Just thought I’d share the story of my adventure in the last couple years with using Gig Performer live!
I’ve previously mainly played in smaller church contexts and certainly share this from the perspective of someone at the other end of the scale from the ‘full time professional gigger!’…
In 2019…still using my old trusty Roland XP 80… I came across Gig Performer…and posted a thread in the community asking the question:
“Is Gig Performer + vst’s really a viable live solution compared to a new synth”
Great responses…and decided to plunge right into the Gig Perfomer + vst world…still using the Roland XP80 and an old Windows video editing laptop from 2011…reformatted for the job!
Loved all the amazing sounds suddenly possible…and after unloading cash on things like Omnisphere and Komplete Ultimate suddenly have more sounds than I know what do with!
A mate gave me an opportunity to play bass in his “pub band”…was incredibly nervous about this…as playing in public was quite a change from playing in the ‘safety’ of church and my school where I work…
But he was really encouraging…and away we went…having a few great gigs…I was playing mainly bass
I then thought…ok…it is time to try out my Keyboard and Gig Performer…
…playing some of the classics like “House of the Rising Sun”.great vintage organ sound vst + then using GP very capably do a few tricks like the INXS song “Never tear us apart”…with a great emulated strings synth sound in one part of the keyboard…and the sax solo with a tonne of reverb up in the top right…
Wow! So much fun…and the guys loved the new sound I could bring to the mix.
Then Covid hit…everything screeched to a halt…and my short life as a “gigging” musician came to a stop!
World has now returned to more normal…and just last week one of my fellow teachers and I decided…let’s have a go again at playing in public…to play as a small band for a recent ‘Australia Day’ event. (low key…not too many people) She plays a bit of guitar and sings really nicely…
So we put together our setlist of songs…using several vsts again…this time though I explored the whole “backing track” world… discovered “karaoke-version.com”…and I know the purists would probably be appalled…but I looked at it as a way to employ some “session musicians” to fill out the sound of our humble little band!
So I’ve use the audio player…and routed the audience track to front of house and backing track to keep me in time to my headphones on the Motu M4.
I then also discovered Mobile Sheets…the Windows sheet music viewer…and discovered that inside the songs I could get it to send midi messages over to Gig Perfomer to do the program changes…to automatically move through my setlist.
To help with me reading the music in Mobile Sheets …I took a regular music stand apart…and managed to attach a vesa mount bracket and a cheap 24 inch second hand lcd monitor to it…as a “digital music stand!”…I just run an old DVI lead over to it from my Gig Performer laptop.
So now fast forward to the day of our ‘gig’
I was a bit nervous about whether everything would work correctly…it is one thing to play happily in the office with headphones…another to actually go out in public with a crowd of people! A bit more pressure too because now I am the ‘main instrument musician’ as opposed to mainly tagging along with my bass behind competent guitarists in my other band.
The location was by the side of a beautiful river in a tiny country Victorian town…and we started the setup.
Prior to the day I’d asked about shelter…they said there would be shade…but immediately on setup…discovered a massive issue. Where we were positioned was directly in front of rising full bright sun…hammering directly onto the screen…I could barely see where the mouse pointer was…and that was squinting close up to it about 4 centimetres away…let alone now be able to read full tiny score on some of the more detailed piano songs!
Thankfully I’d considered this very scenario the night before. I’d found some scrap thin ply wood beside a local store…and built a bit of an agricultural box…spray painted it black…applied to my monitor with Gaffe tape!!
This made quite the difference…and then we also tracked down an umbrella to shield the sun coming in.
So we “pre flight” all the gear…set our levels…try out the backing tracks…check Mobile Sheets is doing it’s job to change the setlist…get someone to help us try and “mix” the audience levels…by pointing to us “up or down”
(I midi programmed next page with one of the old Roland buttons)
So now the ceremomy and Australia Day speeches start…we’re playing straight after this…
one particularly passionate older man starts his speech…it is very lengthy…he does a great job…but does keep going…and going…
meanwhile I’m watching my laptop now bathed in bright hot sun…and I’m thinking…is it all going to melt!!
Finally…we start…and away we go…and Gig Peformer is an absolute trooper…it doesn’t skip a beat…it and Mobile Sheets work together in tandem like a professional 80’s rock band…I can’t even see the laptop screen with GP…but the partnership does it’s job beautifully…and just keeps succesfully work the way through the setlist…
People are a little stunned to hear so much ‘music’ coming from just two people…my friend does a brilliant job with the vocals…and I get through the keys parts without too many mistakes…goes well!
It all worked fantastically well…with one of my favourites parts hammering out the INXS sax solo on the keys.
Later the husband of my vocalist friend said…“That is the best you have ever sounded”…all the backing and Gig Performer and synth sounds etc…brought a great atmosphere…
they had the biggest crowd they’ve ever had…ran out of BBQ sausages…and have booked us in for future gigs!
So that is my story of using Gig Peformer…as more of a ‘hobbyist’ than a professional…but it has been crucial in getting us more of a professional sound! It was such a highlight and a lot of fun…and on top of it they even threw some money our way for our work.
Thanks so much Gig Performer and the community for all your support. Still lots to learn…but it has been a great adventure so far!!