Saturday 4 March 2017

Lee warms up the crowd with an awesome set at my live album recording show.

WE’RE up early and have breakfast then pack the car with the rest of the gear for tonight’s show.

By 10.30am I’ve got a time-lapse camera set up to capture preparations for the gig and all the gear’s in the hall.

Margaret leaves me to rig the PA, lights and get the recording stuff set up and comes back a few hours later to help me fly stereo mics out front and an audience mic then I soundcheck and we set some basic recording levels.

Lee arrives and Margaret leaves me to run his soundcheck. A problem with one of the stereo mics turns out to be unresolvable…think it’s the preamp on the audio interface. Ah well, should still be enough to capture the sound.

Martyn comes in with a couple of cameras and sets up to film the show then we all head off for dinner.

We’re back at the hall a good half hour before doors open to sort the tables and seating. It also gives Martyn and Louise a chance to set the cameras with the proposed stage lighting.

By the time Lee hits the stage at 7.30pm, the hall is full and he plays a great set. Then it;s my turn. Two sets of about an hour each to try and get as much material recorded as possible…33 songs!

All goes pretty much to plan and we have a great night…the audience is fantastic other than a wee group of guys at the back that Margaret ends up chucking out, their chat and behaviour was affecting folks sitting around them.

After some time chatting and thanking folks for coming out we start de-rigging and tidying up.

Catriona, Will and Matty are staying over so we have a few drams and finally get to bed sometime after 2am…I’m gubbed. Been a fun, stressful and exciting all at once day.

Have a blast recording stuff for a live album…

Tuesday 14 February 2017

A wee smacker for Valentine’s Day on our walk up the lochside….

IT’S VALENTINE’S Day – we swap cards but, as agreed, no presents. In saying that, after givin spiralising a whirl with the wee manual gadget I bought last week Margaret did buy an electric spiraliser as a mutual gift. A half-price bargain on Amazon.

A spiraliser, for those who haven’t caught on yet, is a gadget that turns veg into spaghetti-like strings for salads, stir-frys or carb-free ‘zoodles’ – spiralised courgette (zuchinni) that is a remarkably good substitute for pasta!

In the studio I do (very) rough mixes of a couple of tracks recorded at Friday night’s show then take them to the house to check out. There’s definitely potential, so we discuss ideas, logistics and possibilities…as well as, of course, the economics of putting on an special show to be recorded for a live album.

At lunchtime we test the new spiraliser on some mooli (daikon radish) and carrot which I warm in a  spicy peanut sauce. I tried it last week and despite the sauce being a bit wet (or ‘runny) it was good. Today’s sauce is thicker and has more chilli and…Margaret likes it!

We get some more work done then go for a walk, stopping in at Betty and Joe’s to help get their Skybox and Firestick working on the new wifi network. Once done we carry on our walk then stop back in for a coffee on our way back.

Thanks to Betty’s help and enthusiasm, we decide to set up a live recording show at Buchanan Memorial Hall…we need to move fast as time isn’t on our side and when we get home Margaret checks availability and books for Saturday 4 November. It will be a special gig! And I’m especially happy that, as well as helping out on a technical (audio/video) basis, my pal Lee is gonna come and do a short warm-up set.

Tickets will be extremely limited and are available here.

Continuing our low-carb efforts, I make basil, lemongrass and lime tofu with cauliflower rice. My carb intake today has been one slice of wholemeal toast and a can of lager. While I could cut them out, I’m not sure that it’s necessary to be ‘carb-free’…my aim is simply to cut down on sugar and carbs and see if there’s any difference.

Click above for info/tickets for the upcoming ‘live album’ show!

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player
 and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland

Monday 23 January 2017

This second hand bargain picked up after a wee appeal on Facebook could be the key to a live recording…

BLUDDY cold today…so we light the fire as soon as it’s set!

There’s a lot on the to-list so we have a ‘Buzz meeting’ to catch up. In addition, I really need to update the ‘Introduction to Dave Arcari’ video  that means trawling through, and selecting, a load of video clips and also filming a ‘personal’ piece to top and tail the thing.

Margaret’s not so sure we need the extra bit of personal filming, but I’m adamant that it needs a couple of seconds at the start and finish to give some perspective and insight into what I’m busy with rather than just jamming together a set of clips. We spend time debating and discussing…but it’s important! Looks like decent weather on Friday so we’ll film something then. Meantime, I’ll try and identify some video clips.

The need to do a Facebook Livestream – mainly to promote the upcoming Scottish dates – is becoming urgent. However, we face the  usual crap broadband service at home issue…Margaret suggests a wee test, and we manage to get ‘connected’…but the stream is constantly interrupted and sound etc breaking up/ The replay works OK, but that defeats the purpose of the live stream which, for me, is all about the real-time interaction with folks watching.

So with the home broadband being too flaky we decide the only thing to do is wait ’til Saturday and do it from ‘somewhere up the lochside’. So, 2pm Saturday it is – at http://www.facebook.com/davearcarimusic

A courier delivers the Zoom R16 multitrack recorder – a second hand bit of kit at a bargain price after a wee appeal for one on Facebook. This may be the key to a successful (ie: usable) recording for a live album.

In the studio I rehearse a couple of new tunes for next week’s (Wednesday 1 February, 5pm) appearance on STV’s Live at Five show.

I also manage to complete all the backup, organising and archiving of hard drives I started a few weeks ago. All that remains is to make a safety copy of the resulting archive so I can move/copy every six months or so to maintain the integrity of the data. It appears that even hard drive archives can become corrupted and the best way to prevent that is to copy form one drive to another and rewrite the data every so often. Bleedin’ hell. More work.

I take a couple of mics and some headphones back to the house and run a few tests on the R16 recorder to make sure it’s all working as it should. All’s good, so the next step is to source some mic splitters to take direct live feeds – I don’t want to take outputs from the venue’s mixing desk or use ‘y’ cables which could compromise the sound of both the show and the recording. And although I’m pretty well up on recording techniques and procedures, I reckon there’s gonna be a bit of trial and error even working out if the live recording idea has legs.

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland