Ever wonder why you hear singers asking for more vocals in the monitor, two, three, twelve times a show? Why drummers are always readjusting their set? Why guitarists live in a perpetual state of unease?
You can thank your local grumpy sound guy — ponytailed, openly hostile, so barely passively aggressive that they're just plain aggressive. These are the unsung villains keeping the scene kind of running, turning soundchecks into the experience every musician (and most fans) will recognize as soon as they hit play on The Hard Times' new short doc: Soundman: The Art of the Grumpy.
To be fair, not all sound engineers are like this, but enough that you'll probably relate (and cringe) when the titular soundman lays his philosophy out: "In an ideal world, a band is scared shitless to ask me anything." Two mics? "Oh, it's going to be one of those." More vocal in the monitor? "I've maxed out, dude. Do you want me to blow the board?" Seen Narcos? "I've only seen the British Office."
Ryan Long stars and directs and captures an experience that keeps bands in a state of perpetual negative energy. How would anyone play a show without it?