18 Jan 2014

Another gig. Another Lightie Screws it up! And about PYRO……

Disturbed at the pontoons loaded with ordinance floating near the publisher pile at Birchgrove, I took a flight as far south as possible to escape New Years Eve. Hobart was booked solid, so I settled for Launceston. Surely they’ve never heard of Foti or met any of the Howard Sons down there, I reasoned?

But the legions of qualified pyro technicians somehow keep multiplying like an army of Droids. How and where do all these guys get qualified? How many licensed operators can there possibly be across Australia?

Once I settled into the (wine) business at hand at River New Year’s Eve on the Tamar River in Launceston, I pondered the numbers.


“Lessee now, umm, there is around 100 towns of around 20,000 and seven capitol cities. Each capitol has between one and five firework venues on New Year’s Eve, so that makes a nice number of displays all going bang at midnight…..”

Well you can’t escape it, can you? I would prefer we ban the things. They pollute. They are dangerous. And they freak out dogs. Give me some lasers and lights, like the excellent Santos River thing at the Brisbane Festival. That employs real technicians, not these firework guys who seen to exist by the thousand if you extrapolate my numbers above.

The bands played. I took note of two things. One the sound was very good. Two the lights were dreadful. Just hideous. ‘Hey what’s wrong with the lights?’ I asked the chick I was with. “Geez I dunno” she said. Well, she was from Launy and apparently majored in agriculture. Indeed she said she could kill and pluck creatures, as well as shear sheep. I didn’t argue.


She was feminine though, albeit with lanolin infused hands that clenched my head for the mandatory midnight kiss. She was used to handling errant stock.

Here’s what was wrong with the lights:

The awesome, amazing Juliane Disisto (Finalist, The Voice 2013) was pumping out tunes with a perfectly tight band. She hails from the town.

But you could not actually SEE them – or her – for that matter.

Lightie was doing what uninformed, undirected lighties do – until we beat it out of them. It was all backlights, beams, strobes and flashes. Like a night in the trenches in a war minus the shrapnel and blood.

The first rule of lighting is to Light The Money. Unless it involves a DJ or Rap, in which case I don’t give a damn. But the rest of the time, the rest of the genres, you always light the faces, especially the one singing. For at least MOST of the time. Instead of NONE of the time, which was the case on New Years Eve. Fail!

Production came from the newly named conglomerate VJAM, with this outpost featuring the work of Chris Veevers who mixed the gig on an analogue Midas Verona console. 8 x d&b audiotechnik Q1 line cabinets atop 8 Q Subs idled away, untroubled serving sound to several thousand of us.

So the fireworks went bang, low over the valley. Pretty town, lovely people, great way to spend New Year’s Eve. And no taxi’s at the end, so I gave the chick my rental car keys so she could drive home. She seemed more sober than I. This seemed perfectly reasonable at the time.

Next morning through the fog of hangover, stumbling around the hotel room trying to gather the proverbial to catch the early flight, I couldn’t find the car keys. Then I remembered.

“Umm, do you have my rental car?’ I texted the girl whose surname I didn’t know. An agonizing fifteen minutes later she replied in the affirmative. Hertz are non the wiser, and I’m not up for $47,000 to replace it.

COMMENTS: Sinning Lighties? Time to ban or bin the bangs? Or I am just over it.

NYE Tasmania Chris Veevers2

Analogue man Chris Veevers at NYE in Launceston

 (Main picture: Juliane Disisto pic by Vanessa Vanderurg)


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