Foss Fest, the week after the day before.

The Brooklyns They Will Hate Us
The Diamond Mines Concord Ballet Orchestra Players

It’s been a week now since the experience that was Foss Fest wrapped up. This was the first event of this kind I’m aware of in Foss Park, certainly the first I’ve been involved in. Foss Park has some upside potential – it’s a nice little non-East Somerville non-Winter Hill area at Broadway and McGrath Highway. I missed most of the setup stuff due to flight-induced psychosis but managed to get down before the opening band (The Brooklyns) came on. I thought they were going to be more country than they were, but the crowd, though pretty sparse at that point, seemed to into it. I tend to like bands with dual vocalists, and The Brooklyns alternate between their leads (Maureen & Tom) for their set. I got their EP but haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet.

The second act was the pessimistically named They Will Hate Us. They had more religious iconography in their setup than I’ve ever seen (and I’ve been to my fair share of religiously themed musical events). I would guesstimate there were (among other things) 20+ Madonna statuettes on stage, which I guess is contextually appropriate for the neighborhood. Anyway their sound I’d call plinky and stripped down.

Third up was The Diamond Mines, who showed in swim trunks despite the pool (unfortunately) being closed. Concord Ballet Orchestra Players finished the day with a set that included a fairly moving special tribute to the late Kenyan musician Lamya & Sam Walter Foss. Plus that set included the first time I’ve ever seen a singer walk to concessions mid-song for a fried dough snack.

So that’s it in sum, a pretty fun day. The biggest downer was that Audrey Ryan had to drop out for personal reasons and a lot of people were asking about her, unfortunate. She’s pretty awesome & clearly has a good following. This being the first time through there were some publicity-type things that we could have done better that were more obvious after the fact but technically & musically the event went off without a hitch. Much thanks to all the volunteers and WMBR for their support (particularly Jeff & Mike from Pipeline) for everything they did.

Here’s the Layma version of S.W. Foss’ poem, The Coming American. I’ll post the CBOP version once I can find it for compare/contrast. See you there next year?

Zoom H2

I recently bought (per Matt’s suggestion) a Zoom H2 to try to alleviate some of the problems caused by using the on camera audio when filming with a Canon TX1 (most recently exemplified by Tokyo Pinsalocks, but also in Chris Brokaw, Ponies in the Surf, etc). In the past we got around this by using the stereo mic on a Canon XL2 or by bringing a digital 8-track to a show but both of these are bulky (and thus completely non-spontaneous). I’m still just testing this out and trying to get a feel for what works and doesn’t. Both of these tests were recorded in 24-bit stereo WAV (44.1kHz) then normalized and converted to 192kbps mp3.

The first test is of Montreal’s Famous Lovers from a recent show at O’Brien’s in Allston. They’re not particularly loud but this is recorded directly next to the PA, inside a fleece pocket for wind-screening with the 120 degree rear mic pointed at the band. The vocals are muddy (which was pretty much how they sounded live) but there’s no peaking out despite the volume.

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Test number two was in a much quieter acoustic environment. This is from a set by Dustin Hamman of Run On Sentence from Audrey Ryan’s loft series. I again had the 120 degree mic pointed at the guitar from about eight feet at maximum gain (thus, the sounds of audience coughing and the sound of me shifting the device at 10 seconds).

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A few complaints: the menu system is odd and difficult to navigate on the small & dim LCD, file transfers via USB are stupid slow, and whoever decided that a blinking red light means ‘ready to record’ rather than ‘actually recording’ screwed me up and cost me a set from the Concord Ballet Orchestra Players. Great.