Video from the 2015 Inc. Magazine battle of the corporate bands is available now for streaming and/or downloading from The Playoff 2015.

On stage with Gartner in the Cloud, Sep 12 2015
On stage with Gartner in the Cloud, Sep 12 2015

My band, Gartner in the Cloud, was the only one to feature harmonica. So if you’re very harmonica-centric, you might want to fast forward it to 1:23 (that’s “one hour 23 minutes”), when Gartner in the Cloud plays. If you’re more appreciative of music in general, and rock in particular, watch the whole thing. There’s plenty to like there.

When I watch this performance, it seems to me that the harp is mixed too hot. It’s not a problem I ever expected to have in a rock band: being too loud for the two electric guitars, bass, and drums onstage. Usually in this situation it’s quite the opposite: I’m struggling to hear myself above a wall of electric guitar. I guess now I know for sure that an RP into the PA is plenty loud enough. (I guess I also know for sure that when I talk to the FOH sound tech before the show, I get more harp out front.) My entire rig for this performance consisted of a Digitech iStomp running Swingshift, an RP500 running customized band-repertoire-specific versions of my patches for Digitech RP, and an Audix Fireball V mic. The harp was loud, colorful, and multi-hued. After the show it was clear to me that the message of a new vocabulary for rock harmonica was coming across; several people commented on it, including the bass player for Dixie Peach, recent winners of the same competition, as you might expect a Southern rock band and a very good one.

The harps I used for this performance included a Manji in F (intro and First I look at the purse), Seydel 1847 Classic in A (Oh Well, Harp Solo, Got to Get Better, Mister Soul), Seydel 1847 Classic in D (Got to Get Better harp solo in 3rd position and chorus chords), Seydel Session Steel in C (3rd position, Hymn 43), and Seydel Session Steel in Bb (very short solo on Mister Soul). I played every piece in 2nd or 3rd position. 5 harps in total, and I had a Suzuki Manji 8-pack with Low F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, and F harps in it for backup. I knew for sure I wasn’t going to run out of harps. I didn’t need the backups this time. That’s the thing about backups: you can’t predict when you’ll need them, only that sooner or later you will.