Have you ever seen all the stuff that an experienced field mixer human brings on a field shoot?
The earbuds touching the RCA cable thing is to see if the club mixer is sending you anything at all. You can also get that same effect with a headphone extender adapter. !@#$ I can’t find one fast enough, but it’s just over an inch long and allows you to put two stereo 1/8" plugs together. The club mixer plays to your headphones first, and then you take the connector apart and plug the cable into your computer. Nothing like slaving away on the computer and killing the show only to find out later the club mixologist isn’t sending you squat.
Please note that if you don’t have working headphones or earbuds with you, you should probably give up and go home.
Then you plug the club cable into the Blue Stereo Line-In of your laptop, not the pink Mic-In. Select it in your Windows Control Panels.
Then Launch Audacity and select the same thing in Edit > Preferences > Devices.
Click anywhere in the red recording meters and they should wake up and bounce with the music.
If you’re doing all this before anybody is in the booth, you can whip out your iPod (that you brought with you in your run bag) and jack that into the Stereo Line-In (not Mic-In) of your laptop and use that for testing. Use the earbuds to set a normal iPod playback level and change the cable. That should be close enough for jazz.
If everything works out, that will give you a recording if you pressed Record right this second and settled back for a pint.
If you have even more time, Edit > Preferences > Recording > Playthrough and the Green Playback meters should light up and allow you to hear the performance. Note that if you have the red bouncing lights and blue waves, you are getting a recording whether or not you can hear it. They should never get any bigger than this.
Are you getting all this?
Recording in a club is not for the timid.
If you’re doing all this by working through someone else who’s actually in the club and you’re not, then we could be here for a long time.