Monday, January 15, 2007

Tour-Tech Trade Show 2007

I was at the Tour-Tech show this weekend in Halifax. The show itself was ok. I didn't see as many revolutionary computer products as I did last year, but then again, I concentrated on the conventional audio seminars all day, rather than going to any of the video seminars, which is a field that is arguably advancing much more quickly right now. For instance, I went to seminars on topics such as microphone placement, PSM's (personal in-ear studio monitors), designing sound systems for churches, etc. Nothing really that exciting, but useful sessions.

Here are a few photos from the show:

Anyway, even though the trade show itself was fairly uneventful, we had an interesting time the night before. We went out to visit a few bars and have a few drinks. The bar that I work at is being rebuilt in 18 months, so I was asked to take some photos of other venues, to help come up with some design ideas. One of the guys I was with (Darren Wheaton) runs a couple of the other bars in my hometown, so he was equally curious to go on tour.

We walked past a bar downtown called the Seahorse Tavern. Several people had mentioned this place to me before, but I could never think of where it was. When I saw it, I figured it would be a good place to visit, so we went inside. I was pretty surprised to realize that I had actually been in it before, many times: it was the first bar that I was ever in, many years ago, although it was operating under a different name at the time. In fact, I have many funny stories from that very bar. For instance, one night, a few of us got more intoxicated than usual, and I woke up the next morning sleeping on the Bluenose II, in the Halifax Harbour. I have no idea why I was there - maybe an RCN press gang? Luckily, it was still tied to the dock.

Anyway, the bar wasn't exactly hopping that night, but there was a blues band playing, so we stayed for a while. The band itself wasn't bad, although I have no idea who they were. The lead guitarist looked like Wolfman Jack, and played pretty tightly. The drummer was consistent, and made funny faces throughout the show. The bass player looked sort of like Mr. Clean, and he was pretty quiet and unobtrusive in the background, but he was very, very tight in his timing, so I was pretty impressed. He also played on a fretless bass. The rhythm guitarist, however, was the really interesting character. During his first few songs, he didn't seem that notable. His timing was so-so, but he looked a bit nervous, and played some fairly uninspired solos when given the chance. However, after four or five songs, he suddenly warmed up and honestly ended up stealing the show.

What really got me laughing was the fact that he had a wireless pickup, so he was able to walk around the crowd while he was playing. He also had so many effects on his guitar that he didn't really have to strum the strings while he was soloing - he could just push the strings up against anything, such as a nearby table, and get decent sound. As he wandered around, he came up to this "crusty old seadog" - an aging weather-beaten sailor with a greyish-blond beard and a cap slung down low - who was pretty much passed out with his head on the bar. Anyway, the guitarist started playing by wildly rubbing his guitar against the crusty old seadog's head, while the guy was still passed out! The crowd went wild. It was definitely the funniest thing I've seen in quite a while ...