IT’S MY PARTY! performed eleven concerts in August, concluding the season at Van Bortel Chevrolet in Macedon, NY, as the entertainment for a Corvette cruise-in. The weather for the event was perfect and Van Bortel graciously offered free food to attendees from various well-regarded vendors. In atypical form, the group stopped between songs and solicited requests from the audience. With many regular attendees at this finale, the more laid-back approach seemed appropriate. A couple from Ballston Spa, NY traveled a fair distance to see the group for the first time, having discovered IT’S MY PARTY! on YouTube, making the event even more meaningful.
In addition to the Van Bortel performance, August stops included returns to What’s ‘Ur Scoop Ice Cream, in Penfield, NY, Hammondsport. NY, Batavia, NY and Shortsville, NY. The group also performed for a second time in the season at the Burgundy Basin car show and Waterloo Premium Outlets. Another show on August 4 was a rescheduled concert at the Charcoal Coral in Perry, NY that had been rained out in July. New venues in August included a car show at the Genesee Brew House at High Falls in the City of Rochester, and a show at the Legacy community at Clover-Blossom. A concert promoter from New Hampshire approached the group at High Falls and talked about the possibility of regional performances next summer. He must have enjoyed the show, because he also attended our performances at the Burgundy Basin and the Legacy.
Tracking began August 21 on a new recording scheduled for release in 2016. The group is concentrating on two songs pitched by Michael Lynch, a talented songwriter. Lynch provided demos of his songs “Mister Sunshine” and “I Almost Forgive Him.” Lynch played all the instruments on the demos and even sang the vocals. These songs lend themselves to an interpretation by IT’S MY PARTY!
In addition to the two Lynch songs, the group will record two cover songs, one of which is a song by the Sherrys, a ’60s girl group from Philadelphia. The other cover will be a surprise for our fans, so we will keep that under wraps for the moment. Finally, the group’s producers are working on an “answer record” like those prevalent in the ’60s — think “Jerry (I’m Your Sherry)” by Tracey Dey. One of the issues with an answer record is the possibility of copyright infringement, so we will seek counsel regarding the proper crediting of the original song.
Technology is designed to make our lives easier. This is especially true in the area of live touring. Through the years speakers and amplifiers have become smaller and lighter without sacrificing power and volume. Consoles are now digital, with on-board effects, making setup faster, and allowing scenes to be saved from show to show. You may recall from years past the image of a sound engineer stationed under a pop-up tent at our shows. The engineer was sitting behind a soundboard connected to the microphones and speaker system by a series of cords, including a long conduit called a snake. Perhaps you spoke with him about the mix. Now you may wonder whether we even have a sound engineer: No snake, no pop-up tent, no obvious console. That is because we are now being mixed on an iPad, which communicates with a digital board, located on stage, through a wireless network. Sound engineers are now free to walk about to venue, iPad in hand, as long as they are within range of the network.
The wireless setup has come in favor over the past five years. Wireless setups are less obtrusive; this is a big plus aesthetically. Although I can’t confirm it, there is a community that will not ask us back because of an incident at a show there in 2005. The person in charge complained about our sound mixing popup tent being set up in a position that could potentially block the view of audience members on a rise behind it. Trying to accommodate, we moved the tent from the optimum center position to the side of the lawn, apparently this did not propitiate the talent buyer .
Although digital advances have made for a cleaner and faster setup both for sound and lighting, with new technologies come potential issues. At our show in Hammondsport this year, the iPad suddenly refused to communicate with the board, in effect, our mix was frozen. We had to apologize to the audience and, much like a computer, restart the board. After restarting, the issue was resolved for the remainder of the performance.
Another issue is that sometimes– and this happens more during afternoon shows — the iPad overheats and shuts down, effectively freezing the mix and not allowing for any subtle changes. This has happened to us three times in the past two seasons. A quick search on this issue will uncover many discussions on iPad overheating and the causes, everything from the version of the iPad, to hot weather, the use of a protective cover, to the strain on the processor of a resource-hungry app — like our mixing app. Curiously, airplane pilots seem to have this problem with regularity when flying, though I ‘m not quite sure why.
If you would like to weigh in on some ideas how to keep our iPad cool, feel free to comment on our Facebook page. And next year, while attending one of our shows, disregard that wireless network found on your phone called It’s My Party, that’s just us doing our thing!