On The Culmination of a Technological Dream: GPE Live

It seems a little weird that, less than a year after releasing a new album, I would spend so much time and energy on a disc I launched back in 2007. And yet there I was on stage last Saturday in San Jose, warming up what I could only describe as a thousand-robot ballet. Every little piece had to work or the entire show would come to a grinding halt, leaving me under the spotlights looking like an idiot.

Fortunately, all of the problems seemed to happen at once… right before we were supposed to open the doors. My system’s audio got borked in a way that I’d never seen before, leading me to invent an entirely new class of obscenities in rapid succession as I tracked down the bug. The house system also got confused somehow and, instead of feeding us a click track and the backing audio in our monitors, fed us raw SMPTE timecode… basically, it’s like listening to a modem or fax machine.

I don’t think I’ve ever attempted a show this technologically complicated in my life- we had mics, backing tracks, software instruments, precisely-synchronized video that we had to license from Miramax, live audio loops that we laid down onstage without dropping the beat, and a painstakingly-arranged light show the likes of which even I didn’t expect. Justin, aka Cheetah, worked his ass off for weeks planning the lights, so I hope he’s somewhere drunk and happy now that it’s over.

Runtt on the Pennywhistle at FC 2013

Show Time

30 minutes late, we finally opened the doors. I was so happy to see folks took time out of their convention schedule to come see Runtt and I pull this thing off. The staff at Further Confusion pretty much bent over backwards to give us assistance and the setup time we needed. Sean (the con chairman) and the rest of his crew have once again proven that a convention’s entertainment is only as good as the support they put into it. When they take risks and make the effort, amazing shit happens.

And once that explosion went off at the start of the album, amazing shit followed. My voice didn’t frack, despite shouting over the dealer den crowds again (seriously, I need booth babes). The crowd was enthusiastic and upbeat, despite having to wait in line for half an hour. The lights danced right on cue as Justin had programmed them, despite the robot insurrection that occurred right before the show.

Somewhere in the middle of all this, Runtt and I actually had a damn good time. Seriously, every moment of that show felt wonderful, like I was finally checking a box on the bucket list.

We got plenty of photos, though at this point I’m waiting to see and hear the live recordings before I announce anything else. IF YOU HAVE ANY PHOTOS FROM THE SHOW, PLEASE POST THEM YOURSELF AT http://flickr.com/groups/matthewebelfans And if you missed the show, don’t worry, I have a feeling it won’t be the last time Runtt and I do this. We may not be able to afford the licensing at every show we play together, but we’ll make it happen again sooner or later.

And maybe then the robots will behave.