TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL LIVE EVENT DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY • JANUARY 2017 • ISSUE 209
BASTILLE’S WILD WORLD
EVENT SAFETY SUMMIT • PANIC! AT THE DISCO • ON TOUR WITH BMTH • TECH FOCUS: SHURE KSM8 BACK CHAT: OLA MELZIG • GEAR HEADS: HIGH END SYSTEMS • JACK GARRATT LIVE • MTV EMAs • PSA
JANUARY 2017 #209
1/3/17 5:43 PM
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Happy New Year… As expected, the holiday break flew by, and 2017 is off to a busy start at TPi HQ. Our lovely Hannah is about to depart temporarily while she looks after her first born (or Baby ‘Rockstar’ TPi to give him his full name), during which time Justin will be stepping in to work closely with her advertising accounts. His details are listed below. Hannah, we can’t wait to meet the little one. Good luck with motherhood - you will be beyond fabulous! However, she will be in attendance at the TPi Awards, which will soon be upon us. Tickets are selling fast - with 1,200 seats already taken - so if you’re planning on coming to the industry’s biggest live production networking party, book your place now. Working alongside our fresh blood Georgia, we’re also welcoming our brand new recruit Lauren Dyson into the fold. You’ll be able to meet our new ladies at the TPi Awards, which gives me just enough time to train them in appropriate gin measures... In this issue, we were lucky enough to cover some fully charged technical delights including Bastille’s UK run, Bring Me The Horizon’s headline arena tour, and Jack Garratt’s looping lair to name but a few. There’s been some really impressive video implementation seen on tour of late and we’re interested to see what this year holds for the sector. Bigger, brighter and more pixels is to be expected, but show designs are also developing at an impressive rate. Offstage, and in early December, I was able to attend the Event Safety Alliance’s annual safety summit in Pennsylvania. It was a real eye-opener for me. It’s something I’d been wanting to get involved with for a while, and on its third incarnation I got to see the conference and debate in full swing. You can read a little bit about the reasons behind why the event exists, how its grown and what it hopes to achieve for the vital safety of our industry on Pg.8. There’s just time to say our pro audio compadres that Justin and I will be at winter NAMM in Anaheim, California, which takes places at the end of this month. The show is becoming a real hub for the live engineering community and we look forward to seeing you there! Kelly Murray Editor
EDITOR Kelly Murray Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7738 154689 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ASSISTANT EDITOR Ste Durham Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8385 Mobile: +44 (0)7891 679742 e-mail: email@example.com STAFF WRITER Stewart Hume Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8385 Mobile: +44 (0)7702 054344 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING SALES Georgia Guthrie Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8399 Mobile: +44 (0)7501 597837 e-mail: email@example.com ADVERTISING SALES Lauren Dyson Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7415 773639 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org EVENT MANAGER - TPi AWARDS Mo Naeem Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8358 Mobile: +44 (0)775 9272 313 e-mail: email@example.com
GENERAL MANAGER - TPi MAGAZINE & AWARDS Hannah Eakins (on materninty leave until July 2017) CHIEF EXECUTIVE Justin Gawne Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7768 850767 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org GRAPHIC DESIGN & PRODUCTION Dan Seaton: email@example.com Zoe Willcox: firstname.lastname@example.org ACCOUNTS Lynette Levi / Sarah Miller: email@example.com MONDIALE GROUP CHAIRMAN Damian Walsh COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Bastille by Tony Woolliscroft PRINTED BY Buxton Press • www.buxpress.co.uk Annual subscriptions (including P&P): £42 (UK), £60 (Europe), £78/$125 (RoW). Subscription enquiries to: Subscriptions, Mondiale Publishing Limited, Strawberry Studios, Watson Square, Stockport, SK1 3AZ, UK. Tel: +44 (0)161 476 5580 Fax: +44 (0)161 476 0456 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.tpimagazine.com • www.tpiawards.com www.tpmeamagazine.com Issue 209 - January 2017
TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL is a controlled circulation magazine, published 12 times a year by Mondiale Publishing Limited under licence. ISSN 1461-3786 Copyright © 2017 Mondiale Publishing Limited. All contents of this publication are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, in any form whatsoever, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Every effort is taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this publication but neither Mondiale Publishing Ltd, nor the Editor, can be held responsible for its contents or any consequential loss or damage resulting from information published. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Publishers or Editor. The Publishers accept no responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, illustrations, advertising materials or artwork. Total Production International USPS: (ISSN 1461 3786) is published 12 times a year by Mondiale Publishing Limited United Kingdom. The 2017 US annual subscription price is 117USD. Airfreight and mailing in the USA by Agent named Air Business, C/O WorldNet Shipping USA Inc., 155-11 146th Avenue, Jamaica, New York, NY11434. Periodicals postage paid at Jamaica NY 11431. US Postmaster: Send address changes to Total Production International, Air Business Ltd, C/O WorldNet Shipping USA Inc., 155-11 146th Avenue, Jamaica, New York, NY11434. Subscription records are maintained at Mondiale Publishing Ltd. Waterloo Place, Watson Square, Stockport, SK1 3AZ, UK.
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EVENT FOCUS 08
Event Safety Summit Event Safety Alliance’s Jim Digby discusses the third annual summit.
12 All Saints It’s a DiGiCo mix for the group’s comeback tour. 16 Adamson Systems’ First UK Demo Hosted by The Warehouse Sound Services, the event showcased a wide array of Adamson products. 18 Bose Professional Bose speakers were out in force at Tenerife’s Hard Rock Hotel for the Children of the ‘80s Grand Opening Party.
PRODUCTION PROFILE 20 Bastille TPi’s Kelly Murray witnesses the band’s Wild World tour - their largest production to date.
Bring Me The Horizon Backstage at the British metallers highly-anticipated UK arena tour.
Panic! At The Disco Las Vegas four-piece PATD give a masterclass in showmanship with their Death of a Bachelor tour.
Jack Garratt Ste Durham checks in with the modern day one-man-band and his hyper-tech backline set up. MTV EMAs Hosted at the Rotterdam Ahoy, the awards show once again celebrated 12 months of musical excellence. Jake Bugg With a team of returning crewmembers, the young indie rocker was out on the road with a whole new show package.
TECH FOCUS 72
One year since its launch at winter NAMM, we examine the Shure KSM8’s impact on the industry.
76 Passenger’s LD Jake Vernum looks back at his year with the English singer- songwriter.
CLOCKING OFF 78
DWR Distribution’s new charity to aid those working in the industry.
GEAR HEADS 80
High End Systems General Manager, Jeff Pelzl, discuses three new additions to the SolaRange family of fixtures.
INDUSTRY APPOINTMENTS 82
The latest movers and shakers.
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE
Andy Lenthall on #demandsafety
BACK CHAT 90
Technical Director of Eurovision Song Contest, Ola Melzig talks shop.
EVENT SAFETY SUMMIT Taking place at the hub of North America’s live production community, the Rock Litiz campus in Pennsylvania, the Event Safety Alliance’s third summit was its best-attended yet. TPi and the PSA flew to the conference to join in the ongoing education. Here we speak to the ESA’s Jim Digby about the importance of the international safety message.
This was the third Event Safety Summit. What sparked the first event? The Event Safety Summit is rooted in the initial vision for the Event Safety Alliance, which included the creation of practical safety-related learning opportunities for our industry. Prior to the first Event Safety Summit (2014) we frequently brought up the concept of a safety-specific conference during ESA appearances, and the interest from those in attendance was encouraging. We approached (long-time ESA Sponsor) Allianz with the idea for the summit, and they graciously agreed to support the project.
participation in the organisation continues to grow at a steady pace across all segments of the live event industry. What started as a movement rooted in entertainment production now includes representation from areas such as corporate events, motorsports, athletics, and public safety. More importantly, the conversation regarding safety has not abated with time. We’ve supported several other conferences in developing and promoting safety-related content, and are regularly asked to contribute to a variety of general and industry-specific publications. As an industry, I believe we’ve all woken up to the reality that we can no longer stand by and wait for the next catastrophe to occur, nor is the status quo any longer acceptable - we must continue to discuss, learn, improve and plan.
Since its inception, how do you feel the movement has gained awareness in North America? As you know, the ESA came together in the aftermath of the Indiana State Fair stage roof collapse in 2011. As with all movements born from tragedy, there’s often a significant drop off in interest the further one gets from the event. The ESA has managed to buck this trend. As we enter our fifth year,
Is the international attendance growing? We have seen great year-on-year growth for the Event Safety Summit, both in terms of attendance and representation. This year’s event included 08
EVENT SAFETY SUMMIT
What were the main aims of the 2016 event? This year’s theme E Pluribus Unum [Out Of Many, One] was an attempt to drive the point that no one should operate in a vacuum when it comes to planning for safety, that no event is accomplished without the participation of a variety of resources. All parties on an event site are stakeholders in safety and share a responsibility to those attending and participating to ‘do no harm’; giving strength to the concept that, when planning for safety happens at the molecular level of event production, it becomes significantly easier to ensure safe outcomes. As such we presented a number of experts from a broad cross-section of the industry to discuss their planning and how they include the other operational stakeholders in the process.
attendees from China, Germany, South Korea, Canada, Nigeria, and the UK. Many of these countries are places where the ESA has visited during 2016, in the name of creating an international coalition of ESA support and creating the framework for an internationally recognised basic safety credential currently in development by the ESA and soon to be available online. How do you decide on the topics without covering old ground - or is this the point, we need to drill these thoughts in? We work hard to keep the programming for each summit as diverse as possible. That said, we believe that there are core issue affecting our industry that do require frequent discussion, such as risk management and severe weather. In these cases, we try to ensure that presenters are taking a fresh approach to the subject matter, addressing a different set of challenges and solutions. There’s also the challenge of creating a programme that can speak to a very diverse attendee base. If you’re an audio engineer for example, issues related to crowd management may seem to have little relevance. The key is identifying presenters that can connect the dots between their chosen specialty and the wider conversation.
There were a variety of areas covered, including weather factors, crowd control and safe evacuation techniques, how can you ensure the education is correctly translated when the attendees are in live situations, without a mentor on stage? I believe this comes back to idea of this year’s summit, which is ensuring safety is a collaborative effort. The goal of the ESA is to create and support
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EVENT SAFETY SUMMIT
too many people suffering. Mental health and the challenges faced by touring professionals is becoming a serious issue for our industry. While this should be a fun career, it can take its toll physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I think it’s important for touring professionals, particularly those in leadership positions, to learn how to recognise the warning signs of mental distress in themselves and their team, both on and off the road. Groups such as MusiCares and Behind the Scenes are doing tremendous work in the areas of mental health support, and I encourage everyone to check them out.
a workforce that looks out for one another and is unafraid to challenge the status quo. Through education, we encourage everyone to become a voice for safety and share in the ownership of the results. That very week, we saw some truly tragic incidents occur that affected our industry. What are your initial thoughts? We’re heartbroken over the completely avoidable, tragic and unnecessary loss of life. We believe that enabling greater safety awareness through standardised training will, in the future, help to prevent tragedies by empowering everyone in the workforce to recognise and speak out when substandard conditions are in front of us. Investigations into recent incidents are ongoing, and out of respect for those affected, the ESA will reserve comment until all details are made available. Once we have greater clarity as to what occurred, we will share any relevant facts and recommendations.
The ESA’s Severe Weather Summit will take place in March 2017. Why is this such an important part of ongoing education with promoters? Severe weather is one of the greatest threats facing outdoor events, and it is the one which we have the least control over. There are many misconceptions surrounding weather forecasting and existing behaviors that cause some to unwittingly expose an audience and those in their duty of care to danger. Fortunately, once you understand the science of meteorology and the available resources, creating an effective, minimally subjective plan to respond to severe weather can be fairly straightforward. The Severe Weather Summit is designed to provide this core knowledge, improve the attendee’s knowledge of the challenges faced with weather preparedness and help to build the skills necessary for the planning process.
There was a great turnout to the conference, but how do we spread the word further, outside of those walls? Do you think live event professionals should all go through official safety training in each country, or a general international certificate in order for them to have the roles / power they often do? While we advocate for safety training in all forms, we believe that a globally-recognised safety credential is the logical solution for ensuring a knowledgeable workforce. ESA has spent much of 2016 working with countries around the world to raise awareness and acceptance of our Event Safety Access Training (ESAT) program as a model for such a credential. The reception has been remarkably positive, and with an online version of ESAT launching in 2017 we anticipate rapid progress towards this goal, “Mental health and the challenges particularly in countries where in-person faced by touring professionals is delivery of the training is difficult. There was a section on mental health issues, which is something I’ve seen become more prevalent over the last couple of years. What do you think we can do to improve the mental health minefield for touring crew? It seems as though the conversation is lost / unspeakable for far
becoming a serious issue for our industry. While this should be a fun career, it can take its toll physically, emotionally, and spiritually.” Jim Digby, Event Safety Alliance Chairman 10
Can you sum up the overall outcome of ESS 2016? By all measures, this year’s Event Safety Summit was a resounding success. Watching the event grow and evolve over the last three years provides evidence that many in the industry are increasingly aware of the risks we face every day, and are committed to improving the safe conditions for their employees, co-workers, and audience. We want to thank our guests, presenters, sponsors, and the Rock Lititz community for an outstanding three days, and for being such fierce advocates for the industry wide cultural change that we are attempting to enable. TPi http://eventsafetyalliance.org
ALL SAINTS ARE ALL HOOKED UP WITH DIGICO Girl band All Saints’ comeback tour played 10 dates in academy venues around the UK late last year. It was their first headline tour in over a decade and, with most dates being completely soldout, space was at a premium. DiGiCo SD9 consoles (supplied by Wigwam Acoustics) were the solution thanks to their small footprint providing the perfect choice for both FOH Engineer Jonny Williams and Monitor Engineer Darryl Walsh.
“DiGiCo is always my first choice for anything I mix. I’ve used them for years, know them inside out, and they sound great,” said Williams. “With the new Stealth Core 2 software upgrades, their flexibility has been expanded to provide an even more powerful mixing facility in a frame far smaller than you’d usually expect, so the SD9 seemed like a great choice for this tour.” “For me, DiGiCo was the only choice, as I needed the routing flexibility that the SD range offers,” Walsh added. “I would have been happy to use any model but, with budgets being a major driving force, we went for what was both a practical and affordable option. The Stealth Core 2 upgrade means that the SD9 is really powerful and for monitors I like to work in layers, so a big surface isn’t a big requirement.” On stage, Walsh set up inputs for four musicians, the four artists and a tech, all requiring different stereo mixes as standard. “So that we could get the cleanest mixes for the band and the girls, I
needed a lot more than just a standard desk,” he explained. “This is where a DiGiCo console really does stand out. With All Saints, we have four open mics on stage, which tend to pick up a lot of ambient noise and there’s a lot of dynamic range in there, too.” With each singer needing to hear each other, rather than just route the singers’ vocals to everyone’s in ears, Darryl utilised four stereo vocal groups, each comprising of every other singer. “For example, Mel’s mix would have the band, her vocal, then a stereo group of Nic, Nat and Shaznay, with the process repeated for each singer,” he explained. “I also had a vocal group of everyone for the band, so that I could process the group vocals without affecting the singers directly. This meant I could use Dynamic EQ to filter out the high spill, cymbals, etc - a bit like a noise gate - and I could compress the vocals together, so whoever was singing always sat on top of their own mix, without having to be too compressed. 12
Below: Monitor Engineer Daryl Walsh and FOH Engineer Jonny Williams.
“The results where fantastic. I can’t think of any other desk where this would be so easily achievable. It also meant I could do a processed drum group, guitar group and keyboard group for the girls. In total my set up used 16 stereo mixes and seven mono for FX sends and the drum sub, or 39 busses in total. Add in the various splits, the talk system FX and group returns and it was around 74 mono and stereo input channels combined.” “On my SD9 I had 48 inputs plus some split channels, FX returns, shout mics and miscellaneous bits for testing the system each day, so a total of around 60 channels coming in over a number of layers,” says Jonny. “That provided me with enough channels and busses to do everything I would usually do on a (physically) much larger console. I use quite a lot of busses, too, but it was no problem with the new upgrade installed. “On every SD9 I use, I always set up my left-hand bank as layers of inputs, and the right side as busses and control groups. I always like to have a dedicated master section - I guess there’s still a bit of analogue mentality
that I’m trying to cling on to - and I was running five stereo FX and three mono FX, all sent via auxiliaries, but returned to input channels. I had six stereo groups, eight matrices, and 12 control groups all in use, so although I’d already used quite a few, I still had 14 busses to spare.” The pair had two D-Racks on stage running through two DiGiCo Little Red Boxes to make life even simpler. The first D-Rack was situated under the drum riser and took the inputs from all live instruments. The second was rack-mounted in monitor world and took inputs from the playback system and radio mics. “This was all hard wired into the rack, so all we had to do every day is plug the backline looms and mics/DIs on stage and we had it nailed!” said Williams. “The monitor console had full control, and I had gain tracking engaged at FOH. Williams said he chooses DiGiCo simply because they do things other manufacturers don’t do. “Trying to keep everything in a sensible order / layout can sometimes
FOH Engineer Jonny williams described the support from DiGiCo as “fantastic”.
be a challenge on an All Saints show, due to the number of stereo inputs we have,” he said. “However, it’s easy on a DiGiCo because I can just set up stereo channels and everything fits perfectly into banks of 12. The real beauty of a DiGiCo is that you can just move anything anywhere, so when someone decides to add in something extra mid-tour, you just bang it on the end and then move the channel to wherever you want it. “If you think of a simple mix, I can get some gains set, throw the faders up and I’ll be in the ball park - I did that on an SD10 at a festival this summer and it sounded great! When I start getting into the fine tuning of the mix I’ll start looking at the routing with specific attention paid to how I use the groups. I’m a big fan of parallel drum compression when mixing pop, so I’ll get my drum sound rocking via use of that. I’ll set up two stereo groups; one for the ‘dry’ drum sound and one for the compressed sound. Both groups are then controlled by a Control Group. I have multiple guitar channels, so they go into a stereo group, too, with a compressor over the top. This is where a DiGiCo becomes extremely useful; the rest of my inputs (aside from vocals) PLUS my drum and guitar groups then get sent into a ‘Band’ group! Now I have all my ‘music’ channels in one group, with a Control Group assigned to it. My compressors don’t get altered when I move the Control Group fader, so I’m keeping consistency in terms of dynamics, but altering the level accordingly. There aren’t that many other console manufacturers allowing groups to be sent into groups. “With my routing sorted, I start to look at compressors a bit more. I make use of DiGiTubes on a few things, such as bass - it really warms up the sound and makes it sit really nicely in the subs. I use sidechain compressors on a few bits to allow the more ‘important’ bits to sit nicely while there’s a load of other stuff going on around it. “I also make good use of snapshots whenever I can. It’s always good to start off simple when storing song-by-song parameters, so I just tend to get a decent mix going, as if I was going to ‘busk’ the gig, and then begin storing fader levels and channel mutes. I’ll move on from there and look at FX parameters and levels, but it doesn’t get much more complicated than that, to be honest. There have been other artists I’ve mixed where I’ve recalled certain EQs on channels but I generally try to avoid doing that if I can.
“We had a few weeks of rehearsals with All Saints so, by the time we left the studio, I had my mix pretty much locked in - in total I had 30-something Snapshots for a one-and-a-half-hour show. All I needed to do was keep my left hand on my four vocal faders, and my right hitting ‘Next’.” Walsh has toured SD9’s for both monitors and FOH and, he said, wouldn’t have any hesitation in asking for an SD9 again. “There’s certainly enough flexibility in the DiGiCo range to pick and choose what is right for the job,” he says. “I feel that with certain consoles it’s easy to get bogged down in the functionality of the board. Whilst DiGiCo offers a very ‘open source’ way of working - you can lay the desk out to what suits and the macros are incredible - the most important thing - the sound quality - hasn’t been lost to gimmicks. Every piece of equipment in this desk works fantastically well and I’d be happy to leave the outboard racks in the warehouse!” Both engineers also appreciate the exceptional backup they get from the DiGiCo team. “The support from DiGiCo over the years has been fantastic,” said Walsh. “I needed their help with a technical issue when I was in Hong Kong. I called DiGiCo and got a call back at 7am UK time and they talked me through how to put it right. That’s service!” “The staff are always very helpful and the tea is great!” concluded Williams. “Mark Saunders has been extremely accommodating this year and has helped me out with various things. He also keeps appearing at all the festivals we play - I can’t work out whether he’s following me, or it’s just coincidence,” he concluded with a smile. “Both the sound and functionality of the SD9 is next level, and moving between consoles in the SD Range is really simple. “In fact, a few days after the tour finished we flew out to Dubai for a festival where I’d requested an SD5 (because I like the layout). I just converted my SD9 file from the tour and rearranged my snapshots. I had such an easy gig and it sounded great.” TPi www.digico.biz www.allsaintsofficial.co.uk www.sseaudiogroup.com/wigwam/home 14
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ADAMSON’S FIRST UK DEMO A wide range of leading industry professionals attended the first ever UK demonstration of Adamson loudspeakers, hosted by the company’s regional partner, The Warehouse Sound Services. The day long event included a demonstration of Adamson Systems’ E15 and S10 loudspeaker systems and was held in Fly By Nite’s bespoke arena-sized rehearsal space in Redditch, UK.
Earlier this year, The Warehouse Sound Services was named the sole UK distributor for Adamson. Already one of the largest suppliers of proaudio equipment in the UK, The Warehouse opened a third branch in the North of England together with sales and support based in London to support Adamson’s UK growth. Over the last few months The Warehouse has invested heavily in Adamson E15 line arrays with E119 subs, S10 line arrays and the S119 compact subwoofers, dedicated amplifier racks fitted with Lab.gruppen 20K44 amplifiers and substantial quantities of Point and Point Concentric speaker systems. The demo provided audio professionals from across the UK the first ever opportunity to witness the capabilities of the Adamson System, which has been championed by leading FOH engineers. Jochen Sommer, Adamson’s Director of European Operations, presented the E15 to the attendees. He said: “E15 Line Array featured on most of the European festivals during the summer of 2016 and is fast becoming the most talked about large format system by some of the world’s most respected engineers. The E15 provides the optimal solution for touring and rental houses that need system flexibility, fast setup / teardown speeds and superior sonic performance.” Jasper Ravesteijn, Adamson’s European Sales Manager, followed with a demonstration of the S10. He explained: “The S10 is a two-way, full range, sub-compact line array enclosure ideal for arenas, theatres, churches and dance clubs, as well as outdoor festivals. The S10 line array pairs Adamson’s controlled summation technology with a newly designed 10-inch Kevlar transducer to provide a performance level unheard of in this format. The
S10 offers tremendous output for such a compact enclosure.” The system was powered by Lab.gruppen 20K44 amplifiers, which were also being demonstrated by Adamson during the event. A diverse range of audio guests attended the event. These included audio rental companies, venue owners, theatre companies, installation companies, music and event promoters and sound engineers. Craig Buckley, Adamson Brand Manager for the Warehouse Sound Services, commented: “We had a tremendous turnout with many sound engineers and audio professionals extremely impressed with the Adamson system. Everyone was amazed by the clean, rich and powerful sound.” Derek Blair, Director of the Warehouse, added: “The system sounded fantastic! We were delighted to have such a strong attendance at the event. The audio professionals in attendance were extremely impressed with the S10’s blend of performance, footprint and pricing, as well as its equally impressive flexibility and sheer sonic capabilities.’” The last word went to Director of The Warehouse, Janet Murray: “The Warehouse has introduced the Adamson brand into the UK because we believe they represent the next evolution in loudspeaker design and implementation. In our opinion, the E15 and S10 line array loudspeaker systems offer a range of features that are far more advanced than the competition. The quality of the sound is just remarkable! The buzz around Adamson products continues to grow in the UK and the positive feedback from the event has been overwhelming.” TPi www.adamsonsystems.com www.warehousesound.co.uk 16
BOSE PROFESSIONAL: STILL ROCKING IN SPAIN After the successful launch of Europe’s very first Hard Rock Hotel in Ibiza back in May 2014, it’s not a surprise to see a second project take place between Palladium Hotel Group and Hard Rock International. This time around, they have created a second European hotel on the Spanish island of Tenerife, complete with an open-air live music area kitted out with Bose’s latest speakers.
Opened in autumn 2016, Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife is located on the southern coast near Adeje and offers five-star facilities and services to its guests, all while maintaining the immersive music environment that is synonymous with the Hard Rock brand. This is where Bose came in, with the manufacturer working alongside Privium Solutions to provide the sound throughout the hotel, from the lobby and rooms right through to the restaurants and spa - as well as the open-air live music area. Danny Gomez, PR and Sponsoring Manager at Palladium Hotel Group, took up the story: “It first started three years ago in Ibiza, where we managed to make a deal with Hard Rock International, offering them the opportunity to launch the first Hard Rock Hotel in Europe, which was was a very big success. What we managed to bring into the Hard Rock Hotel concept was not just experience relating to the rock bands, pop stars and memorabilia, but also the experience of live bands playing on stage. “When they came to Ibiza and saw what we were doing, they understood this was possible. What we like in new products is to take the experience of the client a step further. For example, if you are enjoying a top holiday in locations like Ibiza and Tenerife, you can now have a great band performing for you on stage in your hotel too.” Bose saw this an opportunity to use its brand new ShowMatch
loudspeakers, which feature DeltaQ next-generation array technology, offering the ability to build traditional (J-Array or Constant Curvature) and DeltaQ array configurations, allowing both portable and installed applications to deploy selectable coverage control. DeltaQ originates from the ability to change directivity or ‘Q’ for each array module. When combined in an array, acoustic energy is highly focussed and can be matched to audience areas more accurately. This is an advancement from traditional line arrays, which typically have significantly less pattern control. The team at Bose felt that the ShowMatch loudspeakers would be a perfect fit for the open-air stage at Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife, as Fuat Koro, Director of Global Sales and Marketing at Bose, explained: “We’re very excited about our DeltaQ technology and we’re looking at this project as the start of the next several years - we’re going to be doing a lot more in terms of live music applications. We feel there’s been a shift from recorded to live music and there’s definitely an important role for Bose in that market. “The live experience hasn’t really changed in the last 10 to 15 years since the technology has somewhat stabilised. So, we like to think that we’re ushering in the next generation when in comes to line array technology that’s why it’s such an exciting time to be here,” added Koro. Bose, working with Privium Solutions and Hard Rock, created the perfect open-air performance area at Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife, using 12 Bose 18
ShowMatch SM 5 DeltaQ Array loudspeakers and two ShowMatch SM 10 DeltaQ Array loudspeakers for the stage, along with 16 ShowMatch SM S118 Array subwoofers in total. For monitoring there are three ShowMatch SM 20 loudspeakers at the DJ position as well as one more ShowMatch SM S118 Array subwoofer. There are also six Powersoft X8 amplifiers with Dante used to power the Bose loudspeakers. Palladium Hotel Group and Hard Rock International put the Bose ShowMatch loudspeakers through their paces with their Children of the ‘80s Grand Opening Party in December 2016. Bringing the spirit of the 1980s to Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife’s open-air stage, the party offered an extravaganza of dance floor fillers and sing-a-long classics to the guests at the hotel. Performing live at the event were the Village People, who reeled off their disco classics including In the Navy, Macho Man and Y.M.C.A, Italian trio, Blackbox, creators of the 1989 best-selling record Ride on Time, American dance-pop and hip-hop group C+C Music Factory, known for a string of hit singles including Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) and Things That Make You Go Hmmm, African artist Rozalla of dancefloor classic Everybody’s Free and DJ trio Dream Team Reload, fresh from their Ibiza season. In keeping with the tradition of all Hard Rock hotels across the globe, the opening party also featured Hard Rock’s legendary ‘Guitar Smash’ to officially mark the Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife’s arrival. Palladium’s Gomez was delighted with the event, particularly in terms of how the Bose system and the hotel’s production team performed: “We have a great production team working with us, who are key to the running of both sides of the business - the hotel side and the events side. We are very comfortable in knowing that they are managing the production. “For us, it is the beginning of a long-term relationship with Bose. Whatever we open at Hard Rock, I believe that it’s always possible for Bose to be there.” Koro went on to reveal what a positive experience Bose had in working with Hard Rock to find the right system: “I think what was great when working with the Hard Rock team was that they’re such discerning listeners when it comes to the sound quality. It wasn’t just ‘we want a sound system’, they really wanted to go in depth and find the right solutions for each individual area - and that was absolutely perfect for us. “Overall, the reaction has been very, very positive and now they’ve experienced that here at Hard Rock, they will want the DeltaQ technology elsewhere. It’s just a great way of introducing the technology to the sound engineers. At the end of the day, it’s basically their instrument and the audience are relying on them.” So, after the success of Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife, will we be seeing Bose as the go-to manufacturer for live events in the future? Koro certainly believed that will be the case: “We definitely want to have more exposure in live music, but we do realise that it is a very competitive space and that people within the industry do develop specific tastes over time, so there’s quite a lot of work to do. “However, Hard Rock is a great start for us in allowing sound engineers to experience a quality that they haven’t come across before. The brand values that we at Bose often talk about include the notion that music evokes emotion, and better sound actually enhances that. It’s not just about the technical specifications, it’s about the experience - and the fact that ourselves, along with Hard Rock and Privium Solutions, really care about that experience is shown in the results.” TPi Photos: Courtesy of Bose https://pro.bose.com 19
The Wild World tour played in arenas across the UK and Europe.
BASTILLE When London-based and internationally loved electro indie quartet Bastille undertook their biggest headline tour to date, they would need a confident crew and a show design that would make them stand out from the countless other arena tours ending the 2016 season. With the help of Production Manager Joel Stanley and Show Designer Rob Sinclair, the band successfully brought their fans into their own Wild World, as TPi’s Kelly Murray finds out...
Kicking off at the end of October 2016 in the UK and running until February 2017 in Europe the band’s Wild World tour will come to fruition at the Halle 662 in Zurich. Production Manager Joel Stanley (Kanye West, Blur, Major Lazer, Kygo) is at the helm of the show, having become acquainted with Bastille three years ago during a BRIT Awards collaboration for which they performed alongside Ella Eyre and Rudimental. Stanley produced the affair, and, having gone smoothly, when the band were looking for a full-time PM, he fitted the bill. “They went out to do a run of club / theatre sized shows in the US, while I advanced festivals from the UK. I did a five-month festival tour with them before heading back to North America for an arena tour but it was ‘half house’ meaning they were doing arenas because they’d gotten too big for clubs or theatres. They’ve never played to arena size crowds for a headline tour up until this point. Now they’re selling out venues like the O2 and Manchester Arena.” The show itself is certainly impressive: it looks all encompassing and intimate all at once, boasting a production design from heavyweight LD Rob Sinclair, making this the first tour that the pair had produced together. Continued Stanley: “We pitched the initial ideas to the band at V Festival in August 2016 and they became more involved during the production rehearsals. We ended up having to re-budget slightly, and to make it more scalable but once we’d come up with a few re-designs.” Production rehearsals took place at LH2 Studios, one of Stanley’s “tried and tested” suppliers. He expanded: “It’s a great space. I’ve used Neg Earth Lights [owner of LH2] for seven or eight years now, I can’t fault them. SSE Audio have been my go-to since day one, but I do have a new video supplier, CT. I’d been talking to Graham Miller and Jim Liddiard for a number of months to open up the doorway, it’s worked out well.
Lucy Bell, from The Pantry Maid, is a brilliant cook and I like her company; it’s important to have people you actually like hanging out with on your tour. Everything’s worked out for the best and all of my suppliers are doing a great job. We’ve got a really good system going between all of the departments, partly because the crew is handpicked and get on well.” Stanley, his Production co-ordinator Holly Sandeman and Tour Manager, Dick Meredith, operate a “strict open door policy”, meaning people can come and go as they please, resulting in a free flowing and relaxed atmosphere while getting on with their jobs in a friendly environment, and the ambience in the production office is a tell-tale sign of this. SET AND LIGHTING DESIGN Production and Lighting Designer Sinclair is old friends with Stanley and Meredith, who had invited him to meet the band. “Luckily we all got on, and I’ve been working with them for about 18 months now,” he said. Speaking of the show’s strong look, he continued: “There are a lot of themes in the Wild World record that we wanted to reference on stage. We wanted something architectural that was imposing and slightly intimidating. The most obvious reference are the two wire figures that sit on top of the screen. They represent the guys from the album cover. They’ve done pretty much every show and promo appearance this year and I like to say that we treat them as if they are members of the band! “In my earliest conversation with Dan [Smith, frontman] he mentioned the idea of a secret society or corporation that we could use as a narrative thread throughout the whole campaign. That became Wild World Communications (WWComms), which is a fictional entity that can mean anything we want it to mean. It’s been fascinating seeing the effect of what 21
Above: Frontman Dan Smith; LD Jamie Trant with System Tech, Perttu Korteniemi; Monitor Tech Chris Spiers; Monitor Engineer Ben Kingman and Paul Cooper (FOH); Set Carpenter Freddie ‘Fred’ McArdle with Stage Manager, Tom ‘Keano’ Keane.
we’ve done live on the promotion of the record and vice versa - both the record company and promo video makers have done amazing things and we’ve really fed off that and they off us.” There is an arc to the show that uses WWComms as its story telling vehicle. “We wanted to explore the type of media that a corporation that runs the world would produce from infomercials to light entertainment to aspirational travel to news and political broadcasts. We filmed for a day with Simon Hepworth who plays the face of WWComms and got some amazing footage - from the disturbing to the hilarious!” he added. A key part of the inner workings of this theme, content creators were vastly important, as Sinclair praised: “I’m so grateful to content creators at Blink TV for taking my slightly scatter-brained ideas and forming them into
the strongest show of content I’ve ever made.” Incorporating lighting into the show involved using some of Sinclair’s favourite workhorses including a plethora of Martin by Harman Aura XBs, Martin Vipers, Martin Sceptrons Clay Paky Mythos and TMB Solaris Flares. Upon seeing the show happen in full swing, the LD noted: “I’m always quietly confident but the crucial moment is always when the house lights go out for the first time. However, we knew we were onto a winner from the first night of rehearsals.” Touring the show for Sinclair is Lighting Director Jamie Trant. “I had no relationship with Jamie before the tour but the band love him and wanted to keep him. He’s really good and it’s a pleasure to work with him,” stated Sinclair. Trant added: “We have a grid of the Auras that sit underneath
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Production Manager, Joel Stanley; Video Director, Steve Price; LD Jamie Trant.
the video wall, and the Sceptron strips are designed in a randomised yet uniform way... almost like a continuation of the video wall. There’s two trusses full of Philips Vari-Lite Washes which create a big block of light coming though the streel work, this gives the show a really nice dimension. Floor lighting and side lighting is mainly Auras and MAC Viper Air FX across the back of the stage. TMB Solaris Flares are used for a wide, bright punchy wash. We use multiples of the same fixtures. “The set list is broken up into groups of five songs, and each five songs have a theme. In terms of the content, the first five are to do with architecture, the second is control and cameras and surveillance. There’s a song called Four Walls, and that’s about capital punishment which then runs into a song called Blame which features scenes of military footage and rioting. The songs mould into concept blocks so the video screens play a big part. It’s quite a balance between video and lighting. We worked hard to accent what the video is doing - it’s all moulded so that it’s never conflicting.”
The impressive lighting show runs on a fully redundant network with Luminex equipment. Trant has relied on an MA Lighting grandMA2 console that are networked together with powerful and robust GigaCore 16Xt switches. “We configure each Ethernet switch in separate groups so we can run MANet and ArtNet within only one network, using the same switches. At both FOH and dimmer city we have two GigaCore 16Xt’s - one active and one to offer extra redundancy. All switches are linked together through fibreoptics for the best possible quality and long distance coverage at large venues.” Backstage, at dimmer city, two MA NPU’s convert the Ethernet protocols coming from the GigaCore switches to DMX signals. Then eight Luminex DMX/RDM splitters multiply the DMX signals and send them up the lighting rig. In total, the entire system processes 14 DMX universes. “Thanks to Luminex equipment we were able to efficiently run a fully redundant lighting network that is very easy to set-up,” said Trant. Recently Luminex has released a new version of the DMX/RDM splitters called LumiSplit,
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Head Rigger, James Heath; The Showsec security team; Tour Manager, Dick Meredith.
coming in a 2.10 and 1.6 version.
Jim Liddiard, CT’s Project Manager, believes that this is one of the most impressive designs he has seen: “The band is very hands-on in how the show looks and we have gone through a variety of designs in the whole process of getting this tour together. That being said, Rob Sinclair’s ultimate design is one of the best arena designs that I have seen in a long time and we are really glad to be a part of this tour.” CT’s Head of Music and Touring, Graham Miller, told TPi: “We were approached by Joel who was looking for his next video supplier. We had done a couple of one-off shows with the band before, such as festivals, but we’d also worked with some of the creative team involved so it felt as though we slotted in easily to the new production. “We worked with production through quite a few different versions of the design - the original was very different from what the show became. We fabricated and customised metal work to make it all come together. As this process continued and the designs changed we ended up changing products including the ROE MC7 screen, which was more suitable. We then made some metalwork to give nice clean edges to the front of the ‘V’ screen which sits above the stage.” The results impressed the CT team. “I think it is one of the best looking shows I have seen in a while. I loved the look that the ‘V’ screen gave the stage - especially filled with all of Rob Sinclair’s lighting choices. I think it gave the band a whole new look, and felt quite edgy. Nev Bull did an amazing job of pulling it all together and Steve Price did a great job on the IMAG - as always!” Miller added.
VIDEO Being their biggest tour to date, Bastille took the opportunity to combine their musical prowess with a strong visual display that featured an incredible pairing of lighting and LED. Creative Technology (CT) worked with Stanley and Sinclair to deliver the visual elements. Throughout the pre-production process, it became clear that a clean and smooth design was desired by not only the production team but also the band themselves. Creating a bold and impactful shape was at the forefront of everyone’s mind when considering the LED and the lighting, bringing the two together to create an incredible visual show. The final design revolved around an asymmetrical V-shaped LED rig that was flown above the band with Sinclair’s intricate lighting design hung underneath, facing downwards. Made from just under 80sqm of ROE MC7, the challenge was how to rig this V-shape at multiple venues while maintaining the design wanted by the production team and band. Using custom-made metal additional joints to create a cleaner finish, CT was able to produce the modern and fresh design seen onstage. Complementing this V-shaped gondola was a 75sqm ROE MC7 back wall with two 21k projectors creating the side-stage IMAG. Backstage, Catalyst media servers provided control to the FOH team with Nev Bull at the helm of video control as the Catalyst Engineer. Alongside this, CT also provided a multitude of cameras, supplying tour camera director Steve Price, with a large amount of footage as four HD cameras, two robot cameras and a further four mini-cams, with one on a tracking slider beside the drummer, kept their sights on the band. Although CT had worked with some of the creatives involved previously, and with Bastille on a festival stage, this is the first time CT has worked with the band directly to bring their own vision to life on the tour.
RIGGING James Heath, Production Rigger came up with an ‘unusal’ rigging plot for this design. He said: “We put it into rehearsals and it just seemed to work, all 26 tonnes of it, five of which is audio. For the bigger arenas, we have eight up and four down local riggers.” 26
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SSE provided an L-Acoustics PA system; Sculptor Nikki Taylor made artwork for the set; The tour utilised Mojo Barriers equipment for crowd saftey; Blink TV created the show’s visual content.
Neg Earth Lights has supplied all rigging equipment, with motors ranging from the new Area Four Industries EXE chain hoists to CM Lodestars for the audio kit. The plot details 58 points typically, with 64 at London’s O2 Arena. Heath continued: “It’s an interesting rig. Most rigs are symmetrical because usually whatever’s on stage right will be on stage left, with straight trusses. If it’s not straight trusses it will be the mirror image, but this is asymmetrical. It means that to work out the rigging points, we have to do it individually, and each point needs attention to make sure that it’s set correctly.”
with the figures perched up high on the big video screen, my brief being to create figures who reflected the same ambiguous mood as the guys on the album cover. The sculptures I made do indeed work very well in the large arena sets just as planned, and given the nature of the wire mesh material they can either be lit to be highly visible, or to disappear altogether when appropriate,” she concluded. FOH AUDIO FOH Engineer Paul Cooper has perfected Bastille’s live sound. “They’re not a simple band to mix, and they have a hell of a lot going on. As I knew their monitoring requirements and what everything should sound like consistently, it was time for me to move to FOH. “I think the mix should sound like the album, but not identical, otherwise you may as well watch a video at home! “In the ever-expanding channel and musician count, I decided it was time to give DiGiCo consoles a try. I contacted Mark Saunders and he arranged a day to play around on a few DiGiCo consoles… I fell pretty quickly for the SD7. The desk is more than happy with everything I’ve asked it to do so far. We’re running 105 inputs with click tracks and tech / band talk channels, allowing the band to add string players, singing brass players, extra track channels or percussion bits when needed. Output wise, at FOH I tend to have the usual left, right, sub and front fill outputs. I also have a separate ‘broadcast’ mix that I use for festivals and radio shows, a hard of hearing feed for certain venues and a recorded mix for my own personal reference.” Cooper also uses a DiGiGrid MGB interface for recording the shows. “It gives me 64 channels of 96k, and allows for virtual sound checking. I record the ‘essentials’ missing out percussion channels and any extra bits, and use that when the band can’t make checks. I also use a second one for a plugin or two. My broadcast mix has a compressor and EQ chain via Waves.” For the vocal microphones, Cooper decided on a Sennheiser e965 for
SCENIC Freehand sculptor Nikki Taylor described how she was “simply knocked out” when she saw her aforementioned sculpture art in production rehearsals. “I’d never worked with bands before, so I was in awe of other intricacies that went into the performance. Sculpture is a matter of capturing the mood and body language but this project has a particularly nice result because these figures aren’t sat still gallery; they truly get to travel the world! “I was thrilled to be asked to make two life-size wire mesh figures for the stage set for Bastille. On a large set the wire men perch on the top of one of the big on-stage video screens, looking out across their world, and on a small set they can hang out up front with the band! “The creative idea behind the album cover and the figures comes from Dan who writes all the band’s material and the same theme runs through many of the songs on Wild World. Dan’s own interpretation of the artwork is that the image isn’t about what’s just happened or what happens next, it’s not about how they got there or how they get down. It’s about sharing a moment - two friends existing in that split second in that exact space, two people framed in the vast context of this huge mad metropolis that we’ve all built. They’re there out of choice. “The original vision for the stage set was to reflect the skyline idea 28
The WWComms theme created an engaging atmosphere for the crowd.
lead vocal duties. He elaborated: “I tried a hell of a lot of vocal mics before settling on it, but it suits Dan’s vocal to the ground. There’s so much highend character - and that’s exactly where his voice is at its strongest. With its switchable pattern, it’s actually become my go-to microphone for any lead vocal.”
Continued Korteniemi: “The crew was very professional and tight, so there wasn’t much guidance needed. Having a dedicated crew chief just makes it easier so that there’s one point of contact to the audio department. When we needed some help with programming the DiGiCo SD7, Sales and Support Manager Mark Saunders sorted us out literally within minutes, and Tuomo Tolonen from Shure UK replied to my tech support text messages on a very early Sunday morning… these kinds of people make the technical side of the touring much smoother for the people travelling,” he smiled.
PA The PA is an SSE classic L-Acoustics rig. The main hangs comprised 12 K1 per side and eight K2 per side. Flown subs were 8 K1SBs per side which augmented the 24 KS28’s used as a centre sub array. Side hangs (per side) were 4 K1 and 12 K2. Lip fill and out fill consisted of 6 KARA and 3 ARCS II per side respectively. For the larger London and Manchester dates, 18 K2 delays were also deployed. L-Acoustics LA-RAK II amplifier racks were flown on top of the arrays. Cooper commented: “For me, it’s L-Acoustics every time. I love it to bits! My tech Perttu Korteniemi is fantastic at arranging coverage and audio mapping to ensure everyone is the room is hearing things just as they should be.” According to SSE’s Audio Crew Chief and System Tech Perttu Korteniemi, this makes the setup easier and reduces the cabling needs. He said: “The system design process was actually very smooth for this tour. After initial conversations with Paul, we set about designing a system that suited his mixing style. I then went through the venues the band was going to play in to ensure the correct speaker cabinet count was specified. L-Acoustics Soundvision Acoustical Simulation software was used for this task. SSE Audio Groups Project Manager Dan Bennett was also heavily involved making sure the packing and logistic requirements would meet the Bastille’s production needs. “After the audio system concept was completed, we continued to progress with our Show Designer, Rob Sinclair. A clean looking and sounding show was everybody’s common target and by exchanging Vectorworks designs, we were able to achieve very good sight lines for the wide variety of venues performed. In my opinion, the L-Acoustics system gives good consistency throughout the different venue styles.” The audio returns system for the tour was being controlled by an SSE Audio DriveRack2. The show ran over a Dante network synchronised by an Antelope digital clock at 96kHz. The Amplifiers are a mix of the new L-Acoustics LA12’s and LA8’s.
MONITOR WORLD Monitor Engineer Ben Kingman has worked for Bastille since March 2013 and has seen the band and crew grow significantly since then, creating a more challenging environment to mix in on his chosen Midas PRO X console. He detailed: “Midas digital desks are my preferred consoles, although this is the first time I’ve taken a PRO X out with me, as the show has outgrown my original choices of the PRO2, PRO6 and PRO9. The show is currently 16 stereo mixes for the band, brass, strings, techs and production plus effects.” The band and Kingman use in-ear monitoring and opt for Ultimate Ears UE18’s for IEM needs and use Shure’s PSM1000 system for RF requirements. “As far as the in-ears go, I’ve always had a really good fit from UE which is half the battle for me. I really like the detail and clarity of the PSM1000’s too, as well as the Shure Wireless Workbench Software and SB900 Lithium-Ion re-chargeable batteries.” Kingman concluded by stating that this tour is a good camp to be in: “They’re a great bunch and fiercely loyal to their crew which is refreshing. It’s great to feel like part of the family.” The SSE crew was completed by Monitor Tech Chris Speirs; Stage Tech Will Lucas, PA Tech Nick Lythgoe and Delay Techs Rob McNeil and Mark Pantlin. STAGING When Bastille embarked on their arena tour Mojo Barriers was called upon to ensure artist and audience safety at all 22 UK and European dates. Mojo is supplying stage barriers, flex corners, snake gates and metal cable ramps. As well as positioning barriers across the main stage, the safety barrier specialist has also designed a bespoke barrier configuration for the 30
B-stage, to ensure continuity throughout each venue. Mojo’s Stanley Jilesen furthered: “Our story with the band began when I got in touch with Joel Stanley. He wanted to take a touring set of Mojo Barriers on tour as it had proved difficult to get the right barriers for their particular needs. As he was already a big fan of Mojo and our products, it was great to begin working alongside his tour.” Mojo also supplied four diamond plates. Stanley added: “I made and proposed to the band when we were talking about the budget that we should use Mojo. A lot of promoters will add barriers on as a line item, but if you distribute that across 38 shows for example, it becomes a lot more cost effective. It adds another 15 minutes to the load in / load out but it’s the better, and safer option in the long run.” The Mojo crowd barriers were installed to safely guard crowds at the A and B stages, supplied by All Access Stage & Productions. The company’s Matt Bull told TPi: “At the front of the stage we built a 2 metre-wide apron going out to four metres at each end to allow access down to the venue floor. This also allowed space for the subs to go underneath. On stage right and stage left we also built rolling tech bunkers with an 8ft x 8ft top deck to be used as ego wings for the band and a sub stage level for the backline to live. The tech bunker was 8ft high made from stock equipment and used more and more by bands to create a good high level platform for the band as well as allowing the backline to wheeled into place underneath.”
trucking needs along with that.” Bussing was supplied by Jumbo Cruiser and Rock-It Cargo took care of freighting needs between the UK, Europe and US. CATERING Lucy Bell, Director of catering vendor The Pantry Maid found her way backstage through a somewhat diluted path: a part time waitressing job while studying for a maths degree eventually led her to helping out a friend: “He had a catering company in Ireland so I did Electric Picnic for him as my first event job. I worked for another company for five years and then set my own company up with a friend. For the last 2.5 years, I’ve been under this name, running my own business,” explained Bell who at the time of this tour also has staff working on comedienne Catherine Tate’s production and The Luminaires’ most recent run. “Comedy was actually the first proper break that I got once I’d set up on my own, so that’s where it all started for me,” she continued. For Bastille’s tour, she has another three people on her team feeding 75 people per day with dishes ranging from roasted meats and homemade lasagnes to nut roasts and fish dishes, finished off with a hearty dose of salads and superfood choices, or hand-crated puddings that’d make the Hairy Bikers stop and take note. Concluded Bell: “It’s been a pretty intense schedule, so everyone is tired at this point, but that’s all the more reason to keep them fed and happy; they’re loving our food!” Bastille continue to tour in early 2017, taking in dates across Europe and North America before heading into the summer festival season. TPi Photos: TPi, SSE, Rob Sinclair, Light & Lace Photography & Tony Woolliscroft www.bastillebastille.com www.productionvalue.co www.negearth.com www.jumbocruiser.com www.thepantrymaid.com www.lh2studios.co.uk http://allaccessinc.com www.ct-group.com www.sseaudiogroup.com www.flybynite.co.uk www.mojobarriers.com www.rockitcargo.com www.appointmentgroup.com
TRANSPORTATION Fly By Nite provided the tour’s trucking. Account Handler Matt Jackson told TPi: “Depending on the venue, we supply between eight and nine trucks per show. This is their first arena tour but we’ve been with them a while now. We always give people the key things you’d look for in a tour: good price, good service and the knowledge that the relationship will grow. Every band and tour starts somewhere, and for us, the smaller shows are just as important - that’s what keeps our trucks and crews out there working, which is what it’s all about. We’re very proud that we have a relationship like this, because we’ve watched them grow and seen the demand for their production and All Access_TPI_halfpage_Oct16.pdf
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THE STARS ARE ALIGNINGâ€¦
BRING ME THE HORIZON BMTH have backed their critically acclaimed back catalogue with a relentless work ethic, constantly striving to push the boundaries of technical production. In autumn 2016, the band set out on their most ambitious European tour yet: headlining arenas. TPi reports.
Although Bring Me The Horizon (BMTH) are still yet to re-enter the studio since the last time they were featured in the pages of TPi [Issue 197], the band and their crew have nevertheless found the creativity to refine their live show and unleash a brand new audio/visual assault on arenas across Europe. “The basic idea of the last tour remained, which was using a multitiered video screen that wrapped the set with another large screen at the rear,” said Production Manager Rob Highcroft. “The big difference this time is adding more tiers and going as wide as physically possible within the constraints of the arenas we were due to visit. Okulus have created a three dimensional video environment for the band that will ‘startle’ all who come to see them.” The tour’s technical suppliers remained the same for the most part, though some substitutions were made in order to accommodate the sheer scale of the production. Highcroft continued: “The challenge of this tour from the start was to achieve the visual aspect of the design while also keeping the sound
element at the forefront. Pete Russell from SSE Audio and Jack Murphy, our audio crew chief, were drafted in very early on to make sure they could design and build a system that allowed ‘Hutch’ [FOH Engineer, Oliver Hutchinson] to get the sound he wanted without having huge hangs of PA blocking the view. They did a fantastic job in delivering this.” Highcroft also took the time to praise Video Design’s Alex Leinster, with whom the PM spent a great deal of time in pre-production, doing their best to make the huge video component of the show function as one holistic element. Highcroft continued: “There was an element of custom fabrication bought in to allow the video to seamlessly cover the stage for a totally clean look. The big part of the video that was the challenge for those guys was making sure it could all be flown at the same time. We did play with idea of having it in sections but you wouldn’t get the same effect. Video Design did themselves proud with a fantastic product and invaluable assistance during the design period.” The crew headed to Yorkshire’s Production Park to rehearse at the LSLive studios, though Highcroft maintained that this was more of a process 34
Opposite: BMTH played their first headline arena tour in the UK which included a show design from Okulus who opted to use an MA Lighting grandMA2 set up at FOH.
of refinement than a chance to make changes. He commented: “There were several changes made to content and lighting programming but the show went in very easily and smoothly. Thankfully it just fit into LS-Live - it was almost scraping the walls but we made it work!” The production crew arrived at Studio 001 with nine trucks of equipment and made full use of the facilities throughout the week, including the en suite bedrooms, two production offices, catering area, green room, dressing rooms and the recently opened CATO Music shop. LS-Live Client Director, Adam ‘Bullet’ Betley, has a well-established relationship with Highcroft that triggered the collaboration. When LS-Live first received the stage designs from Okulus, it soon became apparent that, due to it being a short tour, the brief could be fulfilled with 100% LS-Live rental stock. The company supplied the set, the 8ft stage extension and the central thrust. Bullet said: “We were toying with the idea of touring a rolling house stage as there were concerns that the d&b audiotechnik J-SUBs and J-INFRAs would not slot underneath the venue’s house stage. The solution to save time and money was to conceal the subs at floor level beneath an LS-Live purpose-built, 60ft x 8ft stage front section.” Highcroft elaborated: “The band’s priority is always how they sound and what their show looks like, everything else comes second. The prep is just the same as any tour of a smaller scale, though I personally find it much more fun as there as so many elements to the show. This means more trucks, more busses, more people, more kit, and more hotel rooms, but the end result is the same. The band go on stage, play their show, and as long as that all goes to plan then the hard work has paid off for everyone.”
have never really liked the idea of side IMAG. We sat down with Jordan [Fish, Keyboards] originally, and ‘panoramic’ was the main word that he kept using. “They wanted the IMAG to be central so it became this mammoth, wraparound LED shape that we could use in different ways. We could now have IMAG windows wherever we wanted. In an ideal world it would have been flat and even wider if there wasn’t seating in the way but we had to fold it in.” The panoramic screen appeared to extend further still with the addition of lighting fixtures placed on the seating. Scott added: “We usually use a few side trusses, but we couldn’t really go too much higher because the PA was there. We decided to use an idea that almost happened with a Shawn Mendes 360° arena show in the US where there wasn’t meant to be any truss at all. Using lighting in the side seating really expands that widescreen look. It lets the performance engulf the arena, which was great for something that we didn’t have followspots on.” The lighting rig contained around 180 moving fixtures including Martin by Harman MAC Vipers, Auras, and Atomic 3000 Strobes, Claypaky Mythos and Sharpy Wash 330’s, and Ayrton MagicDots. Oliver talked through why these fixtures served as the main workhorses of the rig: “The Sharpy Wash 330’s are great, they’re super punchy and you’ve got a world of features in there. They are the perfect wash fixture but then we can use the nice, fluffy beam look as well. “Everyone knows what a Viper is and what it can do, so we knew that was going to cut through and do textural work when it doesn’t need to be the main feature of a particular song.” He continued: “Working from one of the band’s initial ideas we created a cage on the downstage edge with the MagicDots that continued that out on to the wings of the video screen. I haven’t used them before and was impressed with them. A total of 60 Claypaky Mythos served as the main floor fixtures, they did everything they needed to do. We didn’t play it safe but we made sure we picked fixtures that could do the job - it was more the placement of everything that pulled it all together.”
PRODUCTION & LIGHTING DESIGN In-demand studio Okulus’ LDs Louis Oliver and James Scott were drafted in to give BMTH a refined version of the visual onslaught that was the band’s previous stage production. Oliver commented: “We met the band when they were in Nashville on the US run and they told us they wanted a big rock show - that was the brief! They’ve always had a big upstage wall and 35
BRING ME THE HORIZON
Video Design supplied the tour’s video needs, including a mammoth LED wall.
The entire visual side of the show was controlled by an MA Lighting grandMA2, which included all camera, laser and media server-related coordination. The man chosen to operate the desk, Adam Power, proved his worth not only by showcasing his lighting skills, but his media server knowledge as well. Scott explained: “We didn’t have any video content on the server until the second day of rehearsals, so we were very behind in that sense. It turned out that Adam had done a lot of Green Hippo programming, so he was happy to help with it. He loaded the content on as and when it came in, and when we had bad uploads he would find out what was wrong and figure out how to solve the problem. He really was invaluable during the whole process and he’s definitely somebody that we’re going have operating our shows again.” Although it was Power’s first time on the road with BMTH, he benefitted from the long period that the band spent in production rehearsals. During this time, many of the band members were keen to get involved with the creative process and ensure that their original vision was present in the final show. Power explained: “Keeping up with the changes that the band want to make has been one of the biggest challenges. They sat with us at FOH and went through the songs, giving a great deal of input when it came to the video in particular. They are definitely an important creative factor in how the overall show looks. They’ve got clear ideas of what they want to see and that is generally something really intense.” Although the show is timecoded, Power had to ensure that he was constantly on top of things when it came to the strobe hits and tracking moments. He said: “I hit ‘go’ at the top of each song and then I’ve got a couple of cues to move key lights and follow Oli [Sykes, Vocals] around. Other than that it’s just using palettes - on the operation side of things it’s quite straightforward for me. I don’t think I could keep up with this to be honest, because each song has around 15 or 20 hits. I’m not that quick!” The MA Net system used by the crew linked two grandMA2 full sizes desks, one main and one backup, at FOH with a grandMA2 Light that was situated on stage for updating key light focuses during the day and
generally maintaining the rig. The operator gave his opinion on Okulus’ goto desk: “They’re a great piece of kit and are really intuitive. As far as I see it; the easier the programming is, the more time you can spend being creative. “We also program the media servers there and have views for lasers as well. It’s having that ability to move around the touch screens that makes a lot of difference. We have to update the position and level of the lasers every day for inspection. We then have a whole screen of things for the video content as well so it’s vital to have a desk that makes the daily changes so quick.” Lighting and rigging was supplied by PRG XL Video, which Okulus has worked with on a number of projects in the past. Although Scott and Oliver have decided to no longer tour, they still made sure they had time to cast a critical eye over the design once it was rigged for real out on the road. Oliver elaborated: “The band really wanted to make a statement with this tour and I don’t think anything at any point has missed that mark. You walk into the arena and you just go ‘holy shit’. Even with everything switched off, you know it’s a BMTH show. It’s the kind of iconic look that we wanted. It’s quite an imposing and forceful look.” Scott added: “I think it’s definitely more grown up. Basically they’ve come into this situation with more experience behind them and it’s resulted in a really impressive looking show. They haven’t got lights everywhere just for the sake of it, it’s more structured - though there’s still that visual insanity there that always has to be part of the BMTH package.” CREATIVE VISUALS During pre-production the video content was developed by a total of six teams working with a variety of different styles, which all had to eventually exist side by side as seamlessly as the video wall itself. Oliver explained: “Somehow it all came together really nicely. Every piece speaks for itself but also ties into what happens next. The one thing that made it so special is that we had the ability to embed IMAG into all of this content. I reckon if we didn’t and had just side IMAGs and content in the middle, it would have been very flat and disjointed. The fact that we could put all of the camera inputs and embed and mask them was the real winner for us.“ All video-related hardware was supplied by Video Design, an 36
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BRING ME THE HORIZON
BPM SFX Tech, Tom Stead was in charge of firing special effects from a Galaxis system; Production Manager, Rob Highcroft.
undertaking that was no small feat and presumably left a lot of empty warehouse and office space in its wake. “It’s a massive commitment of gear and people for us,” said Director, Leinster. “The rear wall of 9mm Winvision LED, 10m tall and over 35m wide, is matched by more than 100 tiles of 9mm as fascia for the band’s risers.” Unsurprisingly, Video Design made the decision to invest in new gear with BMTH in mind. A Ross Carbonite Black video switcher gave Video Engineer Matt Vassallo all the tools he needed to marshal content to screen: “It gives me an incredible amount of creative freedom, especially for its size, and it does everything all in one piece of kit. There’s less fuss and I can do everything this show demands faster and better.” Vasallo was joined by Richard Shipman, who directed the camera team: the three Sony HXC-100 operated cameras out front and in the pit were augmented on stage by two Bradley Robo-cams and a pair of fixed minicams for the ever-popular back facing shots. “It’s a really transformational show,” said Shipman. “The LED is all enveloping and Matt does a magnificent job of taking my cut and blending it to the content. For the audience it’s a complete suspension of reality.” Video Design provided a team of seven for the tour, including Vassallo and Shipman, with Rob Stansfield leading the crew. “I can’t fault them,” said Highcroft after the first three shows. “They’re technically faultless and the realisation of Louis’ design is perfect. As a touring entity it’s working very, very smoothly. That back wall of LED could seriously inhibit load-out traffic, yet here we are zipping out in three hours.” Shipman was also keen to add his appraisal: “Alex is an extremely wonderful person and has thought this job through very carefully. Any questions I had when I arrived, he had the answers for them. As an engineer, it has been a very easy situation to come into.”
Macleod continued: “We used the new Area Four Industries EXE Rise one tonne chain hoists for the lighting rig along with their CM Lodestar 2-tonne hoists for the video points. Rigorous Technology, through Video Design, supplied load cells for the video screen and these were very helpful for monitoring the loads while the rigging and de-rigging the screen was taking place.” SSE Audio supplied a mixture of CM and LoadGuard hoists for the PA points. “It was a very enjoyable tour to be on and I met some great people that I hadn’t worked with before,” concluded Macleod. “The video was immense and looked great but still didn’t take anything away from the lighting rig, which looked amazing.” SPECIAL EFFECTS ER Productions further augmented the visual beast by providing 12 of its new BB3 lasers, half of which were mounted on the back of the video truss, while the rest were arranged on the stage floor. Zach Griffiths, Leading Technician at ER, explained: “I’ve got custom mirrors to bounce lasers out into the arena and up into the Gods. The rest of them are for different effects. The challenge of this show is that one unit is doing three different effects - a scanning laser effect, and two different types of refraction effects. The mirror-based effects are very beamy and quite staccato, whereas some of the others are very disco, with flowery accents. It’s very broad range of looks.” Griffiths was also present for the few days the crew spent at Production Park in order to make sure that his various effects good to go from the desk and that all of the requisite safety concerns were being addressed. On the tour, Griffiths commented: “We have quite a young and enthusiastic crew so it’s been a pleasure to work with these guys - though I was only present for the UK arena shows. James and Louis are both quite young but really talented guys. It’s such a big production and it’s been great to be involved.” To compliment the lasers, ER supplied Viper deLuxe and Unique hazers for the duration of the tour. As if this wasn’t enough, the crew also made sure that the special effects again made their way onto the BMTH stage, with BPM SFX providing the necessary firepower along with Pyro Tech, Tom Stead. BPM’s Technical Director Liam Haswell commented: “We’ve worked with Rob Highcroft over the past two years, this time supplying BMTH with a CO2 system, streamer cannons, stadium confetti blowers and a pyrotechnic
RIGGING Tour Rigger Bruce Macleod was brought into the team in September 2016: “For most venues we had eight ‘up’ riggers and four ‘down’ riggers, all of whom were in-house crew in London, Birmingham and Glasgow, and from Knight Rigging Services at the other venues. They were all fantastic and very helpful.” Ensuring that the points were marked correctly and chains went in the right place made sure that the 35m wide screen fitted in the venues and the PA and lighting rigs got enough height for the sight lines of the video screen. 38
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BRING ME THE HORIZON
Monitor Engineer, Jared Daley with his Allen & Heath set up; Oliver ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson with his DiGiCo SD7.
waterfall for the UK shows and a slightly reduced package for Europe. The band and Rob are used to working with SFX, especially the CO2 system after purchasing one from us to use on a recent US run of shows. “As a result, the cues were already in the show, it was simply a case of having to work in the new effects. We used Magic FX CO2 jets controlled by our in-house built control system, while the stadium shots, confetti blasters and pyrotechnics were all controlled wirelessly using the Galaxis System. It was a great looking show and a pleasure to be working alongside the team again!”
He continued: “I saw looking at this design how big the visual elements were and we didn’t want to let the sound get left behind, as that’s always been a big part of this band’s show. We want to make sure the sound travels.” Murphy consulted with d&b audiotechnik to ensure that the sub-bass really came across in the cavernous arenas. He continued: “We also wanted to make sure the impact carried in the sides. We could have just turned the sub array up and spread it out, but then of course then it’s too loud down at the front in terms of vibrations. “We needed to find a way to spread the energy, so flying the subs really helped. The subs are in the middle at the back of the two main hangs, which means the phasing is constant and everything is coherent.” The result of this in-depth sound design has garnered praise from all corners of these packed venues. “The Independent that said the sound was big for the room in the O2 Arena and the management and their families have said you can still feel it all the way up in the boxes,” Murphy said. “It’s working - Oli’s really happy and we still have that impact on the floor for the fans.” Murphy explained how he made the best use of the d&b D80 amplifiers that powered the PA system: “I do all my EQ and processing within the amplifiers. We also do the system distribution using Optocore X6R-FX units (one at FOH and one in the racks) so there’s no extra processing that will degrade the signal in any way. All in all the system is working really well for us.”
AUDIO FOH Engineer Hutch has moved back and forth between his chosen audio console during his time with the band, having settled on a DiGiCo SD7 for this most recent outing. He picked up the story: “We needed a lot of channels for this job and DiGiCo seemed to be the only way to go. I’m generally happy with Waves but I’m slowly losing plug-ins day by day - that’s the masterplan. All in all it’s a great desk and it can certainly sound as heavy as we need it to in these huge rooms.” With the visual component being so integral to the show, Hutch had to work closely with Okulus to ensure that a compromise could be reached without sacrificing audience sight lines or that all important thud. Hutch explained: “I initially worked with Louis to get a rough idea of what he was planning and then went to Jack [Murphy, Audio Crew Chief] to see if he was available to help me design something that had visual as well as audio impact. He’s done a great job.” As well as having a part to play in the physical look of the rig, Hutch also found the time to create and contribute three pieces of visual content for the show. He continued: “It was a challenge as nobody really knew what they wanted. The band are very good at explaining what they don’t like but not so much what they do! I designed the content for the track Chelsea Smile with Oli in mind, so it’s very chaotic, with lots of shapes, lines and swirling effects. The one I did for the song Shadow Moses was more of a textural background piece of set design. I also created some video that made them look like they’re standing on a spaceship.” For the Manchester show TPi attended, SSE Audio supplied 20 boxes of d&b audiotechnik J-Series on the main hang (16 J-8’s and four J-12’s), while the side hang comprised 12 J-8’s and four J-12’s. Although there is a flown subwoofer hang, the crew also maintained the fearsome sub array that shook venues around the country the last time around, consisting of 14 J-SUBs and eight J-INFRAs. Murphy explained: “The only restriction for me is that the PA has to be very high on this show - it’s 11m from the bottom of the PA to the floor so probably higher than most engineers would prefer. I’ve not been restricted after that. “We’re working with d&b so we have a main, side and a sub hang in the middle, which is equidistant from both of them to keep the phase in. It’s common knowledge now that this show is really sub heavy. We wanted to try and take that impact from doing this in academies and ramping it up to the Ally Pally last year, and try and keep that impact again going into arenas.“
MONITOR WORLD A long-standing Allen & Heath iLive user, Monitor Engineer Jared Daly made the move to a dLive system for the BMTH shows at the beginning of 2016 and has had the chance to work on each dLive control surface size since. Ultimately favouring the S5000 surface for its combination of power, usability and dimensions, Daly also employed a DM64 MixRack in his set-up, which is hired from SSE Audio for each run of gigs. Talking about his favourite dLive features, Daly said: “The multiple compression types on the input/output channel strips has been an excellent addition, along with keeping the original reverbs from iLive for continuity for anyone coming from that background. “The new I/O patch page is excellent and makes soft patching and the use of expansion cards such as Dante very simple. And I am a big fan of how easy it is to assign fader banks on the console - and of the ability to always have access to EQ, compressors and gates when selecting channels no matter which page you are on.” Daly added: “As a monitor engineer it’s also great to have the External PAFL input (as the iLive had) to be able to quickly set up crew talk busses directly to my IEM cue. All in all, the dLive has been excellent.” Thanks to a long-standing relationship with Shure, the band was able to redeploy the kit that served them so well on the previous tour, which included a combination of PSM1000 IEMs, an AXT600 spectrum manager and an AXT200 wireless vocal microphone for Sykes with Beta 58 head. The band members also exclusively use JH Audio in-ear moulds, with Sykes on ROXANNES, guitarist Lee Malia opting for JH11’s, and the rest of the band choosing JH16’s. 40
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BRING ME THE HORIZON
The ETTB catering team; Frontman, Oli Sykes.
STAGE MANAGER DUTIES After first meeting Highcroft in 2013, Stage Manager Jay Jutting was reunited with the PM in March 2016, just in time to join the band for a European and US festival run. He said: “The set itself is pretty intense and if anything is askew, even by 10mm, then it affects all of the video. Everybody relies on everybody else a great deal, though that is probably similar for most tours. There’s a lot of time management so one team can finish and somebody else can come in and do something else - it’s definitely challenging to organise everybody and make everybody happy.” As well as supervising load-ins, load-outs and the show itself, Jutting kept himself busy by firing all of the special effects cues during the set. He laughed: “It’s not a new thing for me, as when I started with them I was a stage managing lighting tech and pyro operator! I help set up and fire all the C02 and confetti cannons. This is the first time that we have somebody to do it, but I still end up doing it as I know all the cues. I cue Tom [Stead, Pyro Tech] on when to do the fire curtain to make sure nothing’s in the way. “The stadium shots go off at the top of the show along with the CO2 - I’m able to do the CO2 while he’s in the pit, to make sure that no one’s in the way. It’s been really helpful having that extra set of eyes.” Jutting and the rest of the crew conducted daily pyro tests to ensure that everybody was kept safe during the show, particularly where the band was concerned with the pyro waterfall. He explained: “The band are really concerned with the fans’ safety. We go through and make sure everything is clearly marked and the band know by now when the CO2 will go off - we always check and make sure there’s no possibility of them causing any problems.” As well as being his first arena run with BMTH, this European jaunt was Jutting’s first experience of touring on this scale in general. He commented: “It’s been really cool but a lot of work! When you tour clubs and theatres you come in at 10 or 11 in the morning and you’ll be done by midnight or 1am. With arenas it’s an all-day affair - up at six and the last to close the truck doors at night, sometimes at 2am. “That said, it does get repetitive going to the same clubs and theatres every time, particularly when they’re similar. This is a different ball game - it seems like the arenas are vastly different here in the UK. For example, Manchester has a dock, while some venues only allow you to get two trucks in at a time. You basically have to plan every aspect of the day before it’s even begun.” The final word from Jutting certainly encapsulated the shift in mind-set that ostensibly occurs when a crewmember makes the initial jump up to the likes of these all-day mega-tours. He said: “On theatre or club tours, you don’t want to be in a hotel room on your day off, you want to be out having fun. All you want to do on this tour is sit down and not walk around on your feet anymore! These places are huge and you are being pulled around constantly by radio calls, which means you end up walking miles every day. You have to embrace the moments of rest - I got a massage yesterday and it was great!”
EAT, MOVE, SLEEP, REPEAT Eat to the Beat (ETTB) once again kept BMTH and their crew fuelled during the UK tour, cooking and serving breakfast, lunch and a three-course dinner for the duration. The company provided high-quality, restaurant-style menus to suit every palate, as well as including choices to accommodate the band’s own dietary requirements. ETTB’s Genti Hoxha commented: “There are two vegans in the band, two vegetarians, and one pescetarian. They’re good lads, as usual, and aren’t really fussy - they just don’t eat anything animal-produced.” Over the eight days across the UK, Hoxha and the rest of the ETTB team, which included Chloe Whitehead, David Lesh and Ian Tomblin, served an estimate of 1,732 meals. Hoxha continued: “It’s been a good tour. It’s always great to do arenas because they have good kitchens and good dining rooms. It also helps that Rob is a good road buddy of mine. I did his very first tour six years ago and we’ve stuck with each other ever since.” The band was driven from show to show by Beat The Street, while crew transportation duties were split between Phoenix Bussing and Starsleeper and the substantial arsenal of gear was hauled by Transam Trucking. A RELENTLESS SUCCESS Highcroft concluded: “I’m very proud to of been part of this band’s touring cycle. It’s been a wonderful 18 months, the band themselves are a pleasure to work for and the crew we have around us have become a well-oiled machine. “There are always challenges in this world but thankfully, for the most part, time was on our side. We started working on this tour in March 2016, which gave us enough time to get any issues tucked away. Not to sound clichéd but I learn something new every day on this job - there is always a different way to achieve the same result. “From the reviews I saw everyone seemed to be really happy. It was a very large scale show - a lot of people have never seen something so big as far as a video wall that only just fits in the O2! It was a great value-formoney show in my opinion.” TPi Photos: TPi, PRG, Tom Sykes, Marcus Maschwitz www.bmthofficial.com www.okulus.co.uk www.prg.com www.sseaudiogroup.com www.video-design.co.uk www.er-productions.com www.bpm-sfx.com www.knightrigging.co.uk www.ls-live.com www.beatthestreet.net www.phoenix-bussing.co.uk www.transamtrucking.com www.globalinfusiongroup.com 42
PANIC! AT THE DISCO Progressing from their emo-rock roots, the Las Vegas quartet now boasts a more refined sound, an energetic live show and an ever-growing fan base. TPi’s Stew Hume headed to the band’s Manchester show to meet the crew that have witnessed the change firsthand.
Back in the mid-noughties, the ‘emo’ genre was arguably one of the most popular musical styles of the day. By its very definition boasted ‘emotional’ rock that scratched the teen angst itch for scores of youngsters. A decade since emo’s heyday and it seems several of the best and brightest bands have been able to remain relevant, adapting and honing their craft. Many would argue that one of the champions of this era were Panic! At The Disco (PATD). Hits such as I Write Sins Not Tragedies rocketed them to the top of the pile. Fast foward several years and the Las Vegas four piece began to draw from wider influences, including Sinatra and Queen, to grow into an entirely different beast. TPi caught up with the band and crew as they were winding down the tour to promote their fifth album, Death of a Bachelor.
busy,” he began. “Last summer we had several festival dates and once we came off that in September we started putting together all the pieces for this world tour. We wanted to make sure we could hit the ground running once the album had dropped in January. We don’t really stop in this band and if we are not playing a show you can bet we are planning one!” Following a successful co-headline tour of the US with Weezer in the summer the band crossed the Atlantic to play to European crowds, culminating with the UK run. Jones has been involved with the band in various capacities since 2011, starting out as Monitor Engineer before making the jump to the dual role of FOH Engineer and Production Manager. “A lot of the production manager job is done before you get to the venue,” he stated. “If you have done the job right then everything just falls into place. That being said, on this run I have been trying to focus slightly more on my FOH work as I have some new gear that I have been trialing.” For this run of shows, Jones brought on several suppliers he had previous experience with, including Adlib, who provided the triple threat of lighting, sound and video alongside BPM SFX,
THIS CALLS FOR A TOAST… Spencer Jones, Production Manager and FOH Engineer, talked TPi through the last year of touring with the band: “This whole run has been incredibly 44
Opposite: Finishing off their busy year of touring, Panic! At The Disco performed several dates in the UK. Below: Adlib provided a complete audio, lighting and video package.
All Access Staging & Productions, Fly By Nite and Beat The Street. Jones said: “In this business it’s comforting to have a list of suppliers you trust. Adlib has provided us with both audio and lighting across Europe. We have enjoyed a great relationship with them for many years.” Commenting on this relationship, Adlib Client Manager Phil Kielty added: “We’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with Panic! on and off for 10 years. Seeing their live show evolve has been quite incredible. Since January we’ve been with them from Moscow to Madrid and the energy put into their performance is something else. Spencer Jones and the rest of the production have created a great family atmosphere amongst the crew, and it’s a huge pleasure to be involved.” Also out of the road with PATD was Tony Marino, Tour Manager, who has worked with the band for almost seven years. There are few that know PATD like him. Just before show time he introduced TPi to the Death of a Bachelor tour concept: “This was the first time that Brendon [Urie, singer] had trialed the new looks he has been desperate to recreate on the stage. There is no doubt that the show still has a rock feel but we have begun to add some bigger pop stylings that complement the newer material. During the early planning stages he was keen to make everything a bit flashier and what we have produced is really great.” Due to the varied venue sizes in the UK, one thing that had to be taken into consideration was the scalability of the show. Whether the band were playing to 1,000 or 10,000 people, the production wanted to make sure everyone would have the same experience. This meant that upon entering a new venue every day both Marino and Jones, along with LD Alex Specht, worked out how each show could obtain the maximum impact. “What is great about this design is that it can shrink but it doesn’t look as though it has got any smaller. I don’t want to have to drag the band in every morning
to check out the set. I have worked with them for such a long time they trust my judgment regarding what will look best,” Marino commented. TIME TO DANCE After supplying an audio control package for the European run, Adlib provided the PATD crew with a full PA for the UK dates along with Tony Szabo, System Tech, and Gavin Murray, PA Tech. The PA in question was an L-Acoustics set up consisting of 20 K1 boxes backed up with 16 K2’s, 16 KARAs and eight ARCS. “There were also 16 new KS28 subs which run off the new LA12X amplifiers,” said Szabo. “We also had the LA12X running the K2 arrays as Adlib are slowly moving from the LA8 amplifier stock to the newer LA12X.” Jones went on to express his admiration for the L-Acoustics set up: “We had already used L-Acoustics several times this year. For the summer tour with Weezer it was used throughout. They are my go-to speaker provider. Everything they produce is such high quality and works so well for these guys.” At FOH Jones was using a DiGiCo SD10, a console he is still relatively new to. He elaborated: “It has been a bit of a learning curve but I feel I’ve got my head around it now. There are certain features that I really like, one of which obviously is the sound quality. As this is only my 12th time behind the desk I still have more to learn but so far I have been enjoying it.” Jones went on to describe the mixing style he had adopted over the years with PATD: “These guys let me have free rein with the sound on this show. It’s great! Obviously I listen to all the albums and try and recreate certain elements but you always have to remember it’s a rock show so it has a different feel. From my perspective I’m also able to accent certain elements that may not have been in the album.” One thing that cannot be taken away from the PATD fans is the sheer volume they create. This fact was not lost on Szabo: 45
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“The PATD crowd are very vocal, signing along at the top of their voices and screaming at 112dBa on many occasions. This meant that Spencer had to try to keep the mix articulate in a way that could get through the crowd’s enthusiasm. It’s a hard task but Spencer has developed the execution over the years he has mixed for them.” The system also utilised Adlib’s Lake control rack with fibre-based Dante backbone, delivering a 96k AES signal to the amplifiers with the help of Focusrite’s RedNet D16R AES units. At FOH they used a Meyer Sound SIM3 system for time alignment and tuning, complemented by the new Rational Acoustics SMAART v8, controlled via a Lake and L-Acoustics Network Manager. BEHIND THE CURTAIN With the PA working overtime to go toe-to-toe with a screaming audience, your average PATD show is an incredibly loud experience. However, stageside it was a rather different story as the Shure-endorsed group has opted for a complete IEM setup for the last three years. Holding down all monitor duties is Jeremy ‘Spud’ Groshong. Originally brought on to replace Jones (who then mixed FOH) Spud has observed the development of the four piece firsthand. “It’s certainty grown a lot since my first time with the band,” he began. “Back then it was literally four dudes on stage and I only had to worry about guitar, bass, drums and vocals. Now we’ve got a whole brass section, a second drum kit, Brendon’s piano and a whole array of talkbacks. It’s been a really nice progression.” When Spud took over from Jones he inherited the control package, which he still uses to this day. The set up consisted of an Avid Venue Profile mixing console, a system that Spud cites as his “go-to.” He continued: “I learned everything I know on the Avid consoles and it works really well for this tour. At the moment even with the second drum kit and the horn section we are only working with a 59 input show.” All the PATD team were on the Shure PSM 1000’s IEMs while using Shure’s UR4D+ for all the instruments wireless transmission. Shure also supplied the band with its latest KSM8 Dualdyne Vocal Microphone. Jones talked about his experience with the latest Shure release: “For years we have used the Shure KSM9 but earlier this year they got in touch asking if we’d like to give the new model a test. From the first show I thought it had a crisper sound and clarity. Brendon has an incredible range but we have always struggled with keeping his low end under control. The KSM8 has handled it really well. The sound we are getting from it is really cutting through the mix.” As well as providing stellar sound quality, the fine folks at Shure also provided a custom gold casing for the microphone to bring a touch of class to proceedings. Wireless transmission came courtesy of Shure’s UX4D.
LD Alex Specht started with the band back in 2013 and has been at the helm of lighting design and operation ever since.
I AM THE TIME CODE… TPi caught up with LD Alex Specht to talk through the conceptual aesthetic of the show. Jumping on with the band back in 2013 he has seen the quartet change their visual look. “The band’s songs have definitely matured over the years. They’ve moved on from their pop punk sensibilities,” began Specht. “Brendon is a big fan of Sinatra and other big band acts from back in the day, which has really inspired the look of this show. This year through the various runs we have incorporated a lot of Art Deco visuals to the set. But with Panic! it’s really a balancing act of class and entertainment; we need to ensure it is still a fun show for the younger members of the audience. Personally, from an LD’s perspective, it’s a lot of fun as I have so many different avenues to explore.” For the UK shows Specht added to the rig that had been out on the European run. Adlib’s Tom Weber took up the story: “Adlib provided a floor package before for the PATD guys but this was the first time we’d sent techs. I personally looked after Alex and the floor package that was toured in Europe. Then when we got to the UK Adlib sent two more techs, Mike
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PANIC! AT THE DISCO
As well as an impressive vocal range, it appears that singer Brendon is quite the acrobat; Tony Marino, Tour Manager; Spencer Jones, Production Manager and FOH Engineer.
Summerfield and Peter Lea.” Specht said of the lighting rig: “I have always been a big fan of Martin products and on the rig we have 16 Martin by Harman MAC Quantum Washes. I love their colour not to mention the beam and zoom. Due to the multiple rings within the fixture you can really mess with the look of them to avoid it looking like a circular wash light.” Also representing the Martin brand were the Atomic 3000 DMXs. Additionally Specht spec’d 16 Claypaky Mythos, six Sharpy Washes, 10 Sharpys and 30 Ayrton MagicDot-Rs. The LD also gave special mention to the Chauvet Professional Strike4’s: “I am sold on the Strikes! They have a great reaction time and they look like a traditional halogen light. Through the set I mainly use them as a mole light but they do have an impressive range of effects. On top of that, it’s great not having to carry around a dimmer rack!” For control Specht used an MA Lighting grandMA2. This is a recent change for the LD who before this year had not programmed on an MA console. “Through my career I think I have used almost every brand but MA. For these tours starting at the beginning of this year, I finally got one and started using them. I really like it. It is so powerful. It has become a standard in the industry and it was time to get to grips with it. This became evident on our festival run last year. Nearly every show had one on hand as well, as using the MA Net system and the connection to another brand of console always means there is a slight delay, which I never want in my show!” For the UK tour the creative department opted to bring video screens into the mix. Most of the content that was used during the tour had been created for the band’s summer tour dates by Lüz Studio with Specht adding
in a few additional elments during the run. For the tour Adlib provided the crew a total of 96 of Creative Technology’s Absen A3 Pro 3.9mm LED screens as well as two Absen Processor drive racks all of which were controlled by two Hippotizer V4 Karst media servers (primary and back up). Specht commented: “The video is the only part of the show which is time coded and is triggered via the MA Lighting grandMA2. Other than that, for the lighting side of the show, I am the time code! My show is completely manual and it keeps things more interesting. You can never turn your nose up at job security,” Specht joked. “For this show we have brought on a video tech, Jon Priest, who gets the show up and running then the video runs its self. I have an in-ear mix with a click track and the last thing I want to do during this show is have to speak to another department and give commands, so this set up we have right now is perfect.” Weber added: “The Absen A3 Pro made the content look incredibly clean and crisp.” Specht concluded by offering his thoughts on the lighting and video supplier: “I met the Adlib guys during my first tour with PATD. Over the years we have really got to know the company and we lover working with them. The techs they send over are always fantastic and this run has been no different with my lighting tech Tom Weber.” NO NEED TO PANIC! Another past supplier that jumped on the Death of a Bachelor tour was BPM SFX. Representing the special effects giant was Mick Fletcher. The Special Effects Tech had actually been out with PATD last time BPM worked with the band and was more than happy to be back in the fold. Before 48
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PANIC! AT THE DISCO
Singer Brendon Urie with his custom gold plated Shure KSM8; Monitor Engineer Jeremy ‘Spud’ Groshong; BPM SFX’s Mick Fletcher and and Katie Strickland.
getting to work he sat down with TPi to discuss the special effects. “For in the year. They are a great band and it’s always a pleasure.” the tour it provided eight CO2 jets with four arrange along the upstage with the remaining four place on the downstage, all of which were able to A SENSE OF POISE AND RATIONALITY be fired independently,” Fletcher said. “Tony, our tour manager, has been Handling staging responsibilities in both the US and Europe was All Access very involved with the development of the show and has come up with Staging & Productions, which provided the riser package for the tour. Jones some creative ways to use the jets firing left to right and back to front.” commented: “All Access were a necessity on this tour as we had a lot of One aspect that really aided the development of show was BPM’s prerequests for this current run. They had served us well in the States and visualisation service where clients are able to see digital representations we have had a similar result in Europe.” The stage show made use of the while going back and forth with the supplier. company’s standard Versa Deck system which created a pyramid shape “The problem with special effects is that every time you use it in the real riser configuration. All Access’ Sales Manger, Matthew Bull, commented: world it costs money either to use a gas canister or to fire streamers. With “The fact that the PATD’s crew were able to get a similar system in Europe as the pre-visualisation service you are able to trade ideas without spending a they had in the US is one of the main selling point for All Access. It’s quite a penny. It reinforces our ability to make sure the client gets exactly what they common occurrence for us to deal with artists on both sides of the Atlantic. want.” It certainly helps makes it easy for bands to feel like they are a home when For the tour BPM also provided several stadium shots with streamers they have an identical set up on the other side of the world.” firing out at the crowd as well as its wireless confetti blowers. “They have Transporting both crew and equipment throughout the European tour been getting a lot of work from the wireless were Fly By Nite and Beat The Street. Marino controllers recently,” stated Fletcher. “The real commented: “Due to the size of this leg of the advantage over a traditional wired system tour we had to expand our transport division is the line of sight they offer you. If you are from one truck to three to deal with the extra based on stage right, for example, and you gear.” Jones added: “We have used Fly By Nite need better view of the shot you can take the for several years and they have always been controller out to the pit. That is where I will be incredibly useful. The same goes for Rock-It tonight.” Cargo who once again supplied our logical “We’ve been incredibly fortunate Katie Strickland, Project Coordinator needs.” for BPM, talked about the company’s Beat The Street’s Garry Lewis discussed to work with Panic! on and off involvement with the tour. “We worked closely the company’s involvement with the tour. for 10 years. Seeing their live with production to create a package which “We provided two buses for this tour complemented both the music and lighting including a double deck Setra with a trailer show evolve has been quite for the UK Shows. We were excited to work for merchandise for the crew party and a 12 incredible...” with the Panic! At the Disco team again after berth super high deck for the band. Both buses Phil Keilty, Adlib Audio working with them across UK festivals earlier met the touring party in Madrid and dropped 50
PANIC! AT THE DISCO
them off after the last show in the UK.” He continued: “Tony was lovely to deal with again, very responsive whenever we needed any answers on the bussing side of things. We would be delighted to work with them again.” The final piece of the puzzle and keeping everyone going during the cold winter nights were Eat To The Beat (ETTB). After catering for the band at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, the company were delighted to be confirmed for crew and artist catering during their UK Tour. During the tour the ETTB team provided delicious and freshly cooked food around the clock for the crew and artists as well as dressing room riders, creating a home from home atmosphere. The ETTB team provided a self-drive service, serving up approximately 573 meals throughout the tour.
PATD have been through so much as artists. It’s good to see they are getting the recognition they deserve and it’s great to be playing the bigger venues again.” Finnally the Tour Manager prophesised what 2017 had in store: “After the holidays we are heading down under for an Australia and New Zealand tour before heading back for another States run… It really never stops for this band and that’s the way we like it!” TPi Photos: Jake Chamseddine and Louise Stickland www.panicatthedisco.com www.adlib.co.uk www.allaccessinc.com www.bpm-sfx.com www.globalinfusiongroup.com www.beatthestreet.net www.flybynite.co.uk www.rockitcargo.com www.luzstudio.net
CLOSING THE GODDAMN DOOR Marino gave a summation of the last 12 months of touring. “It’s hard to believe that I Write Sins Not Tragedies is over a decade old now. Since then
Opposite: Monitor Engineer Steve Donovan; PM Jimmy Nicholson; Abelton / MIDI Tech Luke Oldham.
JACK GARRATT Multi-instrumentalist, producer and recipient of the 2016 BRITs Critics’ Choice Award, Jack Garratt, has certainly had quite a year. To cap off 12 months of relentless ascendency, he and his tight-knit crew set out on a UK headline tour to showcase exactly why he’s received such critical acclaim. TPi’s Ste Durham reports.
The one-man band certainly has come a long way since the days of back-mounted bass drums and hands-free harmonicas. Now fans can be treated to an album-quality performance of songs that would have, even until relatively recently, been near impossible to reproduce live. On his latest UK tour, Jack Garratt has delivered that feat and then some by combining an ingenious set-up with prodigious talent and a truly irreplaceable touring crew. While looping technology is far from revolutionary, and even its use in mainstream pop is now not uncommon thanks to a certain Mr Sheeran, the rig that Jack Garratt and his team have developed during this album cycle is a different animal altogether. Rather than looping a single instrument multiple times, Garratt has synthesisers, acoustic drums, guitar and stacks of other samples at his disposal - as well as a pretty enviable vocal range.
specified time frame before switching in the event of loss of that tone. It’s worked so well already. It’s really not the firmware’s fault, it’s just that we use the system in a very different way than most people have before us.” Another way of ensuring potential failings are dealt with quickly and calmly is the constant communication between Garratt, Oldham, Monitor Engineer Steve Donovan and Backline Tech, Jamie ‘Slippers’ Biles. Oldham explained: “We’re all over the comms during a show. There are so many things he’s controlling on stage that there’s no point in having a computer screen up there as well. His eyes are all over the place as it is. It’s important that we make sure that the loops are actually recording when he hits the pad. If not I’ll tell Steve on monitors, who will bring up the fader to tell Jack, and this minimises any stress - he can just calmly re-loop it and I can give him the thumbs up when it’s good to go. This kind of situation is very rare but, again, it’s another form of redundancy.” After a busy festival season, and in preparation for Garratt’s autumn touring schedule, the crew decided that an entire overhaul of his stage and Ableton setup was required. After working together on Charli XCX, Nicholson brought Will Sanderson on board early in the summer and tasked him with making the rig as clean, reliable and user-friendly as possible, which required the whole system to be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up in a more holistic fashion. One such change was taking some of the work off Garratt’s hands; namely the changing of Moog synthesiser presets for tempo-reliant delays or patches. Garratt initially changed these himself, sometimes mid-song, but the new rig let Ableton take care of that job, switching patches based on triggers Garratt was already playing as part of the musical arrangement. Oldham explained: “We introduced something on his pedal board called a Molten Voltage SIMI box, which is one of the most simple pieces of gear on the show but incredibly effective. It’s basically an analogue display that show the name of each song, which indicated to Jack that each programme change out of Ableton has occurred. It just makes him feel that little bit more comfortable on stage. The crew also wanted to streamline the input list, where previously similar sounds could be produced from several sources - the Roland SPDSX, or a number of different outputs from Abelton, they wanted all the kick drums to appear on a single kick drum channel, for instance, making their lives (and the lives of future festival broadcast engineers) that much easier. Nicholson added: “We got into a rehearsal room at Music Bank for four days and Will (Sanderson) dismantled and reprogrammed everything. Now the kick drum comes out of the kick drum channel whether it’s from the kick trigger, an SPD-SX pad or a loop. The levels are consistent regardless of the source, this made it much easier for everyone, including Jack.” Although it was the crew that brought these improvements into reality, the ethos behind them is concordant with Garratt’s drive to improve
WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY One of the men at the heart of this fascinating setup is Abelton / MIDI Tech, Luke Oldham, who helped to overhaul Garratt’s rig prior to his 2016 festival run, and currently holds office as Lord Mayor of Ableton City. Although his (official) job title suggests he might be primarily concerned with babysitting timecode-related starts and stops during the show, his actual duties extend closer towards the those of a full-time band member. He explained: “Not taking into account FOH and monitors, I’d say the show is pretty reliant on that Ableton project that I have at the side of stage. It’s not like Jack is just launching a song and it plays eight tracks of identical length - he uses no click whatsoever so it’s completely organic. There’s a lot more for me to think about than on your average playback gig but that makes it much more fun.” While, on the surface, Oldham has a similar A/B system setup to many of his contemporaries in order to ensure full redundancy, many of the components have had to be adapted to accommodate Garratt’s distinctive performance style. In short, where a more traditional rig with a DirectOut Technologies EXBOX.BLDS like the one at the side of stage in Manchester has its redundancy based on a BLDS (Buffer Loop Detection Signal) tone, this was proving a touch too sensitive for the job. Oldham explained: “Usually the EXBOX is looking for things like the buffer dropping, even for one sample during a set - essentially it’s looking for the computer struggling rather than waiting for it to drop out. We have so much going on from an input and processing point of view that it was switching unnecessarily, which was causing confusion at FOH as well as the side of stage. “We had a conversation with the guys at DirectOut, who’ve been unbelievably helpful, and they wrote us a new piece of firmware allowing us to use the EXBOX more like a traditional switcher, with a regular tone and a 53
Above: Jack Garratt’s rig was designed by Okulus to make him the epicentre of the production.
himself as a musician, constantly attempting to push both himself and the rig to make the performance as real as possible. “It’s as organic as it can be, which works so well as it gives you that push and pull. Obviously there are certain triggers where he can bring in BVs, drums, keys and bass for choruses so he can play guitar and sing over the top, as he can’t physically play all these instruments at the same time, though I think he’d give it a good go if he had the chance! “One of the hardest parts was keeping it the same. So much of Jack’s performance is muscle memory and if there’s even the slightest change then he would have to relearn the whole song, because it becomes second nature. It was really important that his physical interface behaved in the same way as the previous setup.” While Oldham reasserted that the crew are aware they aren’t, in principle, doing anything new, he was keen to express his amazement at the command Garratt has gained over the rig in such a short time. He said: “When I’m stood at the side of stage watching him play all the different parts and can see all the loops and parts flying through Ableton it’s mind boggling. It’s enough that he can play all these things at all, let alone simultaneously, yet our CPU usage is generally only peaking at around 1015%. The fact that he does so much of it makes the show so enjoyable and still fascinates me, even after all this time. The novelty just doesn’t wear off.”
darting around behind Garratt, replacing dropped or misplaced drum sticks, helping to switch guitars over and constantly communicating to ensure the artist’s concentration wasn’t affected by any backline-related issues. He explained: “Jack certainly is a perfectionist but so am I, so it works really well. His performance is based so much on muscle memory that when he reaches over to play a bassline on the Moog, he doesn’t have to look. He just knows that middle C is there and if it’s not, you can bet he will play the B! “Because it’s so crucial, it’s gotten to the point where I instinctively know where stuff should be just by looking. All of the rack is marked and memory-locked off but things can still move in transit.” Slippers laughed: “It’s weird - I’ve set the rig up so many times now that if the snare is too far to the left I will feel itchy!” Garratt, much like Slippers himself, is first and foremost a guitarist, despite spending the majority of his show’s looping synth lines and mercilessly beating the Gretsch acoustic kit. As a result, the guitars and amp are easy to maintain, as are the synths. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the SPD-SX. Slippers explained: “It’s my bugbear for sure. They’re great and the routing options are endless but we use it really differently to how it was designed. There are four audio outs on the back, none of which we use. “We use it as a dumb MIDI controller - all of the pads are MIDI-mapped and all the songs have their programme changes. He beats these things really, really hard and there’s a lot of wear. We tour six SPDs and it’s not uncommon that I’ll have to take one off and spend the morning fixing a broken one. Don’t get me wrong - the SPD-SX is a great product - it’s just that Roland didn’t have Jack Garratt in mind when they designed it!” Production Manager Jimmy Nicholson was also able to vouch for this, having been able to see the quite frankly ludicrous statistics behind one of Garratt’s typical sets. He added: “When we recorded a show for the lighting guys to do their pre-visualisation, we also recorded every MIDI note from SPD-SX, as they program a certain number of cues to respond to the MIDI from stage. A Protools MIDI note count revealed that in one show he hits the SPD-SX about 4,500 times. Now, there are nine pads and he probably plays one and two much more than the others, but I imagine the rated the life cycle of them is only around 20,000 hits apiece. You can understand now why they don’t tend to last long with Jack using them!” Another of Slippers’ jobs is what he referred to as ‘idiot-proofing’ as much of the kit as possible, which includes taping every connector in place and tightening every screw before the show. He explained: “My job is to put as many safety nets under him as
MUSCLE MEMORY The more tangible parts of Garratt’s rig are mounted on a wraparound Gibraltar drum rack, and are maintained and assembled daily by Backline Tech, Slippers. The rack houses a keyboard setup to Garratt’s left (consisting of an M-Audio Keystation 88, a Moog Voyager and two Akai LPD8 pads that control the various looping and audio effects), a Roland SPD-SX sampling pad in the centre and a full acoustic Gretsch drumkit on his right, complete with Zildjan K cymbals. Garratt is endorsed by Fender, and uses Stratocasters exclusively, while his Orange Rockerverb MKIII combo amplifier is housed on a ‘shelf’ that is built into the back of his riser. Even as an experienced session musician and self-confessed gear nerd, Slippers quickly learned that he was thrown in at the deep end for his first full-time backline gig. He said: “It’s certainly a tricky one that’s for sure! I’ve always teched for myself anyway, so that wasn’t a problem and Ableton doesn’t freak me out as it is probably the most stable part of the rig. Luke knows backline too, particularly the synths, so he’ll give a hand with anything that’s going into Ableton.” While this is unarguably a daunting gig from a backline point of view, Slippers is also tasked with serving as Garratt’s second pair of eyes during the live show. Constantly throughout the set at Manchester Slippers was 54
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possible without ripping the authenticity out of what he is doing. The way we’ve automated patch changes on the Moog is a good example of this - we’re just taking weight off him as much as possible. I think it’s fortunate that I’m a musician as well as a tech and can understand what he needs to play each song. He’ll quite often discuss musical things with me as well, which is just as interesting for me. Normally you could have these conversations with the session musicians or your band mates but he doesn’t have any so he can have them with us.” As well as the new rig being introduced in March, a new crew was also assembled in order to cope with the increasing production value, which was then followed by management changes and another new influx of crew. In fact, it is only since October 2016 that Garratt has had a core crew in support of his lofty standards. Slippers commented: “Having a stable crew around Jack is massively important because it’s only him out there. When something goes down, if he knows he can step on the shout and have a talk to four mates who he trusts then it will calm him down before the next song. “Any negativity can affect his muscle memory because he is so in the zone for a gig - he has said to me there are some gigs he doesn’t even remember. He is constantly saying ‘we could automate that but I’m going to do it myself because I know I can do it and it will make me a better musician’.”
that I can manage with my left hand and still ride the VCA section with my right.” Garratt has 2 L-Acoustics SB15’s underneath the aforementioned amplifier shelf in order to achieve the fabled ‘trouser wobble’ from his rumbling bass lines, while his monitor feed is conveyed via a Sennheiser system to one of his three sets of Ultimate Ears UE18 in-ear monitors. Donovan laughed: “We have three because he has a smashed them in the past by turning his head into the mic while he’s moving between instruments! It will happen from time to time because it’s a busy little riser!” When Garratt’s IEM are in one piece, he prefers his mix to sound as analogous with the studio version as possible, though Donovan will ride levels a little higher during moments like guitar or drum solos. He said: “Jack will know if there’s something a little bit off and he’ll be able to tell you. He’s certainly got one of the better ears of the people I’ve worked for.“ As well as dealing with production management, Nicholson is also on the crew as Garratt’s FOH Engineer - having been brought into the fold to fill both roles simultaneously. He explained: “It might be difficult if you had to turn up every day and dial everything in on a new console, but it’s a heavily programmed show - the only live mic’d gear is the kit, voice, and guitar. I did the legwork in rehearsals and with virtual soundcheck, so I’m mostly just riding a few key things.” Nicholson chose a Midas PRO2 - Midas Digital being his go-to consoles since first using the XL8 in 2007: “I went to do the training then and haven’t found anything since that sounds like it. I am so used to it now I can operate in my sleep,” he laughed. Although he maintained that the gig could still go ahead with minimal outboard effects, he still carried a few essentials for the UK run. This included an Empirical Labs Distressor EL8-X to add vocal compression, SPL Transient Designer, a TC electronic System 6000, and a Waves MaxxBCL unit. He explained: “Obviously you can get software plugins for most of these things but it’s nice to be able to reach over and adjust physical things in the middle of a gig. “The MaxxBCL, for example, creates harmonics of the low frequencies from the Moog and sub-bass lines and merges them back into the mix this just gives a bit more definition on the really low, sub-bass stuff. It’s extravagant to have but I had the space in the rack!” In addition to the Midas, Nicholson also had a couple of laptops at FOH running Smaart and Waves Tracks Live with Dante Virtual Soundcard for multitracking of the show and virtual sound check. Where an in-house PA was being used, a tablet controlled Lake LM44 system processor allowed him to set up the system and EQ from the palm of his hand – a vital step in translating the mix from rehearsals into a new room and PA system every night. At Manchester Apollo, Adlib Audio was the local supplier and delivered and installed an L-Acoustics K2 system complete with KS28 subs, which was the PM’s first rider choice. Tour audio supplier Britannia Row Productions supplied a similar system for the latter part of the tour in empty rooms
BUSY LITTLE RISER Contrary to what some of his fellow monitor engineers have alleged, the fact that Donovan only has one person to look after on stage doesn’t necessarily mean he has an easy time stood at the side of it. He said: “In a way it’s simpler because you are only dealing with one attitude but I’ve still got a very specific job compared to your usual monitor gig. The difference is that I aim to mix it from a FOH perspective. He is looking for a specific, honed mix instead of a rougher, ‘monitor engineer’ mix. A drummer will want more drums and a guitarist will want more guitar but he plays everything! “All eyes and concentration on him and even now it’s running smoothly it feels like anything could happen at any moment. If you are not looking at that one person then you’re looking at no one.” Donovan was another that was quick to stress the importance of interdepartmental communication. He said: “We obviously deal with FOH as and when but Luke and I are constantly chatting, as is Slippers on the other side of stage. We always want to make sure each other is ok and nothing no one is struggling.” Although the previous rig was reliant on the MADI routing capabilities of a DiGiCo SD11, the refocusing of signals through Ableton has allowed Donovan to select a Midas desk for monitor duties. “I love the DiGiCo but I felt the Midas was a more appropriate work surface to deal with,” he said. “The footprint has grown slightly but it’s helped me to create a handy selection of pop groups (kit group, guitar group, Ableton group and so on) 56
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Above: The All Access riser was lined with Robe Robin LEDBeam 100’s; The central grid of Elidy panels were treated with the same scenic paint as the trusses.
around the south of England. The majority of Garratt’s microphones were Sennheiser, with AKG C414’s on the drum kit and a Neumann KMS104 on the vocal. Nicholson said: “The Neumann 104 is great off-axis and that helps with his constant movements. We toyed with the idea of adding another mic position but it wouldn’t really help things as he’s never in one place for very long. We have joked with him about wearing a Britney-style headset mic, but that is never going to happen!”
audience looks during the show as well. “The set is very cue intensive so we programmed as much as we could using WYSIWYG. Apart from the kind of tweaks that are unavoidable on the road, particularly with a show like Jack’s, not much has changed from WYSIWYG to real thing.“ Given the fact that Oliver and Scott have chosen to move away from the world of live touring, and original lighting operator Ryan Nixon was unable to take part in the UK tour, the production turned to Nikita Jakovlev to man the MA Lighting grandMA2 for Garratt’s live shows. He commented: “My relationship with Okulus was a key factor in getting involved with the tour. They needed a grandMA2 operator for the UK run and as I had worked with Jack on a few bits during the summer festival season then it worked out quite well. “The design and most of the programming had already been done for the festivals and some previous shows so I could just jump straight in. In my opinion, the current design with the curved towers, Elidy and Sceptron circle works really well. The height difference in the towers really creates a sense of depth so most of the stages end up looking bigger than they actually are. The Elidy gives plenty of eye-candy and the Sceptron circle is a nice reference to the Phase album cover.” As was the case during the design process, Garratt remained heavily involved with the lighting on a day-to-day basis. Whether this is suggesting starts and stops to songs or the more detailed job of triggering lighting cues via MIDI from his SPD-SX, the artist is always keen to make sure the audience experience the perfect Jack Garratt performance. Jakovlev said: “All of the show is manually operated so you constantly have to know where you are in the song and pay attention to what Jack is doing. A few blackouts are cued by Jack clicking his fingers so starts and stops do end up being very particular. “The longer sound checks were very useful at the beginning of the tour to make sure everything was behaving as it should and we could make sure that all of the important cues were correct.” He continued: “On a day-to-day basis, there is a list of songs that he can potentially do, and every one of those songs is already programmed with its own page. It’s really a matter of putting the songs in the right order so there are no issues during the show and tweaking anything that we might not have played in front of a live audience yet.” To accentuate the visual side of Garratt’s performance for the London and Brighton dates, BPM SFX was brought on board to provide some additional firepower for the crew to make use of. Senior Project Coordinator for BPM, Katie Strickland, explained: “We used four G Flames with circular flame bars which were placed just in front of his set and were used throughout the track Fire. In addition to this we used 12 Powershots across the front truss for an instant hit of white and blue confetti at the end of the finale, Worry. “Before the hit of confetti there was a full stage blackout, and as the lights returned, so did an explosion of confetti. The G Flames were controlled using Galaxis Wireless Firing System, and the Powershots were controlled by our firing pack.” She continued: “Jack is an incredible artist, and someone who we have wanted to work with for a while so we were really excited when this call came through. The whole team were an absolute pleasure to work with, and we look forward to integrating more special effects into his shows in the future.”
CUE HEAVY With the lighting fixtures having to make up for a great deal of the on-stage movement that is impossible for Garratt while he is glued behind his oneman-band equipment rack, the design was of paramount importance. Creative outfit Okulus was brought into the fold during the revamp period to update the rig and make sure there was enough visual action going on to stack up against the impressive musical performance. Okulus co-founders James Scott and Louis Oliver began the initial design for Garratt’s show in February 2016: “The idea was centred around the curved trusses that were laced with lights,” said Oliver. “The whole look and feel of it was meant to be quite rustic and that was the case from the floor to the air.” Scott added: “The main focus is obviously Jack so we ran with the idea of creating a focal point through the structures, which hints at him being the epicentre of the show. Jack really wanted a curved riser as well, which we lined with Robe Robin LEDBeam 100’s.” When it came to sourcing the gear, duties were split between Siyan and Adlib on a venue-specific basis. Oliver said: “Choosing Siyan to supply the lighting was a no-brainer, and it means we have Mark Thornton and Jason Tomes on the crew. They supplied the flown rig for the end of the run in empty rooms, while Adlib took care of local supply for the show mid-tour in Manchester. Siyan also supplied the floor package throughout, though Jack owns the towers, which were constructed by Brilliant Stages.” As Garratt had requested some extra branding for this particular run, Scott and Oliver decided to add two more unconventional aspects to the show design - a central grid of 28 Chromlech Elidy-S tungsten panels, also treated with the same scenic paint as the trusses in a custom frame, and a ring formed from 29 Martin VDO Sceptron bars to mirror the Garratt’s album artwork. Oliver explained how the Elidy panels worked: “We can run lo-fi visuals through it, or select individual pixels and create shapes. We have full control of this through the grandMA2 and could create some effects that suited the overall set design really well.” As well as the Elidy, the duo was also quick to point out that the 11 Showline Nitro 510Cs were irreplaceable in their design for Garratt. Scott commented: “From our original spec, we knew there were certain things we couldn’t do without, but the rest of it still fell into place pretty quickly. We knew we were going for GLP impression X4’s so we could use the macros, and the Robe 600 LEDWashes are great as a key light – I wouldn’t change those either.” Although the rig had to create movement and draw focus towards Garratt, the pair also made his talent the priority above all else. Scott said: “Jack’s performance alone is entertaining and we wanted to amplify that instead of distracting from it; this is why everything is focussed on him. Most of the positions are down or around him, though there are some big 58
SURPRISE YOURSELF PM Nicholson was happy to go with the flow when it came to choosing suppliers. He commented: “Brit Row has been involved with Jack since the get-go, as has Rock-It Cargo for freighting duties and, of course, Siyan. Phoenix Bussing and Fly By Nite were great as always, and only new thing was getting All Access in for the risers.” In Garratt’s previous tours, the crew had been using whatever was locally available for the artist’s central riser, but this proved problematic when the reality of the live shows set in. Nicholson continued: “We used some really wobbly risers and that has a very serious impact on Jack psychologically when he performs. Just like the SPD-SX, he uses a riser very differently from most. “Usually people will stand to play keys or guitar on a riser or sit down behind a drum kit, but he moves around so much, as well as dancing as he plays. It’s more akin to a riser full of dancers, as well as all of the backline, some of which is only held together with micro USB connectors!” While the crew originally toyed with the idea of a grated riser, this also proved to be not feasible when the visual effects possibilities were stacked up against the detrimental effects it could have on Garratt’s balance and concentration. All Access Staging & Productions provided the artist’s circular riser, which was 12ft in diameter, as well as the rear ‘shelf’ that housed his guitar amplifier and stage subs. For the London and Brighton shows, All Access also provided a pair of circular risers, both 4ft in diameter, for the backing vocalists that were added for those dates. Nicholson added: “Jack generally doesn’t like change and it’s a delicate process to convince him of the benefit of altering things - whether that’s adding a carpet to the riser or rebuilding his Ableton session. I’d say Slippers is pretty essential to this process as they have a great relationship.” While this was evidenty true upon watching both the show and the rehearsal in Manchester, it still seems remarkable that such a solid bond can be made in a relatively short period of time - particularly in such a highpressure environment. This can be said for the rest of Garratt’s crew as well, and the electricity of such a high-risk production was thoroughly palpable throughout the day. With the tour now over and new wheels in motion, it’s certainly intriguing to see what this highly professional and exciting crew will conjure up next... TPi Photos: Giles Smith www.jackgarratt.com www.okulus.co.uk www.adlib.co.uk www.britanniarow.com www.siyan.co.uk www.bpm-sfx.com www.rockitcargo.com www.allaccessinc.com www.phoenix-bussing.co.uk www.flybynite.co.uk
Rather than looping a single instrument multiple times, Garratt has synthesisers, acoustic drums, guitar and stacks of other samples at his disposal.
Opposite: 19 years after Rotterdam last hosted the MTV EMAs, the live concert spectacular returned to the city.
MTV EMAs A who’s who of international pop artists travelled to the Rotterdam Ahoy on 6 November to celebrate the music industry’s achievements throughout the last 12 months. The live award ceremony was broadcast to millions across the globe, with this year’s event marking its return to the Dutch city, having previously hosted it in 1997.
The scale of production at the MTV EMAs never fails to impress and the 2016 edition was no exception. Ensuring the event got off to a flying start, host Bebe Rexha started the night sitting on a luxurious gold and red circular floating seat hung underneath an illuminated sign of her name while a pyrotechnic waterfall cascaded to light up the large scaffoldingstyle set. DNCE’s medley of their latest hits was quite literaly head and shoulders above the rest as they entertained the masses on a floating truss stage, which through Kinesys automation system (operated by Blackout’s installation technician), was manoeuvred above the crowds, landing on truss supports in the middle of the audience. The floating stage was designed with a transparent floor to enable revellers directly underneath to witness the live performances. Blackout Director Kevin Monks explained: “Arriving on site seven days beforehand, we loaded in on Saturday morning and by Sunday we saw our 12-stong crew knuckle down to install the lighting, video and rigging elements, with the staging then loaded in overnight. We installed over 200 rigging points and 70 Kinesys hoist points, from which the moving set elements were controlled within accurately using the Kinesys automated system to control motors in the venue’s roof, alongside PRG XL Video. The MTV EMAs is always a technically complicated project to work on, this year being no different. Floating a stage above the audiences’ heads to then land it on truss supports amongst the crowds was one of our more challenging briefs in recent years. “Part of our team’s expertise and added value is that we try to pre-empt the additional infrastructure that will be needed and have that in place ahead of last-minute requests or the advancement of creative ideas. Like in other venues across Holland, the venue’s in-house team are an absolute dream to work with - they’ll do the mark out and integrate seamlessly with our team, which helps relieve the pressure in a fast-paced installation. The intensity of this show and the speed with which we have to load it in and out is only possible due to the strong relationships that have developed over the years of us working together.” A series of truss square installations were illuminated both red and white, creating the optical illusion of a 3D cube backdrop to Bebe Rexha and Martin Garrix’s duet. Later on in the show, her I Got U performance
was centred around a furry animatronic U-shaped set piece, whose eyes opened halfway through the song and followed Bebe’s dance routine around the stage. A large inverted pyramid set element supplied by Creative Technology was suspended over the piano on the B-Stage for an acoustic Shawn Mendes performance of Mercy, onto which projection mapping created a captivating display of raindrops interspersed with rose petals in an otherwise pitch-black venue. The inverted pyramid element was hoisted to the top of the venue’s rigging installation once the performance had moved to the front of the stage, utilising the main video screen to light up the entire venue. Set Designer Julio Himede incorporated a third and fourth stage in the 80m design of the huge scaffolding set created on the diagonal across the venue, to the right of the main infinity stage, onto which Zara Larsson dramatically entered from a raising platform covered with dry mist for an ethereal look. The middle of the main set also incorporated a moving lift from which various award nominations were presented to camera, helping to magnify the scale of the venue’s set. Technical Art Director Malcolm Birkett joined the MTV EMA production family for the first time directly this year, having previously worked alongside the main designer. He explained: “My role involved taking the initial design concepts and working them into practical solutions. Working with a combination of design drawings, renders and reference images, I evolved the design into a three-dimensional CAD model that can be used to develop not only the set and structure but also the audio, lighting and video elements. “Julio Himede came up with the linear frame design concept and because of the scale of the set we decided to use a Layher scaffolding system to form the structure onto which the strip LED (that gave the set its strong look) was attached.” Faber AV supplied a total of 144sqm of ROE MC-7 video panels, partly installed on Kinesys motors to enable a quick changeover or create an extra visual surprise during the performances. In addition to that, 55sqm of Zircon Video floor was installed, as well as 29sqm of additional video on the red carpet. The audience was also able to experience close-ups from the show thanks to the four Glux 10mm delay screens, covering over 60sqm. 61
Almost 3,000 LED strips were used for the set’s backlighting.
Birkett continued: “The stage layout and back wall structure was then designed using standard scaffold bay sizes. It was quite a challenging design process to incorporate the various set elements, as they were developed, within the structural rules that we imposed upon ourselves maintaining a 1m cubic grid across the entire set. The set included two lifts, three platforms within the back wall accessed via separate stair towers (used by orchestra, cast audience and dancers), the glass-topped infinity floor and areas of LED flooring and screen. Even the Glamour Pit seating area for nominees conformed to the design language; they sat upon bench seating on the scaffold platforms rather than more traditional tables and chairs or lounge furniture.” Birkett continued: “The Rotterdam Ahoy benefits from a large flat floor area so we were able to create a stage frontage of around 85m, running diagonally across the arena. That still wasn’t large enough so the back wall wings were built up over the seats. Because our set was built from system scaff it was impossible to pre-fit any of the LED or lighting into it, as you would tend to do with a bespoke set and limited installation period on site. The pressure was really on during the load-in for the back wall structure to be built as quickly as possible to enable nearly 3,000 LED strips and all the back wall lighting to be installed and cabled, one piece at a time. For me, the highlight of the show was its opening with three back-to-back performances, which was only possible due to the enormity of the stage set and the clear separation between performance areas. This enabled all three bands to set up without being in shot during the previous performances. Plus, pixel-mapping the entire installation was a real achievement.” In collaboration with Faber, Ogle Hog provided the content playback solution. Ogle Hog used a total of five d3 Technologies 4×4 Severs and an Encore2 for switching. Two of the servers acted as main and back up during the show, while two others were reserved for mapping the strips and artist specials and server number five acted as the understudy. Ogle Hog used the servers to build an accurate 3D model of the structure and built in a series of pixel maps to work with Faber on site to take on the huge task of mapping the strips. In addition, Ogle Hog used a Catalyst media server to create a live voice-over EQ effect that was put onto the strips during presenter announcements.
straight away. As a result we had most of the flown rig up by the first day of installation so that the rest of the set could come in under our kit. The lighting programming is driven by Julio’s set design but in addition to that we installed a number of workhorse fixtures to light the audience and fixtures around the back of the seating for the cameras to reference to.” As the lighting contractor, PRG XL Video supplied and installed a total of 104 VL35kw, 39 PRG Best Boys, 47 PRG Bad Boys, 102 PRG Icon Beams, 50 GS Beams, 43 Claypaky Stormys, 26 Martin by Harman Atomic 3000 Strobes, 77 GLP impression X4’s, 50 GLP impression 120 RZs, 54 I/W Coves, 50 Colourblast I/Ws, 50 Philips Color Kinetics ColorBlast TRXs, two Bad Boy Spots, three GroundControl Bad Boys, 6 M2s, 2 M2 Trusses and four MA Lighting grandMA2 consoles for control. Lighting Designer Tom Kenny added: “Working in the Ahoy was ideal for this particular event as the building is perfect in size for a production of this magnitude. The lighting install took a week, including rehearsals and technical run-throughs, but I have to give special thanks to Alex Passmore and Jonathan Rouse who worked very hard on the programming and keeping the team spirits high throughout the entire process. It has to be said that Rich and his cracking PRG crew do an exceptional job and they are simply one of the best, most professional teams I have worked with.” The Weeknd’s live set incorporated a large projection dome resting on the floor of the main stage, inside which the performance took place, creating stunning broadcast effects for TV viewers with just the artist’s silhouette visible from within the dome with moving black and white galaxy-themed projections as his Starboy backdrop. The projection dome was then hoisted mid-performance and tipped onto its side to make use of the circular truss shape backdrop onto which celestial, planetary images were projected. Lukas Graham’s welcome to the stage plunged the Rotterdam Ahoy into complete darkness except for a starry effect throughout the set which created a stunning magical effect to match their story-telling lyrics, captivating the audience’s imagination with their 7 Years single. Performed from the heights of the scaffolding set stage, pyrotechnics fell from the its backdrop to illuminate the live orchestra on the platform below. Also included in PRG XL Video’s visual package was Elation Professional ACL 360 Matrix LED moving head panels, which Kenny employed throughout the show. He commented: “We had 24 ACL 360 Matrix lamps and we spread them around and behind some structures within the set, for example as scenic behind the elevator for Afrojack’s performance. I used the highest tech lighting fixtures on the show and the ACL 360 Matrix fit this
LIGHTING PRG XL Video’s Head of Event Services, Richard Gorrod, said: “As soon as one MTV EMA show finishes, we start planning the next one almost 62
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The Weekend performed at the event; Stars walked the red carpet including Joe Jonas’s band, DNCE.
request with flying (and spinning) colours. I needed a very powerful fixture as a major backlight gag. The rotation with shapeshifting LED chases gave us a very futuristic look. I always try and use the latest products in varied ways on all my shows and Elation has been ahead of the game with these fixtures and the rest of their product line.”
spectacular for Global Icon Award winners Green Day during their aptly named track Bang Bang. Barnett remarked: “It’s not very often you get asked to do nearly 1,000 bits of pyro during one song. Unfortunately we had to reduce it to 680 on the day due to concerns from production over smoke content. As it turned out the smoke was absolutely fine and we could have used the whole amount, which would have been great to see.” The pyrotechnics for Green Day, which comprised of numerous comets, jets and SPDs, were released vertically, horizontally and diagonally from 50 positions across the stage and scaffolding. Due to the shape of the stage, Quantum was able to shoot products safely out towards the audience creating a 3D criss-cross of pyro during the last 30 seconds of the track. A major challenge for the team was the newly implemented Dutch law about the amount of pyro allowed in a room at any one time. Barnett explained: “Just the Green Day pyro alone put us over our allocated allowance, so we had to work with the authorities to negotiate new terms. Otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to do the full show for Green Day let alone the pyro for anyone else. A big thanks to the Dutch authorities for working with us on that one.” As the show is aired live, the other challenge to Quantum was the short turn around for each performance. “It can be a bit insane from our point of view,” Barnett mused. “This year there were four stages that we had to work across, which made show movement quite the workout. We did the whole thing with only eight crew and with quite a long distance from stage one to stage four there was a lot of running in between.” He concluded: “The EMAs is a great show to work on. The creative team are always open to doing new stuff which is great from our point of view as we are always looking to do new things too.”
SPECIAL EFFECTS OPERATIONS Supplying the special effects for the entire award ceremony was Quantum SFX. Shaun Barnett, Managing Director at Quantum, worked on the show and spoke about the experience for his team. “It was a pleasure to work with the MTV crew and production team again. It’s always a challenging gig and this year was no exception. We had quite possibly the fullest show content to date,” he said. The Quantum team provided effects for a total of 10 artists, starting with CO2 jets on the red carpet for Anne-Marie’s warm-up gig and finishing with a surprise rain effect for penultimate performers OneRepublic. Other acts in receipt of a tailored programme of special effects were Bruno Mars, Martin Garrix, Zara Larsson, DNCE, Lukas Graham, Afrojack, Green Day, and host Bebe Rexha. From low smoke to G-Flames, and an impressive amount of pyrotechnics, a full range of products were used on the night. A major highlight for Barnett was seeing Quantum’s new digital rain system come to life for the OneRepublic performance: “We used our Q: Rain Graphix to create a 3m box of rain surrounding the band. They were actually sat in a pond that was built into the stage. We covered it with low smoke for the first section of the track and the gag was that nobody knew it was there, so when we initiated the rain system the low smoke was gradually blown away revealing the band standing ankle deep in water. The creative was from Raj Kapoor, he came up with the genius idea and it was great to get our Rain Graphix out there and onto a big TV show.” The Q: Rain Graphix was developed earlier this year by Quantum’s inhouse engineering team and debuted on Adele’s live tour. It’s completely self-contained and studio-quiet, which made it the perfect fit for a surprise reveal on live television. The other highlight for the Quantum team was putting on a pyro
AUDIO Britannia Row Productions has provided audio at the EMAs for the past two decades years, this time selecting an L-Acoustics system for sound reinforcement. The main PA system at the Ahoy consisted of four hangs of L-Acoustics K2 with KS28 Subs, with two supplementary side hangs of KARA. Colin Pink, Sound Engineer from Britannia Row Productions
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Shawn Mendes and The Weekend both picked up awards.
reflected: “Throughout the 20 years that we have been supplying the audio requirements for the MTV EMAs, the show has provided us with a number of challenges but the team previously led by the late Derrick Zieba and then myself for the last three years, have always delivered on all fronts. The set design this year was challenging in the sense of the sheer area the PA and radio frequency had to cover. The advantage of Julio’s set design was that the distance from the PA to the back row was only 45m and the slap back echo was significantly reduced due to the PA hitting the walls at 45°.” For the past 14 of Brit Row’s 20 years, the company has had the support of Sennheiser, both in terms of equipment and technical assistance. With increasingly RF-heavy environments, the use of Sennheiser equipment, particularly products such as its flagship Digital 9000 Series that was used by the presenters, has proved increasingly important. Eight channels of Digital 9000 were on hand for the guest presenters and award acceptance speeches, with 12 channels of EM 3732-II and SKM 5200 and 18 channels of 2000 Series handheld microphones being used by artists including Bruno Mars, who had over 30 channels of his own 2000 Series IEMs. Pink said: “We had a massive area to cover with over 100 channels of IEM and radio mic systems. On top of this we had to integrate a couple of guest artist’s own RF systems, not to mention the red carpet show, press systems and so on. To say there was a full RF spectrum would be an understatement. “Obviously this needed great planning, and having Andy Lillywhite and Phil Cummings from Sennheiser working alongside the Brit Row team was massively reassuring to me. If anyone could get the job done, they could and did. Needless to say Sennheiser’s systems performed flawlessly and the show went off without a hitch.” Brit Row’s Lez Dwight added: “As the years have gone by, the demand for RF equipment in our industry has steadily increased. What used to be a few bands having IEM systems and microphones on their riders has become a standard requirement. Shoehorning a dozen bands and presenters into one space is a very common request for us. Thanks to our RF crew and the presence of Sennheiser, we delivered once again for MTV.” At FOH the crew selected two DiGiCo SD5’s, with two SD7’s at monitors. An SD10 looked after the presenter / awards part of the show, all of which was installed and set up in four days, followed by three days of rehearsals before the Sunday show day. Pink said: “It was a fantastically smooth show to be a part of. Even though we had 14 performances and 18 awards within a two-hour live show, it all went off without a hitch! It was a pleasure to be part of such a great team.” BARRIERS Mojo Barriers’ Stanley Jilesen and six crew installed over 650m of crowd barrier configuration both inside and out of the iconic music venue. 250m of the aluminium crowd safety barrier was used to line the perimeter of the main infinity stage and the B-Stage. Over 100m of crowd barrier was used to create a media pit within the standing audience, segregating the broadcast cameras on floor tracking from the crowds. This ensured clear sightlines for the entire audience whilst allowing the broadcasters to film all the live performances throughout the night. Black barriers were installed throughout the venue to blend-in with the set and enhance aesthetics for TV broadcasting. Mojo Barriers’ High Fence provided 50m of sightline kill extensions, offering 2.4m of additional opaque height to protect the privacy of VIP guests on arrival from crowds waiting outside the venue, and over 250m installed along the perimeter of the front entrance of the venue to ensure
the safe and smooth ingress and egress of music fans. In front of the venue, a temporary structure played host to the glamorous red carpet area, which utilised over 190m of Mojo Barriers’ crowd barrier to segregate the media and fans from the arriving performing artists, presenters and award nominees. Each section of barrier was adorned with MTV EMA and sponsor logos, in line with event branding and sponsor aspirations. Jilesen commented: “Continuing our longstanding relationship working with the MTV EMAs, Maggie Mouzakitis (Event Production Manager) and the wider production team, we were delighted to welcome such a great event to work on back to our home country. It is a pleasure to work on a project which each year pushes boundaries of creative production and we relish the opportunity to enhance the experience for the audience and keep them as safe as possible.” CONCLUSION Event Production Manager Maggie Mouzakitis, responsible for pulling all elements smoothly together, commented: “With 12 years of experience working on the MTV EMAs, starting in Edinburgh back in 2003, I have developed the skills of managing expectations on such a big set. I begin with planning out how all the spaces available within the venue should be used, from office and dressing rooms to catering and storage of equipment. This may sound easy enough but once you calculate over 1,000 people working backstage this can be challenging at times. During the set design period, which this year began in April, I worked with Julio to process what would work and the best suppliers to facilitate his plans. On the technical side, I also look at everything from supplier and product selection, quotations, technical meetings, test builds, managing budgets and tight schedules! “The Rotterdam Ahoy is, in my opinion, one best venues for a show of this magnitude; it has the technical capacity from both a rigging and power perspective but it also has ample ancillary spaces so that we could accommodate the extensive requirements for catering, vast dressing room facilities, press and digital media hubs, and an external clearspan temporary structure that was home to the red carpet area and staff offices. Mouzakitis continued: “This year, the emphasis for set design was on a pristine art installation made out of scaffolding, supplied by StageCo, who advised on how this look could be best achieved from the reduction of diagonal bracing. This year’s angled stage design proved somewhat more complex to calculate sight kills, the position of relay screens and other video elements. Chris Saunders and his team at Ogle Hog had the task of creating the pixel maps for the monster amount of video product used throughout the show. Regular conversations amongst the production suppliers helped to keep everyone on the right page and for me, bringing the show to the life from the designer’s vision is a fantastic feeling. Everyone pulled in a spectacular amount of work and resilience resulting in an awesome-looking outcome, I’m very grateful to our production suppliers for all their efforts.” TPi Photos: Courtesy of Plaster Creative Communications & Getty Images http://uk.mtvema.com www.prg.com www.ct-group.com www.q-sfx.com www.oglehog.com www.britanniarow.com www.faber-av.com www.blackout.co.uk www.mojobarriers.com www.stageco.com http://faber-av.com 66
THE MTV EMAs FOR 20 YEARS
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JAKE BUGG Despite once again refining the show design and updating the technology at the centre of Jake Bugg’s touring production, the consistency from the artist’s close knit crew has ensured that the honesty of his show remains as present as ever.
Having cut his teenage teeth before a crowd of thousands at Glastonbury 2011, Jake Bugg has certainly earned the right to employ a bit of restraint despite his still tender years. As a result, the singer / songwriter chose to begin his 2016 tour with a sonically and visually minimal selection of acoustic songs, before the more traditional indie rock show kicked in. Lighting Designer Stu Farrell explained: “The first four tunes are Jake and an acoustic guitar, so we only use two lights on him, one rear spotlight and little bit of side-light to illuminate him. We sometimes throw in some blinders when the crowd cheer, but the first section of the show is really stripped back. When the band comes on we truly light it all up, and this creates an awesome atmosphere. The show’s lighting design looks really nice - I really like the side-light so we’re using that a lot as it creates a nice look and gives Jake the opportunity to move around if he wants to.” Utopium supplied flown fixtures and a custom floor package for the tour. This included Martin by Harman MAC Quantum Profiles and MAC Aura XB Washes on the floor to offer additional brightness and tighter beams, as well as Martin by Harman Atomic 3000 Strobes, James Thomas Engineering 4-Lite molefays and SGM P-5 LED Floods. The flown package incorporated more MAC Aura XB Washes, Quantum Profiles and Atomic Strobes, this time with JTE 2-Lite molefays. Antari HZ500 hazers and AF-3 fans were also deployed to create a light-friendly atmosphere. Utopium supplied a High End Systems Road Hog 4 desk for lighting control. Jon Newman, Project Manager at Utopium, commented: “We were waiting for the right moment to invest in these lights and the Jake Bugg tour seemed exactly this, enabling us to match the creative requirements of Stu and the production team. These new compact LED washes not only bring improved sustainability, which we’re finding more of our clients are asking about, but they can be easily transported and offer less weight
loading, so they are perfect for tours. The new kit looks great and we’re really happy to showcase it on Jake Bugg’s latest tour.” Farrell added: “The new kit supplied by Utopium has been ace and the equipment is a really good mixture of functionality and compatibility. It’s all LED so it doesn’t require as much power, which is great for everyone.” The back of the stage was lined with five gauze panels that lit up throughout the show. Farrell explained: “The full rig consists of five dollies on stage that we had made a couple of years ago for a previous tour. We decided to recycle them, originally with the idea to use them to hang video but we changed this at the last minute and turned them into gauze panels that line the back of the stage. These are lit with the SGM P-5’s and coated with UV paint, we light them up at certain points throughout the show to get them to glow, which gives a really nice effect.” Visiting a host of different venues throughout the UK, the lighting rig has had to adapt to accommodate different sizes and roof loading capabilities. Farrell continued: “For the smaller venues we tend to take the end two dollies off and just use the three, which we’ve had to do a few times. I’ve programmed it so it can be flexible and this means it doesn’t affect the feel of the show if the dollies are moved or removed; it’s just a matter of scaling it up or down. There are also four upright towers on the side of the stage that shine side-light on the band and on Jake. “On a few occasions we’ve had to ditch the upstage towers and just use the downstage ones. The smallest we’ve had to go in terms of floor package is three dollies and two towers. In the rig, it just depends how much width we can get. On a few occasions we’ve put our lights onto the in-house truss and in one show in Nottingham, his hometown, we used whatever they had in the roof as the venue was quite small, along with our own small floor package.” 69
Above: Utopium supplied flown fixtures and a custom floor package for Jake Bugg’s tour.
This is the first year Production Manager Rod Clay has worked with Bugg, having kicked off the relationship in January. He commented: “This has been a great tour to work on and we’ve had the opportunity to play in some really diverse venues. From Brixton Academy and Manchester Apollo to our hometown gig in Nottingham Rock City, all the venues have varied drastically in size. This has obviously brought certain logistical and technical challenges in order to cram two trucks of gear into the smaller venues, but it’s worked well in the end. “The main challenge has been bringing the equipment in through small doors, which is much more complicated than it sounds. One thing that Stu did was to adapt the heights of the towers, which has given us loads of flexibility. Being able to put in one tower or four towers has helped increase our versatility, as this can be adapted depending on the size of the stage, how much space we have and how much space the backline needs and so on. We’ve pretty much managed to put 90% of the gear in the majority of venues, which has been fantastic.” Clay continued: “I brought in the suppliers based on previous relationships and recommendations. Tourtech has always supplied audio, Fly By Nite has always supplied the trucking and the latest addition is a recommendation from Stu Farrell, which was Utopium. We’re really happy with them; they’ve got great quality gear. We also have Phoenix Bussing keeping us safe on the road and Bitter Sweet Catering, who have been standout on this tour. This has been important for morale; we’ve had three excellent meals a day and it’s the highlight for many of us - I’m always looking forward to what they’ve made. To cater for this amount of people in difficult conditions is hard, and they’ve maintained a high standard of food, which has been phenomenal.” FOH Engineer Nick Ingram has worked with Jake Bugg since the beginning. He said: “I started off working with the people around him, such
as his manager who I knew from previous jobs. I got the call when Jake was only 17 years old. I had spent a few years working with more established artists so it was nice to be with someone new, young and exciting. That was in 2012 and it has been absolutely non-stop since.” Ingram decided on an L-Acoustics K2 from Tourtech to take care of the tour’s audio requirements - a first for Bugg. Ingram commented: “This is the first time I’ve carried an L-Acoustics K2 but I’ve always been a fan, as I love the warmth and the open sound of it. I just think there is something about it when you have acoustic instruments, real guitars and drums and an organic kind of sound. We’re using the K2 in the UK but when we go to Europe we leave the speakers behind and we just take the rest, which is our mixing desks, all our mic package, line system, monitors and everything on stage. When we get to Europe most of the venues are theatres with a PA permanently installed, and where they haven’t we will spec what we would like from local suppliers.” He continued: “For FOH I use a Midas PRO2, which is my mixing desk of choice. I’ve been using one since I started with Jake, and I’ve used one for every artist I’ve worked with since then. I was never a fan of digital desks but then I am sort of from the old school, I love the analogue sound. I find that the Midas gives you the closest thing to that analogue sound, which for Jake is really important. I also use a load of Waves plugins, which everyone is into now. I use them on everything as they work perfectly with Jake’s voice.” “This tour really has been one of Jake’s best with the new kit, the plugins and the whole virtual record thing that we do now. I record each show and then when I get in the next day I play the previous night’s show back through the desk and that’s my sound check. Jake doesn’t sound check anymore, so the rest of his band will get up for a bit and play but that’s all I get until the gig. Listening back to previous shows and working from that 70
has been a big change in the last few years and has really altered the way we do things.” The duality of Bugg’s set was as much of a consideration for the audio department as it was for lighting, as Ingram explained: “It’s been nice on this tour; Jake has gone back to having an acoustic section so you almost have to treat the show as two different shows. I have to think you could be in a busy venue on a Friday night with a loud crowd who are all getting excited and making a load of noise through the changeover, and I have to think that in 20 minutes Jake is going to get on stage and play an acoustic guitar. There are certain things you have to do to try and bring the crowd in with you and make it feel intimate and get them into that frame of mind.” He added: “The band then joins him and each instrument has its own unique tone and it’s very dynamic. Making that all sit together is really quite difficult and it doesn’t sit naturally like a normal three piece would - you have to find the right space and frequencies for each instrument to cut through. Jake also has a really distinctive voice, which is one of the things that makes him so great, but it seems to occupy the same frequency, 2-4kHz. If you’re not careful, it can end up being quite overwhelming in that range so it’s about finding the space for that without taking all the energy away. The Waves plugins help with this.” Paul ‘Robbo’ Roberts, Monitor Engineer, jumped on for the last six months of Bugg’s previous tour and has been working with him ever since. He said: “I use an Allen & Heath iLive-T80 of my own on this tour because, when we started at the beginning of the year, we were doing loads of small promo shows and it’s compact and comfortable to use. With the d&b audiotechnik M2 wedges there isn’t anything that you can’t do, so it was suggested to me by the lads that I bring it on the tour. I’ve used it on pretty much everything since I’ve owned it just for continuity’s sake, and because its small, you can use it in a trailer in Europe as well as bigger venues. It’s worked really well.” Jake Bugg’s Cardiff University Students’ Union gig marked the last UK stop for the tour, which headed next to Dublin and Central Europe. Once on the continent, the team were without the flown lighting package and the PA, choosing to utilise local suppliers and in-house rigs. “We’ve got a very diverse team, from various disciplines, but it’s been an easy mix as well,” Clay concluded. “Most of us have been with Jake from the start so everyone gets on brilliantly, which is important when touring in confined conditions. We’ve just finished six weeks in America and Mexico and then we have a further four weeks in Dublin and Europe. We’ve had to deal with such differing circumstances and spaces that everyone has pulled together to get things done. If anyone needs a lift or a hand there is always help between departments.” TPi www.jakebugg.com www.utopium.co.uk www.tourtech.com www.flybynite.co.uk www.bittersweetcatering.co.uk www.phoenix-bussing.co.uk
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SHURE’S KSM8 12 months on from its debut at the NAMM show, TPi’s Kelly Murray takes a look at how Shure’s latest innovation has made an impact on the industry.
Dedicated to manufacturing microphones and audio electronics that ‘inspire self-expression’, Shure recently celebrated its 91st year in business, with a continued mission of being the most trusted audio brand worldwide. When it comes to the live sound category, the KSM8 is the world’s first dual-diaphragm dynamic handheld microphone and debateably the most significant dynamic microphone technology advancement the industry had seen in over 50 years. This was unveiled at the 2016 Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, California where the KSM8 was first presented. A groundbreaking feat of engineering design, the KSM8 is the world’s first dual-diaphragm dynamic handheld microphone for revolutionary vocal reproduction and accurate soundreinforcement and control. The KSM8 extends Shure’s wired microphone line, which includes numerous products of significance such as the Unidyne 55 and the SM58 microphone. Designed for live sound performances where vocal clarity and sound quality are absolutely critical, the KSM8 not only meets the most discerning quality and reliability standards, it also has the versatility to adapt to changing environments without impacting performance. The KSM8 provides sound engineers with a dynamic microphone that has virtually no proximity effect, a mastery of off-axis rejection and an output accuracy that requires none of the presence peaks or roll-offs that are typical in a dynamic microphone. “Being part of the dynamic microphone resurgence has been extremely exciting for me, because our customers were always asking us what’s next
in dynamic microphones,” said Scott Sullivan, Senior Director of Global Product Management at Shure. “When it comes to microphone technology and development, Shure has, what I consider to be, the ‘secret formula.’ In my opinion, no other company, through our exceptional engineering department, could have achieved what we did with the KSM8.” “In order to make the Dualdyne concept a reality, we had to reinvent the way we make dynamic microphones,” added John Born, Product Manager for the KSM8 who dedicated seven years to the microphone. “We knew the only way to bring the concept to life, was to set all pre-existing parts and template designs aside, and start from scratch. Since then, we’ve put over seven years of engineering and development into creating something we knew the industry needed, but had never seen. As a result, the introduction of the KSM8 brings an entirely new dynamic microphone element to the world.” The ability to virtually eliminate proximity effect and master off-axis rejection is powered by the KSM8’s patented Dualdyne cartridge that features two ultra-thin diaphragms - one active and one passive - and a groundbreaking inverted airflow system. The KSM8’s dent-resistant, hardened carbon-steel grille design lined with hydrophobic woven fabric provides exceptional plosive and wind protection, while offering virtually waterproof protection. The aluminium handle, which is available in a brushed nickel or black finish, completes the KSM8’s clean and sophisticated design aesthetic that is a seamless addition to any stage. A year on from the product’s launch, TPi spoke to Shure UK Pro Audio 72
Group Manager Tuomo Tolonen and Born. “We started this project knowing engineer’s job much easier. We have found this to be extremely successful that we could control the proximity effect with a second diaphragm in the in the corporate event market and broadcast market as well where a talent acoustics similar to what the KSM9 has, however implementing that in a may hold the microphone down by their chest yet the engineer still receives dynamic microphone had never been done before. We felt the next big warm and natural sound. It truly makes the engineer’s job easier with much problem to solve with dynamic microphones was consistency of sound less processing, regardless of who shows up behind the microphone.” during varying degrees of the artists mic technique. The challenge was how The Shure team spent around 3.5 years in advance development on the to physically fit a second diaphragm in a dynamic mic without breaking transducer element and another 3.5 years with the project team for tooling, everything. We ended up fitting it in however spent the next few years fixing shock mount, and external testing. “This was very much an industrial design everything we broke,” stated Born. and mechanical project. We had an acoustical recipe leaving advanced “By controlling the proximity effect, it allowed us to create a very flat development but now the challenge was how do we physically make it and high frequency response. We learned so much in the process of creating shock mount it up to the Shure standard. We developed an entirely new this transducer that this will likely add several production line devoted to this microphone new innovations in the dynamic microphone and new internal laser welding processing and category. The KSM8 Dualdyne has received three ultrasonic processing of the cartridge in order patents and although it is currently only used to make it a reality. Then we dropped over 1,000 in the KSM8 microphone we see the basis of microphone prototypes under test to pass our this cartridge being a staple in our portfolio for rigorous drop testing requirements. “By controlling the proximity decades just like the other successful Unidyne “The wired and wireless cartridge internal effect, it allowed us to create cartridges used in SM57 and SM58.” parts are identical, however you may see slight a very flat high frequency Tolonen added: “One of the challenges differences and transmission through the during early beta testing was that the KSM8 did transmitter versus a wired handle. We spent response.” not behave like other dynamic microphones. a significant amount of time fine-tuning the John Born, Once you step away from the processing and let pneumatic shock mount to perform under the microphone do the work it really makes the varying environmental conditions whether wired KSM8 Product Manager 73
or wireless.” Over 12 months after shipping began, the robust product is now known for being a versatile touring microphone, which is able to create a ‘natural mic experience’ for artists while being virtually undentable. “It’s not a surprise that microphones need to withstand a barrage of abuse when on stage as artists can sweat quite heavily and the mic will also be covered in various degrees of saliva…” Born explained. “We knew this was another aspect of design that could be improved upon generally and so far it’s proven to be correct. We have had a number of bands that decided to go to the KSM8 primarily for the reason that it was waterproof, but they also got a great sounding mic to go with it. Artists on IEMs have been very quick to comment on the KSM8 because the consistency in the artist’s ear mix and clarity of off axis rejection is so clean. You always get spill with mics but the cymbals should sound like cymbals.” The next major tradeshow in the entertainment technology calendar was Germany’s Prolight+Sound, where the KSM8 received a PIPA award. Tolonen said: “Receiving the PIPA award was a great moment for everyone who has worked on the KSM8. The amount of time and effort put into this mic was astonishing and it is very humbling to be recognised for this.” Throughout the summer, various artists used the KSM8, including the likes of British singer Izzy Bizu - who won the BBC Introducing Artist of the Year. Ben Allen, FOH Engineer for Izzy Bizu stated: “Simply put, that microphone is fantastic. I am truly gobsmacked. I didn’t have to EQ it at all, a gentle HPF and it was good to go! Well done to you all!” Also on the touring circuit with the KSM8 was Blossoms, one of the Northwest’s hottest indie exports. FOH mixer Chris Pearce commented: “The KSM8 sounds great! I use very little EQ on Tom’s vocal and I don’t have to pull the usual frequencies out. It’s also great when Tom sings off axis as there is no loss of tone or clarity because the polar pattern is so consistent.” Mumford & Sons’ FOH guru, Chris Pollard was also taken with the microphone, describing it as: “Really clean, flat response, smooth HF and the reduction in spill is quite amazing!” Most recently, Panic! At The Disco’s crew opted to use the KSM8 (the full tour story starts on Pg. 58). As products go, it would seem that this microphone is another great addition to the Shure legacy... TPi www.shure.com 74
Daniel Lamarre, CEO and president of Cirque du Soleil, live on-stage The Closing Keynote at ISE 2017
Attendees on the final day of ISE 2017 will have the opportunity to experience first-hand one of the worldâ€™s leading international business development executives. Daniel Lamarre, the President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil, will present the showâ€™s Closing Keynote speech on Friday 10 February 2017 at 9:00am. Daniel Lamarre will share his vision on how new technologies will have a huge impact on artistic content. For more information and registration, please visit www.iseurope.org
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JAKE VERNUM Lighting Director, Passenger
positioned on the rig each day. There was a substantial floor package incorporating more B-EYEs, more Vipers and multiple Martin VDO Sceptron units. The B-EYEs and Sceptrons were rigged horizontally across four vertical truss towers positioned upstage of the band’s risers. The system was controlled from an MA Lighting grandMA2 light console and incorporated a Green Hippo Karst media server to provide content across the upstage Sceptron and B-EYEs. The gear was supplied by Mike Oates at Lights Control Rigging and we were really lucky to have lots of brand new equipment. Critically, the system had to be scalable from large club to arena size venues across Europe. We played our biggest show at Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome and our smallest, Barcelona Razzmatazz, within a week of each other! I was extremely busy finishing off a hectic summer festival season in September so it was a challenge to fit the tour prep in, but on reflection, the care and attention myself and the production manager, Simon Kemp, paid at this stage really paid off when it came to moving through venues of such varying size day-to-day. This was a one truck, one tour bus operation, which meant we were very limited on space and there was only room for myself and one lighting technician, Jake Jevons, to rig and operate each day. It was a very busy day for me as I was operating the show as well as looking after the touring support act so there was very little downtime on show days. Thankfully the tour had a somewhat forgiving schedule which meant we had plenty of days off in lots of interesting places. If I was to choose my favourite show of the tour it would have to be Vicar Street in Dublin, which if you had asked me would we get the full rig into at first glance I would have given you a firm no. However although it took a little longer than our average load in, the rig went in and the two shows were really special, perhaps down to the magic of this compact but lovely venue and a few pints of Guinness. The first part of this world tour has gone really well for everybody. Passenger’s album beat Bruce Springsteen to number 1 the day before our third show which has kept everyone in high spirits and there has been a great sense of moral and camaraderie amongst the band and crew. As usual there have been good days and bad due to some of challenges mentioned above, not to mention having to take the entire rig up and down five flights of stairs in Prague! I’m really excited to be heading off around the rest of the world in the new year notwithstanding the challenges that making this design work in places like Asia and South America pose.
I joined the Passenger crew as Lighting Director in September 2016 after coming the attention of Okulus, the lighting and show designers, while working on Jack Garratt in autumn 2015. The Passenger campaign was kicking off with three weeks around Europe followed by a similar length UK tour and we continue around the rest of the world early in 2017 with Asia, Australia and America. It’s the first time Passenger star Mike Rosenberg has toured with a full band, having toured extensively as a solo artist until now. This presented somewhat of a blank canvas for show designers James Scott and Louis Oliver, who had previously designed the shows revolving around Mike as the only person on stage. Their design incorporated three flown trusses to hang Martin by Harman MAC Viper Profiles and Claypaky a.leda B-EYE K10’s as well as 90 custom made fabric drops that had to be individually
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DWR DISTRIBUTION IN SOUTH AFRICA DWR Distribution SA is setting up a charity organisation aimed at freelancers in the entertainment industry.
When freelancers fall ill, injure themselves or sometimes even pass away, it puts their families under immense pressure. With the slogan, it’s all about helping the people, DWR’s new charity hopes to do a lot of good by providing basic assistance. This could be in the form of helping to pay for school fees, covering rent or providing grocery hampers. Each case will be submitted to the charity where a board will decide who can be assisted and how. At the end of each year, DWR takes pleasure in giving its clients gifts. However, as 2016 came to a close, the company used the money to buy presents to kickstart the ‘SOS’ charity. It’s something the company is confident will make a difference to those that may find themselves in trouble when times are tough. DWR plans to initiate the charity by donating 150,000R (equivalent to over 10,000 USD) to the fund. “When DiGiCo’s Ian Staddon recently visited South Africa, he made us aware of a similar charity that runs in England, which DiGiCo supports,” said
Duncan Riley of DWR. “The people of South Africa are very generous and I believe we can do something as successful here. For technicians working for a company, there is often medical aid or some form of support. It’s so sad to hear when something tragic or unexpected happens to a freelancer and there’s no one else to help.” Exciting events are in the pipeline in the new year to raise funds for the project and the company hopes the industry will join in the fun as the charity hosts comedy evenings, go-karting races and golf days. A name for the charity will be announced soon but for the time being, meetings are in the process to create an independent board, made up from various rental companies, to ensure the charity works fairly in all of its decisions. Hard times can fall on anyone. When they do, it makes a difference to receive a friendly and helping hand. TPi http://dwrdistribution.co.za/ 78
media & entertainment technology trade show
SUN CIRCLE e x h i b i t i o n s
HIGH END SYSTEMS The Austin, Texas-based manufacturer once again demonstrated that it is ahead of the technology curve and ‘All LED’ at LDI 2016, unveiling three new high powered additions to its SolaRange family of fixtures. TPi’s Ste Durham spoke with High End Systems General Manager Jeff Pelzl to find out more.
Can you explain the genesis of the new fixtures and how they fit into both the HES inventory and the wider marketplace? SolaSpot Frame 2000 and SolaWash FX 2000 were first shown on the AED Distribution stand at the PLASA show, and along with SolaTheatre were introduced to the North American lighting community at LDI. Each of these fixtures offers a unique feature set to other lights in the upper end of our SolaRange line. The SolaTheatre is the first high-powered LED automated luminaire in the industry to offer fanless operation. With these latest innovations, High End Systems now has a fully realised family of LED-based automated lighting, with feature sets and output to excel in any type of entertainment lighting application.
We designed most of our fixtures to use white LED engines for true white with CMY colour mixing, just like people are used to utilising with discharge lamp type products. The benefits are amazing with LED - high light output, no lamp to change, low heat, low UV, the list goes on and on. Our LED products offer users significant cost savings in energy consumption, lamp replacement costs and labour / maintenance. The ‘No Lamp Revolution’ and ‘No Fan’ slogans were prominent at LDI - how do these relate to the SolaRange fixtures, and why was that show chosen for their introduction? Did you get much feedback from show attendees? All current High End Systems lighting products use LED technology. The ‘No Lamp’ informational graphics and slogans pretty much all apply to both our SolaRange and our FX line of fixtures. The largest barrier we are finding with an all LED line is when potential users first see our fixtures, they cannot believe an LED can achieve conventional lighting results. It’s also what is
How important is LED technology in future-proofing HES’s products? Do the new fixtures demonstrate any other related innovations? LED is extremely important to the future of High End Systems products. 80
HIGH END SYSTEMS
High End Systems introduced a new range of fixtures to the SolaRange family at LDI 2016.
different about LED that people have issues with. One example is that LEDs are relatively low heat, so fog and atmospherics adhere to the optics much easier than with the hotter discharge sources. We had to develop our patented lens defogger to address this issue. The slogans and graphics help people grasp the differences. Once users see the fixtures demonstrated in person, they understand what we’ve been up to, and why we made this paradigm shift in our philosophy. We had tremendous feedback at LDI on our family of LED products, as well as with our Hog line of lighting control consoles. Did the Hog Factor and resultant interaction with the next generation of LDs play any part in the development or R&D period? Not directly, but we do value the input we receive from lighting designers at all levels, and use that feedback in the creation of new products. The Hog Factor Competition is the first of its kind, and we’re very proud of the role we play in the
development of the next wave of designers. This year’s Hog Factor was a great success - with The Fauxtons from Webster University winning the competition - and our booth became the focal point of LDI during the contest.
“Each of these fixtures offers a unique feature set to other lights in the upper end of our SolaRange line...” Jeff Pelzl, General Manager, HES 81
In addition to these new SolaRange fixtures, High End also debuted the HEX and QUAD at LDI. What was the R&D process like for these fixtures? Did any major changes occur from the original spec? The original TIR lens concept was for a four or six array type product. It just looked so good as one, we decided on UNO also, and it debuted at the 2015 LDI show. With HEX and QUAD, we did make changes to the indigo backlighters to improve and enhance the look. Many people ask about those, but the concept is based on how popular Congo Blue is, and that colour is not very possible to create with an RGBW LED system. TPi www.highend.com
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A.C.T Lighting is pleased to announce the promotion of Chris Lamb to Director of Fixture Service and Support. Lamb assumes his new role after joining the company in a technical services capacity. “Chris has quickly demonstrated the ability to assume the responsibilities of his new position,” said Mario Collazo, Vice President, Technical Services. “His work consistently exemplifies all of our core values and he constantly helps us deliver the WOW that our customers expect. We very much look forward to Chris’ positive and energetic contribution in this leadership role.” As Director of Fixture Service and Support Lamb will liaise with manufacturers’ technical and R&D staffs on technical matters, maintain engineering records, supervise the fixture support team, conduct staff product training, manage the client fixture service training program and provide service and support to clients. “I enjoy supporting the top-of-the-line products that A.C.T Lighting distributes and helping customers solve issues and contribute to their shows or event success,” said Lamb. “I have a touring background, so I know first-hand the kinds of problems our customers deal with on a day-to-day basis and and how to best help when they arise.” Prior to joining A.C.T Lighting Lamb served as Head Electrician for Feld Entertainment from 2009 to 2015. CAST BlackTrax recruits Andrew Gordon as its new Director of Business Development to work exclusively on growing BlackTrax real-time motion tracking system, globally. Gordon brings over a decade of sales, marketing management and operations experience, and will be in charge of BlackTrax’s expanding business into new markets, increasing market share and presence in Entertainment and Production markets. He will also continue to maintain successful relationships with BlackTrax’s established customer base and growing technical expert and support teams. For every BlackTrax project, CAST experts are available for technical advice during set up and continued support.
This appointment could not have come at a more exciting time for the industry. BlackTrax has proved to be an incredibly reliable tracking system and has been used on an unprecedented scale and its potential is still being realised. In speaking about his philosophy and approach, Gordon enthused: “Being a part of this level of innovation where the possibilities and applications are endless, drives me. Efforts are being made to support BlackTrax and position it as the must-use entertainment production tool and to establish it as the only worldwide preferred tracking solution. BlackTrax today has been used in over 4,000 shows and counting and can’t wait to reveal where he will take it next. Watch this space.” Production Park announces the acquisition of consulting firm, AspectUnlimited and the integration of its media design workflow consultancy into the Production Park group of companies. The acquisition will merge AspectUnlimited’s specialities in previsualisation, technical and production workflow consulting for 3D media servers and lighting systems, with the electronics and automation skill sets of Brilliant Automation to create a new renamed group brand - Brilliant Technologies. Lee Brooks, Managing Director of Production Park, remarked: “Future productions will require an ever increasing technical integration of scenic, automation and visual technologies. Shannon Harvey and the team will be key to developing our capabilities in these areas.” Director of AspectUnlimited, Shannon Harvey will take on a new role as the Director of Technology for the Production Park group of companies including Brilliant Stages, Litestructures, and LS Live. Harvey will be advising on technical consulting and integration projects within the group and developing new products and services in support of greater integration of lighting and media design for productions and projects. Current plans involve the development of world class previsualisation suites at Production Park and the further development of a high technology rental catalogue to support video and automation integration. Harvey will continue to have an active role as the Course Leader for Backstage 82
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Opposite, clockwise from left: Andrew Gordon, CAST BlackTrax; Annalise Hodgson and Duncan Riley of DWR Distribution; Chris Lamb, A.C.T. Lighting; Lee Brooks and Shannon Harvey, Brilliant Technologies at Production Park. Below, from left: Frank “The Tank” Schotman, Elation Professional; Nick Venables, Trevor Jones, Tony Laurenson, Patrick Quilligan, and Bonnie May of Global Infusion Group; Simeon Ludwell, TW AUDiO.
Academy’s Live Visual Design and Production course splitting his time between the two roles. DWR Distribution take pleasure in announcing the appointment of Annalise Hodgson who will lend a helping hand to Duncan Riley as a muchneeded assistant. Hodgson joined DWR Distribution at the start of December: “I think my official title is Help-Him,” she smiled. “It’s a great team and I will find my feet, once I’ve done the filing. Thank you for this most amazing opportunity, I am so excited to be here.”
Duncan Riley has known Hodgson for a very long time. “It’s an honour and a privilege to have Annalise as part of our team. I wish her many happy years.” Elation Professional is pleased to announce that lighting industry veteran Frank Schotman (better known as “The Tank”) has joined the company’s European Sales Team as a technical sales representative and product specialist. The Tank is a well-known face in the lighting industry with over 25 years of experience under his belt. He comes to Elation from a position as Senior
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Frank ‘The Tank’ Schotman, Elation Professional; Arena Americas CEO, Paul Bryant; Simeon Ludwell, TW AUDiO.
Product Specialist at the AED Group, where he supported High End Systems’ HOG4 family, including its full range of fixtures. Frank possesses extensive knowledge of the Hog range of consoles, having worked for High End Systems for a number of years as a Product Support Specialist. He also worked for Eclipse Staging Services in Dubai as Head of Lighting and is a specialist in a wide range of automated fixtures. Frank also brings with him a wealth of front line experience from major tours and productions of all types. Elation plans to tap Frank’s vast product knowledge and industry experience to help identify opportunities and grow the company’s presence across Europe. The Focusrite Group today announced the appointment of Tim Carroll as Group Chief Executive Officer. Carroll will take over from Dave Froker, who retired at the end of December 2016. Taking up the appointment on January 3rd 2017, Carroll will lead the group through its next era of innovation and growth. In his most recent position, based in Berkeley, California, he was a Vice-President with global responsibility for Audio Products at Avid Technology. Following his appointment, Carroll will relocate to the UK, where he will be based at Focusrite’s High Wycombe headquarters. Commenting on the appointment, Executive Chairman Phil Dudderidge said: “I have known Tim for many years, and my colleagues and I are delighted to welcome him to Focusrite. Tim comes to us with 18 years audio industry experience, and is a widely respected figure in the music technology business. His mix of industry knowledge and senior management and sales experience made him the outstanding candidate, and we are so pleased he has agreed to join our company. We very much look forward to his leadership in the execution of our strategic growth ambitions. Commenting on his appointment, Carroll said: “It will be a privilege and honour to be joining Focusrite as Chief Executive. The Focusrite team has a tremendous passion for providing state-of-the-art solutions for musicians and audio engineers, and I share that vision.” Global Infusion Group (GIG), one of the UK’s leading catering, logistics and brand support companies, has announced three key new appointments to the business. Nick Venables has been appointed Head of Global Sport & Events with responsibility for business development, managing client relationships and project management. He will be working closely with Bonnie May, GIG’s Global Operations Director, to help build on success in the sports sector. Venables will provide project management and consultancy to major games’ Organising Committees (OC’s) and create new opportunities to increase GIGs services to a wide range of sporting and major events around the world. Previously Venables has worked at high-profile sporting events including the Olympic Games in Rio, London and Beijing, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BAKU 2015 European Games and at major UK horseracing occasions including Royal Ascot, Cheltenham Gold Cup and Aintree Grand National. Trevor Jones has joined GIG as Finance Director (FD). In his new role he will be working with Managing Director Tony Laurenson to develop the long term strategy of the business. Jones was previously FD at CH&Co where he helped grow the contract caterer’s business both organically and through
acquisition over the previous 10 years. Patrick Quilligan has been appointed Executive Chef following 10 years working for GIG in a freelance capacity. Quilligan has worked with many of London’s leading caterers and has catered events from dinner parties and festivals to major sporting occasions including the Olympic Games and Invictus Games. TW AUDiO opens UK distribution with Simeon Ludwell as Managing Director for TW AUDiO UK. Ludwell has worked with TW AUDiO through his work with TC Group assisting in projects and support for Lab.gruppen and Lake as well as education and training: “Having seen firsthand how TW AUDiO work with their customers, suppliers and staff and their progressive approach to loudspeaker systems, it felt like a natural step to be a part of a growing company whose outlook is aligned with my own. “What interested me in TW AUDiO was the fact that even though they are seen as a small player in the industry their products are outperforming many of the established brands and offering solutions for the man-in-thevan market through to stadia and large-scale performance systems at a very high quality. Their growth is testament to this attitude and performance. “TW AUDiO has been looking at expanding in the UK for quite some time now,” commented Managing Director Bernhard Wuestner. “Ludwell’s portfolio is a testament for his progressive insight into the market. He will contribute strategically to the company’s direction in regards to forming new and deepening existing customer relations. I am extremely pleased having been able to win Mr. Ludwell for this position and welcome him into the TW AUDiO team.” Arena Americas announces Paul Bryant as its CEO. Bryant has most recently been successful in the areas of business development and commercial growth initiatives as EVP and CCO of IEWC Corp, an employeeowned, Milwaukee-based global distributor of wire, cable and wire management products. Greg Lawless, Arena Groups CEO, commented: “Arena Americas continues to grow under Arena Group’s ownership and we remain committed to extending its broad offering of products and services to both new and existing clients across North America. I am excited about the future of this important division as Paul comes aboard to lead the business and I am confident that he will be a tremendous asset in driving the continued growth and success of the Arena Americas division.” Bryant will be based in Arena Americas Oak Creek office in Wisconsin and will begin on the 9th January 2017, reporting directly to Greg Lawless. Paul commented: “Arena Group has developed a strong reputation in the global events marketplace as the ‘go-to’ full-line, product and service solution provider. I am excited about the opportunity to lead an organisation that will focus its attention on the needs and expectations of its customers. Arena Americas will continue to support and target all of its resources to ensure the success of each of our client’s events. We have a strong experienced team who are dedicated to building upon our event successes and broadening our client base and product offering to maximise our capabilities in the areas of event production, in house design and manufacturing and product customisation to best meet the needs of every client we partner with.” www.tpimagazine.com/category/industry-jobs/ 84
PEARCE HIRE ARE RECRUITING!
Pearce Hire are a leading production and rental facility based in Peterborough. A 2017 TPi award nominated company, continual expansion means we are looking for enthusiastic, dynamic and experienced full-time personnel to join the team. All positions require an ability to integrate with the existing teams and a desire to succeed within an already motivated environment working to high standards.
HEAD OF INSTALLATIONS AND SALES
Pearce Hire are seeking an experienced warehouse manager. The successful candidate will need to be familiar with power, lighting, staging and audio disciplines in a warehouse environment and able to fulfil the following criteria: • Experience of running and organising a busy warehouse and team of staff. • Ensure quality control systems are adopted and implemented • Responsibility for equipment testing, inspections, storage, preparation and despatch • Maintenance and organisation of Warehouse internally and externally • Liaise with the Hire Manager and Project management team. • Liaise with customers, suppliers and transport companies. • Scheduling of deliveries, collections and truck logistics. • Responsibility for warehouse health and safety and safe working systems. • Ensure vehicles, plant machinery and stock are maintained to the required standard. • Overseeing purchasing of stock and equipment. • Liaise with workshop for equipment maintenance and repairs. • Use the Hire Track inventory control system • This role will be based on a 45-hour week but due to the nature of our business and subsequent workload these hours may vary with occasional weekend and evening work.
The purpose of this role will be to head up and expand our installations department. We are looking for someone who has experience and disciplines in the Electrical, Audio, lighting and AV installations along with venue servicing and testing. This will be primarily an office based job but at times will require a hands-on approach on site. You will be required to fulfil the following: • Have City and Guilds electrical installation qualifications to the 17th edition along with time served experience. • Provide installation and service quotations from customer specifications / plans • Completion of installation tenders and applications. • Provide sales quotations. • Procurement of installation materials, equipment and tools • Manage projects from conception to completion • Provide CAD drawings and compile installation data packs • Check and collate client electrical test results and NICEIC documentation • To be the NICEIC duty holder • Ability to demonstrate a high standard of installation skills. • Responsibility for sales of ex-hire, new and used equipment • This is an hourly paid position, rates are dependent on experience
EVENT POWER PROJECT MANAGERS We are looking for experienced Project Managers to work on a wide range of events from outdoor festivals to corporate shows. You will need to be skilled primarily in power, experience with lighting, staging and audio disciplines will be an advantage. The ideal candidate will be able to carry out the following tasks: • Manage projects from the initial contact, concept and quotation stages through to final invoicing. • Liaise with both clients and crew • Manage the projects on-site • Liaise with the Warehouse and Hire Manager with regards to equipment and transport logistics • Use the HireTrack inventory control system • IPAF, Forklift and First Aid qualification are advantageous • This role will be based on an average of a 48-hour week but due to the nature of our business will require weekend work and working away
ELECTRICIANS - (FULLTIME & FREELANCE) We are looking for experienced electricians to work on a wide range of events from outdoor festivals to corporate shows. You will need to be skilled in temporary power system installations, and have the following attributes: • Electrical installations qualifications to BS7161 (17th Edition) and BS7909 • Ability to fully test electrical installations to BS 7161 and complete test result sheets • Experience in temporary event power distribution systems • Experience in fixed electrical installation (Full time only) • Experience in the construction and testing of temporary distribution equipment and cabling systems. (Full time only) • Experience in the use and operation of generators • Ability to service generators would be advantageous but not a requirement • Experience of sound, lighting and AV installations would be advantageous but not a requirement • IPAF, Forklift and First Aid qualification are advantageous • Due to the nature of our business and workload, hours will be varied with weekend and unsocial hours to be expected.
Please send full CV stating which role(s) you are interested in to: Pearce Hire, FAO - Managing Director, Unit 8 Reynolds Industrial Park, Stevern Way, Peterborough, PE1 5EL, Or email: email@example.com
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE
#demandsafety I got upset a while back, it was a Saturday. Maybe my mood was exacerbated by travel fatigue, I’d only been back from the US for a day after three full-on days at the Event Safety Summit (see report elsewhere in this issue), listening, learning, getting inspired. Therefore Saturday night was reserved for some serious horizontal time on the sofa, culminating in a little dual-screening with Match of the Day on TV and Facebook on the iPad, ready for a little light goading of fans whose teams hadn’t done so well that day - sorry, a terrible trait, I must stop. Then the news appears, a shared post about a fire at a gig, people have died unnecessarily. That upsets me.
Smacked in the face with a lump of irony after three days of nodding in violent agreement with a room full of like minded folks, it reminds me of the first day’s keynote and the importance of recognising that we’re preaching to the choir, that the people that really need to hear are not in the building (Rock Lititz in this case - find a reason to go, it’s unreal). At the tail end of the conference, in the airport over a pre-flight beer, it’s pointed out that, after all the talk of big crowds, big events, the potential for big things to make big news; it’s actually fires in small venues that have killed way too many people recently. Who on earth would want to be proven right so soon, so tragically? While my esteemed friend was saying it, the show was loading in to a venue that had already been served notices, a venue with pallets used as a makeshift staircase to the first floor performance area. FFS, OMG, WTF, as they say in characterlimited forums. The organisers of the Event Safety Summit, the Event Safety Alliance, are a relatively new organisation that has very rapidly found its feet, defined its mission and gathered followers. That said, after an extremely well-attended conference, the group of presenters and members of the board (yours truly included, as director of mistakes already made) got more than a little agitated and engaged in a robust exchange of transatlantic, inward looking emails. And it all comes back to the people that should know better, and how to reach them. The answer lies, in part, with you - the readers, the workers, the people who work in venues that get it and venues that don’t. Over 10,000 people passed their Safety Passport course before the London 2012 Olympics, that’s a lot of people that know that they should be made aware of emergency procedures, that they should be taking note of where exits are, that they should be asking questions if they’re blocked or poorly
signposted. I was on a course in a theatre a few years ago, the first thing the trainer said was “Go to the nearest fire extinguisher”. People struggled – it was a pyrotechnic safety course...must do better. I feel a little campaign coming on, we need to make it OK to ask questions. Sure, I know some really safety conscious people who hardly get any work so we can’t ask everyone to come over all Bob Crowe and stage walkouts, that would be a tad too extreme BUT what if your colleagues at the Great White show in Long Beach, or those at Collectiv in Bucharest had questioned the use of pyro in such a small space? What if a point blank refusal to enter a building that already had fire safety violations had stopped the show in Oakland? That’s the other extreme, losing a gig or staying alive. Somewhere in the middle of that is a way to spread a message that has obviously not reached far enough, to raise awareness, to drive up standards, to impart wisdom...to DEMAND SAFETY. Don’t expect it, demand it. It simply isn’t right that people should be expected to work in venues with varying levels of safety, nor is it right that those that understand should simply meet and agree that others really should do better. This is about asking the simple questions, asking why it isn’t apparent that the most basic requirements have been met. It’s your duty to work safely, it’s their duty to provide a safe workplace. Demand Safety will be the campaign, it started yesterday with the approval of the Safety Advisers Group for Entertainment (SAGE). Many members of that group work in venues, good venues, safe venues, compliant venues. They’re willing to spread the word via posters with simple questions: Have you had a site induction? Do you know emergency procedures? Are the fire escapes clear? And if the answer is no, ask why not. Where’s catering? Yes, seriously, because if you’re not afraid to ask that, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask those life safety critical questions. 86
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE
You may ask why these well resourced venues with in-house safety people would feel the need to have posters encouraging people to ask questions that they’ve already answered. Well, should you need to be availed of the obvious; they’re keen to have people ask the questions in venues that aren’t quite as safety conscious. We’re a highly mobile industry – we need people to carry the message, to take the mission on tour. I did a little test in a London Underground station recently because I had a genuine concern. I got off a train and followed the ‘way out’ signs. There was some building work at the station so there were a few temporary signs. At one point, there were choices to make, but none of them were signed as the way out, they simply had directions to other lines. I paused then found my way, no panic. However, introduce panic and you have a different story; introduce rush hour and you have a blockage cause by people pausing, looking for direction. A tiny thing but I wanted to see how they reacted.
Finding the station supervisor took 30 seconds, explaining my concern took 60 seconds, they were on it and setting off for a walk through straight away. I made no demands; I simply asked the question because I demand safety. Of course, the 1987 fire at Kings Cross sharpened the focus of London Underground. They learned, they acted and they’re still sharp. The Station in Rhode Island was 2003, Collectiv was last year, Ghost Ship was last week. Organised by idiots, operated by professionals, not quite the right message for the campaign t-shirt. If we were keeping score, we’ve beaten London Underground in the first half after they got into an early lead and their fans are leaving the ground. That’s nothing to sing about. Ask questions, demand safety, leave safely. We don’t want people thinking gigs are not safe places, that’s not good for anyone. TPi www.psa.org.uk
Each month we intend to highlight services that some people may find useful in support of, well, themselves. This month we’re highlighting the wonderful people at the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), an award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. In 2015, 75% of all UK suicides were male. They offer support to men in the UK, of any age, who are down or in crisis via their helpline, webchat and website. www.thecalmzone.net
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OLA MELZIG Technical Director, Eurovision Song Contest How did you initially become involved in the industry? “It all started in early 1990 when I moved from Malmö to Stockholm with my then girlfriend, whose brother worked as a stage hand for EMA Telstar, the largest concert producer in Scandinavia at the time. My first job was loading-out for Iggy Pop and then for Scorpions - I was so star-struck! I immediately knew that this was what I wanted to do. After that, I worked as a production runner, forklift driver, backline tech, lighting designer and even in catering, eventually gravitating towards project management. I was heading up the project management department at a company called Spectra when I got the call to do Eurovision in 2000!”
seven hours of absolutely world-class television.” Do you still manage to get out on the road? “Not much, though I still make the time to tour with a Swedish band called Teddybears - just give them a listen on Spotify and I’m sure you’ll recognise them! It’s a wonderful and chaotic band that requires you to be on the tips of your toes 100% of the time. The whole process is so organic and creative and you never know what’s going to happen. During my first Eurovision I realised that I have to do little shows with smaller budgets and venues in order to appreciate the big ones, and vice versa. I think that’s a very good mantra to live by always remember where you started.” When do you feel most like yourself in terms of the jobs you work on? “I think I’ll always feel like the guy who loves rolling flight cases. I don’t want to be stuck in an office, I want to be where the action is and be part of the team. I go a long way to make sure my guys know that, and I think it’s very important in terms of generating respect between my crew and myself. I’m not a fan of screaming and shouting and that comes from growing up in this industry and having role models in tour or production management. I have always tried to learn from people and steal some of the style in how they do things, and that hasn’t changed to this day.”
What have been some of the best learning experiences so far in your career? “I started my education from that first Iggy Pop gig and I haven’t stopped since! In terms of specific milestones, the main one has to be my very first Eurovision. That’s the show that took me into the big leagues and I’m 100% sure that I wouldn’t be where I am today without having done it.” How important is Eurovision to you, and to the international live industry itself? “Eurovision has been the forerunner for our industry in so many ways. We were the first ones to use wireless automation and Catalyst, and one of the first to experiment with LED floors and projection mapped sets. Eurovision is allowed the time and money to be curious and strive to do the unexpected - the easiest way to do that is with new technology. “In 2016 we managed to gather pretty much the same team as three years earlier in Malmö, which really gave us the confidence to kick some serious ass and outdo everything that had come before it. The whole team worked so hard and it resulted in
Where can you be found when you get a chance to hang up your walkie-talkie? “I am extremely good at having a holiday - I could be a professional. My happy place is at home, either in Sweden or the US. Hanging out with the kids by the pool and then cooking outside in the evening is hard to beat. My wife Joan and I are both big foodies and when you travel as much as I do, it becomes a luxury to cook your own meal.” 90
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