Posts tagged live
Out of It vinyl now available
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The Out of It tenth anniversary vinyl is in the house and they look sweet and also sound sweet. Weird to think I made that record ten years ago. Preorders are 99% shipped so if you order now it’ll be in the mail to you within a week. Grab one in my store or on my Bandcamp page.

Better Than Nothing vinyl is still available as well if you want the entire Brad Sucks vinyl collection while supplies last. Be sure to include a note with your order if you want ‘em signed (by me).

(Photo credit: @thebishopgame)

Vinyl release show

I've been getting lots of photos and messages telling me people are getting their Better Than Nothing records which makes me super happy, thanks you guys. I keep starting to write something about how humbling and emotional it is to feel so supported after like a decade and a half of making songs, but then I feel dumb and delete it. So, like, thank you? The vinyl release party's November 17th in my hometown of Ottawa. Hope to see you there! Here's the gig poster by Geoff Gibson (@sisc_daily) who also did the awesome Better Than Nothing album artwork.

February 24, 2017

Oh, so this'll be my first show in Ottawa in a while or two. Gonna be trying out some new stuff, plus old new stuff and then last -- but by no means least -- ...old stuff. Bruce Enloe and the Burning Sensations will be opening. I worked on Bruce's two rad records, Unseasonably Cool and the raw, live-off-the-floor Bonfire. Both worth checking out, Bruce is an excellent songwriter. Geoffrey Gibson made us this beautiful poster:

And here's the Facebook event.

GeneralBrad Turcottelive, show, shows
Cold comfort

I'm still playing in Toronto on Saturday. I'm pretty sure the album's available everywhere it's supposed to be. iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, CD Baby, Spotify, Rdio and now finally Jamendo (thanks to everyone who helped out with that). Oh and I'm slowly getting it on Soundcloud. Also a big thank you to everyone who's been buying it. For a while I wasn't sure if I'd get to still be a musician but it looks like I'm OK for now.

By the way, the source/stems for the album are here. Send me anything you make with my stuff, I'll be featuring some things in the next while.

I've been neglecting this blog in favor of Facebook and Twitter. I have some confusion about where to channel my Internet energies these days.

It's -28C outside right now. That's cold.

General, newsBrad Turcottelive, music
Hello my friends

Hey everybody. I accidentally did a show a couple of weeks ago. It was pretty informal. A nice person came all the way from Hungary to see it which was a little nerve-wracking. It went fine though, thank you for coming (if you did). I've been just plain working on my album. Growing a beard. Trying to drink sensibly. Also:  playing some video games here and there. Arkham City comes out next week. I might be too busy to play it, how sad is that. Seriously how sad for me are you right now tell me.

I keep thinking of writing about recording the album because they say you should keep your 'online presence' going but that's so fucking boring. Does anyone really want to read that? "I've been re-recording all the basslines." Oh kick ass, Brad. "I'm enjoying playing bass more." Awesome, awesome! I'd rather talk about my awesome dog Rufus:

Just look at that fuckin' guy. What a dude.

But I'm getting restless, which I think is a nice sign. I really want the album to be done so I can move on. I have all these fantasies about how creative I'm going to be when this is over and I'm not working on the same batch of songs anymore. How I shouldn't wait so long between albums anymore. That all my fussing is really only mildly improving the songs. I should be more spontaneous! I should be more like Prince!

But I also want to obsess over every part of it forever until the end of time. I know that my restlessness will overcome my perfectionism soon though and that, my friends, is how babies are born.

[My new nephew Crue (as in Motley).]

You don't get asked to be made an uncle, someone just makes you one.

The show

Yeah, so, there was a wiener theme to the show tonight. First time ever. I tried to communicate it from the stage but I'm not sure how clear I was. Here's the two point recap: 1. Next to the venue was an abandoned KFC with this sign:

2. Inside, on the bar, next to jars of pickled eggs and cheese was a jar of pickled wieners. I did some of my Seinfeld-esque observational humor from the stage re: this crazy coincidence and this wound up happening:

photo by marilyn render

For those of you who are not musicians, that is a pickled wiener that has been tossed onto the stage, specifically onto the set list of your guitarist.

Good times.

Rethink Music

I think I might be finished with nearly anything that happens in convention centers. I'm not sure I've ever had a good time in one. Do they happen? They're so sterile they creep me out and make me want to run far away (to my sterile hotel room). My panel was OK, though the discussion was just getting going when we ran out of time. I also felt it was a bit too focused on far-off scenarios rather than practical stuff that might help musicians. I have a hard time caring about anything I have to imagine 5-10 years into the future to get. Probably my issue, but there it is.

Once again Boston tried to hang onto me by laying down a giant storm on my way out. Last time it was snow that cancelled every flight but mine. This time it was wind that cancelled every flight but mine. It's never cool when you see this much red on a departures screen when you walk up to your gate:

I got to fly in a 9-seat Cessna propeller airplane (the ninth seat is actually the co-pilot seat). I thought it would be scary especially with all the turbulence but I found it easy to accept the idea of dying after spending so many hours in an airport. Also it felt like being in a van in the sky. And whenever I was nervous the pilot was like three feet away from me so I could study his body language. "He's not sweating and trying to secretly phone his kids, so I think this is just normal turbulence."

I took this video of the landing:

Pretty sweet landing there. The other three I experienced weren't quite as slick.

On playing live

Scott's rolling to a stop on his solo live playing. I think that's cool, I started to weigh in with a comment on my own struggle with playing live but it got too huge so here it is:

A couple of years ago I was fed up with playing live. Some people love to perform and I'm just not that guy. I wouldn't say I'm shy but I wouldn't deny that I'm an introvert. Then I had a pretty bad string of rough, demoralizing gigs and it was messing with me. I'd travel home afterwards all bummed out and thinking my time would have been much better spent recording or writing or doing stuff on the internet. Plus it's easier and more fun to me.

I got fed up, took a break and decided to play less shows but to make them more meaningful. Promote them better, book them better, work harder at them. In 2010 that approach was pretty successful so I'm planning to play some more in 2011.

A lesson I learned, and this may only apply to me and my city, is that there's very little point to playing thankless gigs. Maybe you're getting some practice in. Maybe you enjoy it. But you're not building a fan base. You're not generating buzz. If you have a small draw, which most bands do, you're spreading it too thin over many sad shows rather than saving it up for a few good ones.

Now that I'm taking this new approach I'm enjoying the shows way more. I'm still not much of a performer, but I've been enjoying the crowd interaction. I like getting yelled at. I enjoy feeling like my being there and doing my thang is facilitating a good time for others.

So when people come out now, tell me they like my stuff, tell me they're looking forward to new music, it's pretty great. It's very easy on the Internet to group fans into one single entity. But when I meet people face to face who seem to genuinely connect with what I've done or what I'm doing, well that's encouraging and awesome and nice.

GeneralBrad Turcottelive
Last night

Last night's show was fun, thanks to everyone for coming out. These three shows I've done with the new band have been pretty encouraging. I'm not someone who actually really enjoys performing or being on a stage, but I do get a huge kick out of an energetic, happy crowd and instigating a good time.  So I'm gonna let that motivate me into more show bookings and hope it's enough.

Live setup improvements

Getting the laptop into the live show has been a long dumb technical process. It's been working solid now for a long time so the last step was to get it all into a nice portable form factor that was quick and easy to set up and tear down.  I think I'm just about there:

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I bought this Gator Studio-2-Go case - which is a 2U rack case (front and back) as well as a laptop compartment on top (and most importantly a hole between the rack and laptop compartments for cable runs). Getting it was a stupid ordeal. I actually couldn't find it anywhere in Canada (everyone said it was discontinued) so I had to order it from Sweetwater, get it delivered in the US and drive across the border to get it.  Sine then it's been a gradual process figuring out everything I need in it.

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In the front (sorry for the crappy photos) I've got a Furman M-8X (rack-mounted power strip), a MOTU Ultralite mk3 (sound card) and a Shure PSM200 wireless transmitter (for feeding the click to the drummer). The power strip means I only have one power cord for the whole box, which is great.

In the back:

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The sound card's outputs go into a Behringer ULTRA-DI PRO DI800, giving the sound dude three channels of DI'd output.  I had to learn how to build some short angle patch cables since non-angled ones wouldn't fit with the back cover on.

Remaining issues:

  • I need an 8-channel XLR s-s-snake for the DI outputs (this has been ordered.)
  • The power supply for the PSM200 is one of those dudes with the AC adapter block separated from the plug. Meaning the block is floating around in the case, threatening to knock all my other connections out. I'm not sure how to secure it down or if I should try and replace it with a different adapter.
  • The Firewire adapter in the laptop sticks out of the side of the laptop a great deal and makes the side-foam the case comes with not fit properly. I guess I'll cut a hole in it.
  • I wish it was easier to get the DI in and out in case I need to adjust something.  Right now I can squeeze my arms in but I'm only getting fatter so that's not a permanent option. I don't know much about racks - is there a. thing for that? A rack drawer maybe?

So instead of bringing in a pile of devices and having to set up all my cables each time, I'm down to one AC adapter and a handful of XLR outs and I don't need any DIs from the house.

That was a lot of work.

GeneralBrad Turcottegear, live, nerdy, tech
How To Make Your Band Sound Great review

51Anc1ZmXFLI own several books by Bobby Owsinski and since I've been putting a live show back together I bought his new book and DVD: How To Make Your Band Sound Great.

I wasn't sure what to expect. The new live show's sounding pretty good I think and I've got a fair amount of experience on stage now but figured it'd be worth checking out.

Good Stuff

The most useful sections in the book for me were his technical descriptions of dynamics and playing "in the pocket". Bobby talks a lot about playing "bigger" rather than louder or faster which has been an issue I've struggled with. For instance I liked this observation about why a lot of musicians feel like the life's been sucked out of their performance if they aren't playing really loud:

The internal dynamics of each individual usually go out the window. Instead of playing crisp yet quiet, with the same attacks and releases the band had at the higher volume level, the attacks and releases get relaxed so the playing becomes less precise. The real trick is learning to actually play with the same intensity at lower levels.

Makes a lot of sense. He suggests plotting out song (and set) dynamics on a 1-10 scale and to make sure the band members agree on what the levels on the scale sound like.

Bad Stuff

But besides a handful of useful tips, the book is geared towards the beginner. Repeated admonitions to tune your instrument, turn off your cell phone, take vocal lessons and be a professional might be useful to some readers but they seemed obvious to me.

The included 60-minute DVD of Bobby coaching a band rehearsing a song is interesting, but could easily have been edited down to around 15 minutes, which would have made it more effective and reduced my exposure to ska considerably. Cuts back and forth between the earlier and later (improved) performances of the song would have been a helpful demonstration.

Conclusion

It's not a bad book, I'd recommend it for a complete beginner. But it made me more aware of questions I had going in that it didn't answer. I'd love to see another book that dealt with situations that are more geared towards laptoppy Internet recording artists who are branching out into live performance like:

  • How to deal with a laptop on stage - my first few times out I had issues with only having unbalanced outputs.
  • Backing tracks. How many outputs to give the house, how to treat them, how much backing stuff to include.
  • How to simulate band dynamics with drum backing tracks or a drum machine.
  • Vocal treatment & effects. Especially in small venues I've found running my vocals through a compressor/limiter helps my vocals sound more like the records.
  • How to handle crappy sound guys. (Constructing an alibi, body disposal, etc.)

I'm sure it would be a huge, huge money-making hit.

GeneralBrad Turcottebook, live, review
A blog post, which I wrote

Totally not dead up in here. Stuff I'm working on:

New music

It's being worked on. I had a slow start in the new year but I'm back on track finishing up demos for the new album. See photographic proof:

photo

I'll post stuff as I finish it, which better be soon if I hope to be nearly finished this album this year.

Live show

The live show is coming along nicely and is basically ready to go. It's myself, a laptop, a drummer (Justin) and a guitarist (Ben). I think it's sounding a lot closer to the albums than the last live setup that was more of a garage rock version of the songs (which was fun for me but apparently not what most people wanted to hear). I just got this book today so you know it's serious.

Figuring out what to do with my live show

Did you know I'm not at all popular in my home town of Ottawa? That sounds amazing but it's actually true. Gigs here are generally both empty and demoralizing. So I'd like to actually play for some people and maybe make, rather than lose, money.

Apparently I'd do well in places that are very far from my home but I'm not sure how to get the live show there without losing a ton of money also. And furthermore: money.

Recording a band

There's a band I know (and like) and I'm recording their album. They're pretty different than my stuff so I'm learning a lot. How to record a drum kit, how to record a rhodes piano, how to binge drink, etc, etc. I just bought this book so you know it's serious.

Boring stuff

I've been trying to be better about a lot of areas I'm bad in. Bios, photos, t-shirts, promo and so on, they're tedious and boring processes and I don't want to talk about them. I also bought a car. And an iPhone.  And we have a new foster dog (our fourth!):

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His name is Milo. He has no home but he's hanging here until he gets one.

GeneralBrad Turcottedog, live, misc
Ableton Live controlling Winamp/Milkdrop

Been hacking around trying to get some nifty synced visualization stuff going. Best (and cheapest) visualization seems to be Milkdrop in Winamp, so I got it responding to MIDI signals sent from Ableton Live on another machine. Here's a quick demo:

I'd like to be able to trigger video clips next, then I'm not sure about combining them all onto one display and swapping between them.

Band no more

Over the weekend I broke up with my band. It wasn't them, it was me. Thanks to Bruce and Matt for the awesome support and good times. I'm trying to figure out what's next and I'll probably be looking for ideas on here.

How does a “one man band” do a rocking live show that isn't boring as all hell?

newsBrad Turcottebusiness, live
Sup

This past Friday was the occasion of my birth. I am now old enough that I wasn't sure what age I'd be turning. Thanks for all the kind wishes.

practice space

I am in “crunch mode” for the Denver show on Thursday. I am also “nervous”. This'll be only my third solo show but it'll also be the first one where I'm not doing my own sound.  So maybe that will be good? Maybe I have nothing to worry about?

Shows

There are some upcoming Brad Sucks shows:

November 7th & 8th: Playing two nights at Kelly's Welcome in Manotick, ON. Full band.

November 20th: The Bluebird Theater in Denver, Colorado. Solo.

There's a pretty good possibility I'll be doing some touring in the new year, so be sure to put yourself down on the map on my live page.

newsBrad Turcottelive, shows
CD release party: accomplished

Welp, I had a good time at the CD release party last night. Thanks to everyone who showed up and anyone who jumped on stage at the end there during the crowd-participation part of “Out of It”.

Besides the talented Dave Norris and the Harvey Cartel who played, musicians in attendance were Jesse Dangerously, Claude from The Peptides, TheHipCola, Meredith Luce and MC Frontalot was on a phone in IM capacity.

Various Songfighters and REAPER users came out of the woodwork, which was awesome.

Out of It goes on sale for everybody out there tomorrow night at midnight (EST). Woooooooo.

Out of It CD Release Party

Outofit-cover-300pxThe CD Release Party for Out of It is booked and officially on September 5th at Cafe Dekcuf in the city of Ottawa. Times and bands are still TBD, though I am practically guaranteed to be there and drinking heavily. But you are super invited and hey, you could pick up a copy of the CD three days before the release date! What a coincidence that is! This will also likely be the last show as a regular old three piece rock band. It's been super fun, but I can't resist putting a computer in the live show and electronifying things and making us prone to tech problems. Anyway, I hope to see you there.