Monday, August 25, 2014

Three Concerts You Should Go To

I'm getting back in to going to concerts. Not that I wasn't into going to concerts before, but it's just that going to a concert is expensive. The biggest cost is usually the ticket, then travel, then the hassle of the crowd, etc. But I like crowds, first off. And secondly, I also realize that concerts give people experiences unlike any other. Music is better live. Better when it's experiences with others.

Over the next three months, there are three concerts I think you should go to—if you live near Chicago. Here you go:

1. Switchfoot with Gungor. 9/19 at Olivet Nazarene University. One of the best alternative bands around. Fantastic songwriting and just plain nice guys. Not so sure about these Gungor folks, but my brother really likes them, so they're probably okay. The venue probably isn't the best, but it's only 90 minutes away from the Fox Valley; and besides, this might be one of Chicago's last chances to see Switchfoot play—ever.

2. John Mark McMillan. 9/21 at First Presbyterian Church of Glen Ellyn. This dude is an incredible songwriter. And even though he writes some of the modern "hits," he understands songwriting aesthetics. Excellent lyrics. Likely a nice, intimate space with average sound (unless he provides his own back-line).

3. Josh Garrels with Will Reagan. 10/25 at Wheaton College. Really unique voice. A groove that hits that sweet spot. I have a lot of respect for a guy who gives away so much of his music for the greater good: spreading the love (and getting more fans out to live shows). This show will be a highlight of the season for me—in addition to the future birth of my second daughter!

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Man with a Gear Problem

My wife and I don't have a lot of money. But somehow, over the past couple of years, I've somehow found enough of it sitting around in our bank accounts to make a few gear purchases. Recent purchases include a couple new microphones, a very nice mic preamp, and a sweet Telecaster electric guitar (it's not actually, technically a Telecaster...).

But recently, I've started to feel a bit of a reckless pull—towards whimsically buying whatever I want, when I want it, when it comes to music equipment. I might be in trouble.

For the past eight weeks, I've been talking about buying another mic preamp in order to better handle recording live drums. It seemed like the most logical next purchase for my studio, though I knew that I also likely ought to own a Les Paul, in order to round out my guitar sound/palette...

But I've also known for a while—since about March—that there was a good chance that I'd be needing to buy an electric bass guitar. Why? Because I had a friend who, for six years, conveniently let me house his bass at the studio. In March, he came by to bring his instrument back home. The clock was ticking.

The need for a bass came to a head when, just a couple weeks ago, the bassist I had lined up for some session work fell through. I needed somebody to thump out some lines pronto; and, although there was an offer on the table for me to borrow a quality instrument, I knew my time was better spent elsewhere. It was quicker to run to Guitar Center, buy a bass, and drive back to the studio than to drive all the way out to a different friend's place, grab his, and come all the way back. The decision was made.

Here's a picture of what I got...

2011 G&L Custom JB Bass