Let's say you've nailed the interview, gotten the internship, and your mother is already stitching up your superhero costume with “Live Sound Intern Man/Woman” emblazoned across the front. (All the cool superhero names were taken, apparently.) You're ready to do battle against the forces of evil – and probably make runs to Guitar Center.
Just like every superhero from Batman to . . . Robin . . . you'll need an arsenal of useful gadgets to compensate for your utter lack of real superpowers. You probably have most of this stuff lying around already, but it does you no good unless it's within 50 feet of you at each and every gig. If Indiana Jones can have the foresight to carry an idol-sized sack of dirt in his adventure bag, you really don't have any excuse not to have at least the following basics:
1. Ear plugs. It amazes me – amazes me – that so many live sound folks don't own or use ear plugs. These otherwise conscientious people, who will quite literally rip your head off for setting a drink within thirty feet of their precious consoles, see no problem whatsoever with deliberately trashing the one tool that no amount of money can replace: Hearing.
2. Flashlight. Don't be That Guy trying to find something on a dark stage by the light of a cell phone. Buy a bright, sturdy LED flashlight and keep it with you at all times. Superhero bonus: Nothing will get you through a dense crowd faster than 137 lumens of “Excuse me” power. (Having a heavy metal tube in your hand doesn't hurt, either.)
3. Headphones. Maybe I'm still stuck in kindergarten, but I'm pretty big on sharing. You can borrow my kick drum microphone, my car, my girlfriend, whatever . . . but there is nothing in this world that makes me cringe like hearing the words: “Can I borrow your headphones?” No matter how nice you may be, my brain is immediately filled with a high-definition, 3D montage of you foregoing today's shower time to instead paw through your pile of greasy, dirty clothes and sweaty footwear, and maybe shove a few Twinkies in your mouth for good measure. (Remind me, I'm out of Twinkies.) Buy a quality pair of can-style headphones with a 1/4” adapter (I use Extreme Isolation EX-29s) and keep them out of sight – and off the mooch radar – as much as possible.