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Gig Survival Kits - What do you bring?


eric

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With NAMM coming and all this insatiable, infectious and incredible GAS, I thought it was time to start a thread about other things to take our minds off of the high-dollar goodies that we will be drooling over in the next couple of weeks.

 

I remember once that Keyboard Mag had a little section in one magazine about "Surviving the Road" or something like that. I have my own little version of a Gig Survival Kit. When it is time for the gig, what do you take with you other than your keyboard gear? I think it is important to have a routine survival kit planned out for all gigs.

 

In addition to gig clothes, I travel with a mini version of my at-home bathroom: toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, Advil, Excedrin, soap, Tums, lots of gum. Also, I have mosquito spray for outdoor gigs.

 

A quintessential item is the "mobile speakeasy," since one never knows if they will get bar privileges (or play a dry gig...the horror). ;) I always carry a cooler with at least a 6-pack, in addition to some Diet Cokes and water. Plus, having some little airplane bottles of Capt Morgan or Jim Beam has proven to be a lifesaver. A lot of the time the libations are not needed, but they really hit the spot in certain situations. I usually have a sleeve of plastic stadium cups, in case there is a need to sneak leaded beverages into a dry event. Sometimes I bring along a box of Cheez-Its or some peanuts, in case the bandwich tray is running late and hungry musicians need a snack.

 

I have extra power supplies for every keyboard and amp, as well as extra patch cords and MIDI cables. I have a small toolkit with the tools I would need if something went wrong.

 

I always have a spare change of clothes, for after the gig. I've started bringing a fold-up chair for lounging/tailgating during down time.

 

The latest addition was a nice heavy-duty folding cart that will move my entire rig (cooler included) in ONE TRIP! It is amazing!

 

Regards,

Eric

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Originally posted by bearded yeti

dom perignon, x3

Right on, yeti! :thu:

One time I was able to quaff some off-limits Dom Perignon, stealth-like on the gig, and luckily avoided the infamous conversation of, "well, you boys made this much, but you drank THIS MUCH, so you owe us..."

 

Regards,

Eric

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A towel is an essential - ever read Hitch Hiker's Guide...? :D But seriously, i take a towel and a blanket and a pocketknife on top of a lot of the items you've said. Although i think consuming alcohol on a gig is very unprofessional ;)
Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?
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I never drink alchogol before/during the gig - it's so unprofessional. You gotta be VERY confident about your skills to let youtself be drunk during the show. I'm not. I konw that if I'm drunk - my solos do not always fit in the measures :-)

 

Since I bring only one keyboard to gig I have not many spare parts. Inside the gig bag are:

 

Power supply and extra power supply

foot pedal and extra foot pedal

a QuikLok stand

a wallet

gloves, in case my hands get cold, I lose the ability to play a note when my hands get cold

a synth itself

 

The drummer is in charge for the water and stuff.

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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- Extra power supplies for all instruments which use ext power

 

- Spare cables, spare pedals, multiples, every type of adapter I could need

 

- Stabilizer/power surge protector

 

- Earplugs (not for the stage, for sleeping - I can't sleep with loud noises. So, just in case)

 

- A spare pair of headphones, of the miniature type - just in case the main ones die suddendly

 

- Vitamines of various kinds

 

- The usual things like clothes, bathroom case, gloves

 

- A foldable cart is on the short list. I have a fixed one now, but it's too big to bring everywhere

 

- A book, a magazine, music paper, regular paper, pencils

 

- Last but not least, the musician's best friend... professional gaffer tape :)

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My car is my survival kit. In it I keep a small high-powered flashlight, a swiss army knife (a complete tool kit in reality), an extra extension cord and my cellphone which is also a Palm Pilot and it acts as my mobile office. Not only is my gig and contact info readily at hand on my Palm but I can even fax contracts to clients from it. Yes, a towel is also included, as well as a microfiber cloth for cleaning my eyeglasses and keyboard. Also some obligatory Visine and breath mints.

 

I don't use it on local gigs often but my ultimate survival kit is my motor home - nothing like pulling up to the gig and plugging up for real convenience. Great for wedding gigs or anywhere that a change of clothes and a possible nap between setting up and playing could come in handy. :bor::thu:

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I bring a small fan to keep me cool plus a seat cushion to avoid sitting on a plastic or wooden chair (to save my pants from getting shiny and to keep my ass from getting sweaty). I also place a spare wristwatch on the keyboard to keep track of time. (Why can't all companies build a clock into their screens?)

 

I usually bring along a toothbrush kit, a mobile phone, ear plugs and breath mints.

 

It's not practical for me to bring a duplicate of everything in case of equipment failure. I did have a power amp blow up on me years ago (a QSC Powerlight) on a trio job. We took a short break and I moved an acoustic upright in place and that was that. (I since have bought a Furman power conditioner but have no idea if that will prevent future problems. The output transistors in the QSC blew up and it was mentioned to me that it could have been the electrical power that was the culprit.)

 

I always carry extra cables and a few tools, but since I move and pack up the stuff myself, I know the condition of everything and stay on top of it. Problems usually happen when others try to be helpful.

 

(I also do not drink on jobs unless the drummer is really bad and then only one drink towards the end of the job.)

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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To save on space i use some of my ordinary gear for multiple purposes, especially on a long distance gig. My favourite example: sleeping in my gig bag. It has this lovely plush faux velvet on the inside, you just have to hang your legs out the end :D No, seriously...
Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?
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My recent gigs have been church piano/organ gigs, so I don't bring much. Sheet music, pencil, watch, organ shoes, and blocks to prop up the bench with if it's too low.

 

I do always bring some "safety" music -- old favorites that I can play if I need more material than I planned for.

 

When I used to run sound for a punk band I would bring pliers, soldering iron, solder, and screwdrivers. Our equipment failed frequently and I would end up soldering cables fairly often. That's what happens when your band buys its gear at [low-end consumer electronics retailer not known for its quality].

 

Now that there are leatherman tools, one of them and a soldering iron will go a long way.

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Bandaids. Nothing worse than bleading all over your board.

 

Spare DIs and cables, of course. Spare power cords too because I have a phobia about getting to a gig and finding myself one power cord short.

 

Batteries. Multimetre and tools.

 

Flashlight. My Bro-in-law gave me a real nice one for xmas - real small and bright and white instead of yellow light - you can actually see with it!

 

Anybody got an air pureifier with them? Does it work?

 

If travelling, some CDs in styles totally unlike what I play for relaxation.

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(Originally posted by bloodyMary:)

> You gotta be VERY confident about your skills

> to let youtself be drunk during the show. I'm > not.

 

And you have to be a 2 tines shy of a Rhodes to think that drinking a couple of beers will make you "drunk" on a gig. You have to separate the two notions: drinking alchohol is not unprofessional, especially is you have a drink on a break. If you have a problem with abusing substances, I'm glad you don't. But 3 drinks in a 5 hour time span isn't going to get anyone "drunk".

"Oh yeah, I've got two hands here." (Viv Savage)

"Mr. Blu... Mr. Blutarsky: Zero POINT zero." (Dean Vernon Wormer)

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Originally posted by Ed Coury:

(Originally posted by bloodyMary:)

> I never drink alchogol before/during the gig - it's so unprofessional. You gotta be VERY confident about your skills

> to let youtself be drunk during the show. I'm > not.

 

And you have to be a 2 tines shy of a Rhodes to think that drinking a couple of beers will make you "drunk" on a gig. You have to separate the two notions: drinking alchohol is not unprofessional, especially if you have a drink on a break. If you have a problem with abusing substances, I'm glad you don't drink at a gig. But, let's say, 3 or 4 drinks in a 5 hour time span isn't going to get anyone "drunk".

"Oh yeah, I've got two hands here." (Viv Savage)

"Mr. Blu... Mr. Blutarsky: Zero POINT zero." (Dean Vernon Wormer)

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Originally posted by Ed Coury:

(Originally posted by bloodyMary:)

> You gotta be VERY confident about your skills

> to let youtself be drunk during the show. I'm > not.

 

And you have to be a 2 tines shy of a Rhodes to think that drinking a couple of beers will make you "drunk" on a gig. You have to separate the two notions: drinking alchohol is not unprofessional, especially is you have a drink on a break. If you have a problem with abusing substances, I'm glad you don't. But 3 drinks in a 5 hour time span isn't going to get anyone "drunk".

Hell, if I have two beers the night before I can tell my playing is off the next night. I don't think anyone in the general P could tell but I sure can and I expect other piano players could. Affects my time in particular.

 

So I won't drink 24 hours before performing, or while doing so. Afterwards is fine.

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I think you're both right. I wouldn't drink at a piano or organ gig until it's over, because the material I play is demanding enough, technically, that even a beer or two is enough to throw me off. In fact, I ordinarily won't practice anything difficult after having a drink at home because I end up doing more damage than good.

 

On the other hand, if you're up there with a band and your performance is about energy and motion and whatnot, and the parts aren't too demanding, then maybe a beer or two is OK if you're at a bar or some other alcohol-positive venue.

 

Because of alcohol's effect on judgement you can end up thinking that you sound great on stage after a few beers, but the tape will usually tell a different story.

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Ummmmm.......my list is: 1. Tobasco or other hot sauce (to put on lousy road food). 2. A hot plate (to cook your own lousy road food). 3. Make sure your car/truck is in tip-top shape (GETTING to the gig is the first priority, right?) 4. Condoms, in case you "get lucky". 5. Some kind of Zen, or other, mind relaxation techniques in order to cope with all the BS from clubowners, bandleaders, your girlfriend back home who's ticked off about the whole situation anyway, & on & on. 5. Pain medication for when you throw your back out schlepping heavy equipment. 6. Every ant-acid you can think of, to counteract the lousy road food. 7. JUST SAY NO! Don't go on the road or out of town for more than a few days. What are you, some kind of crazy musician???

 

Peace, & Good Luck

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>Because of alcohol's effect on judgement you >can end up thinking that you sound great on >stage after a few beers,

 

Fair enough, but you have to consider that everyone's ability to tolerate alchohol is different. If I have one beer every 2 hours, say 3 beers on the night of a gig (includes time spent getting set up, playing, and packing it up)

it effects my playing 0%. If they are spaced correctly. More than that, sure, it will start to deteriorate. An average adult can have one shot of 100 proof booze or one full beer every hour and remain below .10 blood alchohol, which is considered the DUI point in most states.

On the other hand, my wife is plowed after 2 beers, which makes for a fun date night :-)

"Oh yeah, I've got two hands here." (Viv Savage)

"Mr. Blu... Mr. Blutarsky: Zero POINT zero." (Dean Vernon Wormer)

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Small tool case with:

spare of every lead I use (kettle cord, jack-jack, jack-xlr, weird 5-pin European power cord used by companies like Behringer, similar used by Kurzweil)

spare footswitch with switchable polarity

spare cc voltage pedal

9v battery for the guitarist who forgets

Phillips screwdriver

gaff

pencil

white electric tape

eraser

xlr male-female and female-male adaptors

jack-xlr adaptors

fingerless gloves (for those outdoor winter gigs)

spare gaff

cd or two to put on between sets

Keys: Hammond SK2, Hammond SK1, Hammond SKpro, Korg Vox Continental, Waldorf STVC

Amplification: Line6 L3T, Yamaha DBR-10, Presonus Air 10, Leslie 122V

 

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