I was lucky enough to see Muddy Waters, BB & Albert King, Otis Rush, John Lee Hooker and Stevie Vaughan in clubs in the USA in the 70s & 80s. What these gigs had in common was their LACK of amplification. The PA was used for the vocals and the amps and drums had a natural balance, the musicians listened to each other and used dynamics, and the sound was clear, balanced and full. Stevie used one super reverb, Otis had a tweed bassman, BB used a twin reverb and Muddy had a super reverb.

Now jump forward to the present day, at many gigs even in small pubs drums are mic’d and multi amp setups are often used. People equate volume with emotional intensity and often the vocals are drowned out by drums being pounded and not being allowed to speak. As a result, the subtleties and nuances that are so important to music are lost...

Now, I do not propose that we go back to the stone age, but I think that in small gigs these factors are worth considering and that this mindset can be applied to fully mic’d up gigs too. I recently heard Booker T do this in Dublin – the sound was balanced and refreshing!