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Day 80 - Portland Show

The way I see the world, the natural environment that surrounds us is a beautiful balance between function and ramification. Everything living is a complex combination of useful function related aspects. Whether it is the claws of a mole to dig, wings of a bird to fly or the colorings of a chimpanzee's ass that attracts a mate, nearly every aspect of all things living, almost by the definition of life itself, has a purpose that is self refining over generations. Plants, animals, insects, everything alive is either a harmonious compilation of usefulness or tilting towards extinction, inherently, automatically and naturally. Non-living entities like rocks, rivers and volcanoes are by nature, a product of ramification. Water flows to the lowest point, continental shifts force earth into mountains and pressure, heat and time can form rocks and diamonds.

When the things that we humans create encompass a usefulness, form and the corresponding beauty, they permeate our society as they are embraced by the humans that desire those beneficial and enjoyable aspects like phones, things with wheels and shoes. Conversely, when I encounter items that are promoted as amazing but lack that harmony and instead present a fictitious illusion of manipulative deception, I become filled with frustration and anger. An alertness to a trap and the defense mechanisms that we train in children not to take candy from a stranger or the distaste felt for shysters manipulating old ladies out of life savings kicks in.

Today I connected some gear together with a two foot long piece of pure silver multi-conductor esoteric hi-fi wire with shiny over-sized logo-empossed connector shells. Like a magical potion it claims on the packaging to improve clarity and transparency for the discerning ear and blah blah blah. The fact that it is just a glorified printer cable and the signal it carries is a digital numeric stream of numbers that either are right or wrong and there is not a clarity improvement option and if it does anything other than pass the fairly simple signal, it is screwing things up, must not have occurred to the maker, or did it? I am sorry to say that there is a huge industry dedicated to selling false magic to the soft minded.

I try and justify in my mind that the people suckered into purchasing these things deserve to be scammed because they are not sharp enough to see through it. Possibly the balance is perfect and the harmony of the scammers and scammed is not unlike the the cooperation of a parasite and and its host. As harmless as it seems, it infuriates me or could it be jealousy that I just do not have it in me to deceive and manipulate the unaware? Those magic knowers selling the un provable to the masses, pitching fears of 'bad sound' to open the wallets of the often normally reasonable people. Hmmmm, selling on fears and promising invisible outcomes, it reminds me of something else but I just can't put me finger on it.

Anyway, the silly cables are what came with some of the gear and having them is better than not. At least I thought so until I went to plug in these oversized cumbersome wires, with ego embossed shells and found that they were too big to fit the tight spaces and had they been normal $20 versions instead of the $250 type, they would have fit fine. Plus the super thick wire was a bummer to force in the tight spaces. A perfect example of something that should be extinct or better yet, never created.

**** Begin Audio Tips ****

Tip 1 - If anyone ever tries to sell you audio wire that is directional "It will sound better if the sound travels a certain way through it," laugh at them before relegating them to either the scammer or the sucker realm. Audio travels both ways in wire and if a wire were to let audio travel one way better than the other, it is creating distortion that would sound really bad, it is highly likely that they have been vacuumed into the realm of delusional esoteric audio, which is a lot like a cult.

Tip 2 - Gold connectors look cool and sound the same as the other ones. If you like the way they look, cool, if you think they sound better, well I have some swamp land to sell you.

Tip 3 - Great sound is an opinion, so when someone says that plugging your stereo into a $200 audio AC wall outlet will make it sound better, it could be true. Just like if someone has the opinion that 'the world is secretly run by an army of honey bees operating complex remote control machines located in the center of the sun' could be true. No way to prove either one of those opinions and in my opinion they are both about equally probable.

**** End Audio Tips ****

Ok, done having a tantrum.

**** Begin Actually Posting about the Gig ****

First show kicks off the US tour and it is all good! I love Europe, I love traveling and I am so happy to be in my home time zone. Fluidity, everything is so much easier here. Phones work properly. Cars are all driving on the right side of the street and have stopped trying to run me down for looking the wrong way. I no longer need pile of various adaptors to plug in my stuff and and I can severely curtail my usage of the word 'what?' when addressing just about everyone that is not traveling with us because the local accent/language is incompatible with my hearing and my I can give my poor tired passport a well deserved rest.

It was a busy day reconstructing all the production for everyone. A lot of the gear is the same but a lot is different as well. Even slight changes create assorted interface and cabling issues. We actually left the main Rat Sound PA system in Europe to be reconfigured and do the upcoming Pearl Jam tour over there. For Peppers US we have a nearly identical but a bit larger system.

And as an added bonus, we pick up Mars Volta as the support act and they are a truly unique, powerful and incredible band to see.

I have mixed sound for them in the past, toured with them previously and am quite happy to have more good friends around and a whole new set of roadies to document!

The Peppers show was refreshing, raw, enjoyable and set a great tone for the many shows ahead.

**** End Gig World ****

The occasionally traumatized

Dave Rat