Posts Tagged ‘49ers’


No, I’m not going to name the band or the bar, which would give it away.

They were incidental to why I went up to the local dive to watch the ‘9ers game. Unfortunately, the band came on during half-time, so I had no choice but to listen to them.

All of them were good to very good players (the bassist), and I haven’t heard so much wrong with a band (maybe three bands combined) in ages.

Here’s what was wrong:

  • They were way late setting up, the earliest of them arriving half-an-hour before they were due on; (normally you want to be there at least an hour before);
  • The drummer didn’t arrive until 20 minutes before they were due on;
  • He was so late they didn’t do a sound check;
  • They didn’t have monitors;
  • All they were miking was the vocals;
  • And as a result, the mix was way off during the first set, with the snare way too loud during the first three or four numbers;
  • Because they didn’t do a sound check, the vocal mics were feeding back, sometimes painfully, for half the set, and they didn’t have anyone riding the board so they didn’t adjust for it;
  • Despite the feedback problems, the vocals were too far down in the mix (yes, it is possible);
  • It sounded like the vocals were dry (i.e., no reverb or other FX);
  • On the final two or three tunes, they had some idiot sitting in playing claves badly — think the clunk, clunk, clunk of “Magic Bus” rather than the
    clink, clink, clink that you want — and just enough off the beat, and irregularly so, that it was annoying as hell;
  • They had two — not one, but two, count ’em, two — keyboard players, and on many of the numbers the keyboard player playing lead was using a soul-sucking artificial synth sound a la The Cars that was abandoned for good reason back in the early ’80s;
  • I didn’t like the guitarist’s tone (too muted in an attempt to be pretty — but that’s just me);
  • And (a more general whine) they advertised themselves as a “soul” band, but they didn’t do soul — they did lounge, the closest thing to soul being their closing number, Al Green’s “I’ll Be There”;
  • And, of course, just covers, no originals — it ain’t that hard to write originals, but writing good ones is another matter; why most musicians don’t even try it is beyond me.

At the break, they finally did a sound check. I had to sit through their first couple of numbers in the second set before the ‘9ers kicked the winning field goal in the final seconds. (Go ‘9ers!)

What I noticed was:

  • The feedback was finally gone;
  • The balance was a bit better
  • The vocals were still too far down in the mix;
  • They were still dry;
  • And their material was almost as awful, non-soulful ands non-original as in the first set.

The lessons here are pretty obvious:

  • Get there early enough to do a sound check;
  • Do a sound check;
  • Use monitors;
  • Mic everything (and I mean everything);
  • If you’re not competent to do a good mix, have someone along who’s competent to do the sound;
  • And above all deliver what you promise: if you promise blues, play blues; and if you promise soul, play soul.

 

 

 

 

 


There’s currently a post on Boing Boing, by Jason Weinberger, whose headline begins, “Baseball is boring.” This epitomizes hipster condescension toward baseball, condescension based on hipsters having a shorter attention span than that of the average flea and as much understanding of baseball as a dog does of algebra.

They look at the field slack jawed, in incomprehension, and they’re “bored.”

If they had even the slightest understanding of the game, they wouldn’t be.

Here are just a few of the interesting things they could be looking at with no one on base. (These will vary from batter to batter and sometimes from pitch to pitch):

  • The position of the infield (depth and relation to the bases)
  • The position of the outfield
  • The pitch sequence (type of pitch, attempted location)
  • Actual pitch location
  • The pitcher’s pitch count
  • The pitcher’s velocity
  • The pitcher’s mechanics
  • The batter’s batting stance
  • The batter’s position in the box
  • The batter’s plate discipline
  • The batter’s ability to foul off bad pitches — one of the most entertaining things I’ve ever seen was Brandon Belt’s epic 21-pitch at bat, fouling off pitch after pitch, earlier this year

With a runner on first base, things get even more interesting. You still have all of the above, but you have more:

  • How big is the runner’s lead?
  • How fast is he?
  • Does it even make sense for the runner to try to steal?
  • How good is the pitcher’s move to first?
  • How fast is the pitcher to the plate?
  • How good is the catcher’s arm and how fast is his release?

With a runner on second or third, or with multiple base runners, it often gets even more complicated.

Then if you’re watching real baseball (National League baseball — without the dumbed-down abomination known as the designated hitter) — you have the fun of trying to outguess the managers:

  • When and if the manager should pinch hit for the pitcher
  • Which pinch hitter should the manager use?
  • Or should the manager have the pitcher bunt, take, or fake a bunt and try to hit a butcher boy?
  • When exactly should a manager bring in a relief pitcher? And which one?
  • Should the manager make a double switch if he calls in a reliever?

Again, this only scratches the surface.

Yes, baseball can be boring — in blowout games. But so can football, hockey, basketball and socker — and please don’t call that unAmerican foreign sport “football”: that term applies only to a popular American religious ceremony involving human sacrifice.

Hipsters generally prefer football (a ritualized form of mayhem conducted for your and my — go ‘9ers! — entertainment) and basketball (the perfect game for those with nonexistent attention spans, and proof that childhood glandular disorders need not impair adult earnings potential).

Me? I’ll take baseball.

 

 

 

 

 

 


“[Jim Harbaugh was a] fantastic coach. [He] worked wonders at Stanford and with the 49ers. But had he stuck around, and had he and [owner Jed] York managed to not go to prison for trying to murder one another, Harbaugh would not be guiding the current 49ers to greatness.

“At Michigan, he’s a winner, no doubt. He’s also the old blow-top, crybaby Harbs, weirdly unpredictable and combative.

“Enjoy him while you can, Michigan. His next gig looms: secretary of state.”

–Scott Ostler, “Time for 49ers fans to stop crying over Jim Harbaugh