John Mayall and Chris Wilson

Attended at concert at the Warragul Arts Centre of John Mayall and Chris Wilson.

John was in the foyer selling copies of his latest CD: Tough. Apparently he does that at every gig no matter how posh. Nice touch.
I asked John if he was performing solo or with a band. John replied that it was with a band, but it wasn't his!?
Bought a CD which John Autographed.

The audience was split 50/50 into listeners and players.

Chris Wilson was the support act who was in turn was supported by Andy Baylor. Chris sang, played guitar and fabulous harmonica. Andy Baylor played guitar and fiddle.
I couldn't help thinking that this paring was very new as Andy was watching Chris very closely through the set and even missed a few chord changes here and there.
They played the standard thirty minutes and even though the audience wanted an encore, non eventuated.

During intermission, Chris and Andy sold their CD's. Interestingly, Chris only had a batch of one CD for sale whereas Andy had three.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect for John Mayall. I had seen him once before and he hadn't performed any of his back catalogue. What would he do this time? The answer was a bit of everything, from his first LP to the the latest CD.

The band was a four piece and much younger than John. They were:

Guitar: Rocky Athos.
I thought John said Atlas instead of Athos. (Read later for the P.A. saga. It was really hard to understand what John was saying.)
Rocky was a chunky, Guitar-God who played well and had obviously attended grimacing 101 at band school, he had a suite of grimacing postures at his fingertips. Rocky had the looks and moves of Fabio, enough said.
Drums: Jay Davenport.
He did a great job. I noticed that he had his own personal fan to keep him cool.
Bass: Greg Rzab.
Good solid bass.
Keyboard: Tom Canning.
Mainly played a Hammond sounding keyboard and making sure that his collar was up and that his hair was 'right'.

John Mayall played keyboard, harmonica and did all of the vocals.

The band seemed rather disjointed and not very 'into' be supporting musicians. They almost seemed to take playing in a band with an old man as a bit of a joke. You could see them giving each other 'looks' behind John's back.

As the evening progressed it became apparent that there was something seriously wrong with the sound.
The Arts Centre has a good P.A. system which tonight, operated erratically for the whole show.

Let me explain.

The first issue was when John started off the show solo, singing and backing himself on harmonica and later added some right handed piano. At that point I realised that most of the sound (especially his keyboard) was coming from the foldback speakers and not the main speakers. When the band joined in, I later found out that the drummer's foldback wasn't functioning. Next, even though the guitar amplifier was miced, nothing was coming through the main speakers. He knew something was wrong and even changed amps, but that wasn't the problem.

During the evening the sound from the main speakers kept changing. The guitarist only came through them in one song, the rest he just powered through his own amp. The bass player just didn't care and thundered on through his own amp. The drummer had a strange mix of powerful bass drum and a bit of the high tom tom's, but the rest of the kit was very sedate. There were probably four or five mics around him. The keyboard players volume was also up and down from hardly audible to really pushing it. He had no amp and was at the mercy of the mixer guy.

In a nutshell, it was almost as if they hadn't slipped the guy on the mixer $50 (what is he going rate these days?) to get a good sound and they wrecked them with surgical precision. Wait for the solo and then mix them down to barely audible. Most disappointing. Any wonder I do my own sound mixing?

Apart from the major sound distraction, I had a good night out. Both shows were good, I caught up with a lot of people I hadn't seen for awhile and had a well earned night out watching other people work.

P.S. I wasn't the only one that thought John Mayall could have passed as Rolf Harris! He just didn't have a wobble-board or a paint brush in his hands.