the event was impeccable! Also, it definitely helped to have a sizable number of great friends who came along to give their support, as they've done many times before. It really is appreciated!
Having the two sets of speakers rather than the usual one really seemed to make a difference and ease my worries! The master volume didn't need to go much above 50%, and it was great seeing people towards the back of the room singing along. A massive relief, and I'm now confident I have the required gear for my wedding bookings in 2016!
I really hope to have another chance to play at The Armoury, as the whole event seemed to be really well received by the people of Shrewsbury, and it was a privilege to share the bill with some great Shropshire musicians.
Massive thanks and congratulations to Emily and all the staff at The Armoury for putting on an exceptional event. Here's to the next 20 years!