21st February 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Band not miming (Davie Gardner)

With regard to several public “observations” that Bjorn Again were allegedly miming at the Tall Ships event at Holmsgarth on Saturday night – I, and the rest of the team involved with this show (including our professional sound engineering team from Glasgow) are happy to refute this.

The Bjorn Again band members arrived off the ferry on Saturday morning after what one band member described as “the worst night of my life”.

After another bad experience checking into their hotel the band set off for Holmsgarth to set up and sound check at 10am. They took an hour to set up and did another full-hour sound check including drums, keyboard, guitar and all vocals. No backing tracks were used at that time – I have our own sound engineers word on that.

It was also bitterly cold for everyone involved both onstage and in the sound booth – especially for the girl vocalists who had to borrow heavy jackets from the event security people. I hardly think everyone would have put themselves through that had we simply been sticking on a CD later in the night.

Pre-concert the girls and lads also went through a fairly lengthy vocal “rehearsal” in the backstage marquee. Subsequently I have also spoken with our sound engineers (professionals from Glasgow) and they assure me that all lead vocals (with the exception of some limited backing vocals) were indeed live and the only other backing track used was the bass line (given the band don’t have a bass player) and a few additional samples triggered from the keyboard. Pretty standard stuff for many bands.

Inevitably there is more than an element of “cabaret” about Bjorn Again and given that our brief from the Tall Ships organisers was to provide a musical family atmosphere that would also appeal to a wide audience, including our international crews, I feel and hope we managed to achieved that aim.

I also don’t think that festivals such as T in the Park (which recommended Bjorn Again to me in the first instance), Glastonbury and many other international events would be booking an act that simply mime their show – let alone the likes of Metallica or (in their day) Nirvana having them as their support act – not to mention all the other high-profile international appearances around the globe they make into the bargain.

Equally rest assured that I personally would not have booked an act who mime to play in Shetland at any time – let alone at the Tall Ships!

As to the observations by some that by looking at the large screen you could see they were miming – that’s easy to refute too. Throughout the whole long weekend the large screen did not “sync” with the live sound on stage. There was continually around a two-second delay at all times between the screen images and the stage sound, not just during Bjorn Again – this was also very evident during Pete Stack & the Rayburns set on Sunday night. Were they miming too?

If anyone didn’t enjoy the show fine – but I’m delighted that the vast majority of the 5,000+ people there apparently did.
Rest assured you were not cheated by them, me or anyone else involved in this event – that’s hopefully not how I operate in this business I can assure you.

Finally can I personally thank everyone – musicians, technicians and crews, event management, the Tall Ships management team, all the volunteers the ships crews and especially you, the audience, for making the whole Tall Ships weekend an experience one that will live with me for the rest of my life. You all did Shetland very proud.
David Gardner
Music programmer,
Tall Ships Shetland 2011
13 Goodlad Crescent,
Lerwick.

2 comments

  1. I think David makes some good points here. Yes the vocals were definately live. I was in the third row of people and the show was excellent. Very entertaining and technically very good. My family and friends and myself really enjoyed it. It is commonplace to have backing tracks and triggered samples. To produce the sound we heard there would have been not only a bass player but also additional guitarists, a saxophone player, additional keyboards, a brass section and a string section. Most of what we heard was live. If the whole thing had been live then the ticket price would have to be much higher to pay the additional musicians. A fair compromise I think.

    Reply
  2. M. Poleson

    I was at the front and I can verify that Bjorn Again were not miming and good on them for braving the northerly wind blowing at them! Maybe more folk should have been there for the music and not for the drink and your sense of perception might have been a bit sharper!!

    Reply

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