TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL LIVE EVENT DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY • MARCH 2019 • ISSUE 235
POST MALONE Reshaping touring conventions with no sign of slowing down
WORKED SO HARD, FORGOT HOW TO VACATION...
SNOW PATROL • SLASH FT MYLES KENNEDY & THE CONSPIRATORS • THE 1975 • JACOB COLLIER HOZIER • BEN HOWARD • ROCK THE BALLET X • TPi AWARDS 2019 WINNERS • ADLIB: IN PROFILE
MARCH 2019 #235
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TO NEW CHAPTERS... For yet another year, the TPi editorial team swapped its grubby band t-shirts for gladrags thanks to the TPi Awards. This year, we are proud to announce that the event broke our attendance record with 1,609 industry insiders descending on Battersea Evolution in London. We’d like to send a huge congratulations to the winners who can be seen on pg. 36. As well as prepping for the annual showcase, we have been busy catching some of this year’s most anticipated arena tours. Jacob caught up with The 1975’s hometown show [pg. 82], while I got to witness Snow Patrol’s return to the stage after a seven year hiatus [pg. 58]. Not to mention getting the chance to meet the legendary crew from Slash’s latest UK run [pg. 70] – it’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it. Finally, a special mention has to be given to this issue’s cover star - Post Malone. Not only did the artist have one of the most hospitable crews imaginable, but both Jacob and I were really impressed with the ambitious production of beerbongs & bentleys’ European run. We had read many reviews discussing Post’s indistinguishable genre categorisation but standing in Manchester Arena with metal heads on one side and hip-hop fans on the other – it was evident that we were witnessing a 21st Century cultural movement that everyone, it seemed, could get behind. Don’t believe me? Turn to pg. 38 to see for yourself. With our March issue done and dusted we are now setting our sights on Prolight+Sound 2019 for our annual family holiday to Frankfurt, Germany. I’m sure we’ll see a lot of you there. Stew Hume Acting Editor
ACTING EDITOR Stew Hume Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8385 Mobile: +44 (0)7702 054344 e-mail: email@example.com STAFF WRITER Jacob Waite Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8385 Mobile: +44 (0)7592 679612 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE Lauren Dyson Tel: +44 (0)161 476 9119 Mobile: +44 (0)7415 773639 e-mail: email@example.com ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE Lyndsey Hopwood Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7800 557094 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR Hannah Eakins Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7760 485230 e-mail: email@example.com CHIEF EXECUTIVE Justin Gawne Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7768 850767 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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MONDIALE GROUP CHAIRMAN Damian Walsh COVER Post Malone by Filmawi, www.filmawi.com PRINTED BY Buxton Press • www.buxpress.co.uk Issue 235 - March 2019 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
TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL is a controlled circulation magazine, published 12 times a year by Mondiale Publishing Limited under licence. ISSN 1461-3786 Copyright © 2019 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 2019 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
Jacob Collier The jazz musician receives a new touring audio infrastructure. 12 Rock the Ballet X Woodroffe Bassett Design joins forces for the innovative dance show. 16 Serbian Music Awards Ceremony Skymusic selects Visionlite to create outstanding automation. 20 Hozier CODA Audio PA boosts the singer’s tour. 24 FKJ @ The Roundhouse French artist collaborates with Production Designer, Stu Dingley. 28 Ben Howard DiGiCo mixes the folk singer’s latest live offering. 32 ArenaCross 2019 AX Tour HSL rides with the motocross show. 36 TPi Awards 2019 And the winners are...
PRODUCTION PROFILE 38 Post Malone Stew and Jacob witness the genre melding live production. 58 Snow Patrol The band makes a welcome return to UK Arenas - with familiar faces in tow. 70 Slash and The Conspirators The legendary guitarist and crew shred their way through Europe. 82 The 1975 Jacob meets the crew at the band’s raucous hometown arena show.
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IN PROFILE 106 Adlib unveils its state of the art facility.
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122 Tupac Martir, Satore Studio, laces up for the London Landmarks Half Marathon.
ROAD DIARIES 124 Ali Pike talks life on the road with Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls.
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE 126 The TPi Business Leaders Survey.
130 The latest movers and shakers.
BACK CHAT 138 TPi Awards Outstanding Contribution winner, Paul Hartley, takes the hot seat.
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JACOB COLLIER The GRAMMY Award-winning musician updates his live set up with the help of long-time engineer, Ben Bloomberg.
Making his start by uploading YouTube videos in 2011, the young Jacob Collier caught attention of non-other than Quincy Jones. After signing to the famed music producers’ management company, Collier has gone from strength to strength, scooping two GRAMMYs, releasing two albums and becoming a force to be reckoned with as a live performer. Since 2015, Collier and Ben Bloomberg, a PhD student from MIT Media Lab, have become a live tour-de-force. After seeing his videos online, Bloomberg put himself forward to produce a one-man-show unlike another with custom vocal harmonisers, and instruments. With a new album, Djesse Vol. 1, Collier set our on a new tour with a whole new live set up in collaboration with Bloomberg. “This latest tour covers the world of Jacob’s newest album with some favourites from In My Room as well,” began Bloomberg. “For the first time, Jacob is touring with a band which includes Rob Mularkey on bass (and among a litany of instruments), Christian Euman on drums and Maro Secca singing, playing guitar, keys, harmoniser, percussion.” Moving away from the one-man-band concept of prior tours, Bloomberg explained how the team has upscaled in recent years. “Previously Jacob stood in a circle of 14 instruments, playing and looping them all. Now we have four people on stage playing almost that many instruments each,” stated Bloomberg. “The setup has become increasingly
complex and this puts a huge demand on the audio team. We’ve added a monitor engineer to help manage the increased responsibility along with our own mics, wireless and desks to maintain some consistency.” For this run, both the band and crew wanted to avoid playback and click tracks for the audience to experience the talent of all four musicians. For Collier’s latest album, he employed the services of The Metropole Orkest, which presented an interesting challenge to recreate some of tracks live. “This requires everyone to have access to a staggering number of sounds and textures in quick succession,” explained Bloomberg. He furthered: “We achieved this with two complementary technical goals. First was to make all the technology needed for the performance run on a single laptop. This helped to lower costs, but also meant we could provide complete redundancy for the whole rig by adding a backup laptop. Second, we wanted a system that would work with both Dante and MADI based mixing desks, as these are the most commonly found digital audio protocols.” At the core of Collier’s live set up was a range of Focusrite products which the audio department would be “stuck without,” according Bloomberg. He continued: “The Rednet The D64R Dante to MADI conversion allows us to replicate our computer IO flexibly to both desks with essentially zero latency. This is critical because we are looping for parts of 08
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the show and any sort of round-trip latency can cause a groove to fall apart with many iterations of overdubbing. Rather than running the primary laptop on Dante Virtual Soundcard, we use the Focusrite Red 16Line again because of its extremely low latency and native thunderbolt 3 interface. Bloomberg also gave praise to two Novation SL MkIII controllers used by Secca (with a third used by Collier) who has a set of patches that she recalls throughout the show which change properties of everyone else’s sounds as well as her own. “Christian and Rob have a set of secondary patches on their controllers as well to allow them to jump around and improvise, but Maro’s patches will handle things like transpositions or enable side chain signal paths between Christian and others.” It’s also worth mentioning a unique part of Sacca’s patches which include MIDI from a selection of Roland SPD-SX drum pads which are manipulated, based on her patch using a MainStage scripting node and
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ROCK THE BALLET X Collien Konzert & Theater’s famed production celebrates a decade on-stage by creating a fresh new touring production with the aid of Woodroffe Bassett Design’s Roland Greil.
When the name Woodroffe Bassett Design graces TPi’s pages, it’s usually to discuss one of its latest ventures in the world of live concert touring - working with the likes of Phil Collins, Adele and The Rolling Stones in recent years. However, this month the creative powerhouse discusses its latest collaboration with German production, Rock The Ballet X. With the goal of breaking the traditional conventions, the show, for over 10 years has produced rousing show experiences to bring a new generation of faces into the world of dance. “It’s something completely different from our usual rock concerts,” began Lighting Designer, Roland Greil. “It was a really interesting project to work on and a case study of the kind of show you can produce when you have a great team.” This was not the first time that Woodroffe Bassett Design had crossed
paths with the dance company, having helped produced their production of Romeo and Juliet back in 2013. Just like that production, Rock the Ballet is not your traditional dance show. “It’s a mixture of ballet, martial arts along with modern and contemporary dance,” explained Greil. “All the dancers in the company are classically trained but moved into this more contemporary field.” The music in Rock the Ballet X consisted of modern rock and pop tracks along with some gems from the past such as Symphony for the Devil by The Rolling Stones and Rocket Man by Elton John [coincidently two acts that Woodroffe Bassett as history with]. Joining forces with Director and Choreographer, Adrienne Caterna, Greil and his long time right hand man, Lighting Programmer Luke Radin, started on this “incredibly collaborative process”. Greil elaborated: “The company already had some ideas from previous shows they wanted to pay 12
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homage to in this tenth anniversary along with some songs they wanted to be included in the production. But on the whole they were very open minded to our ideas.” One of Greil’s main concerns with the show design was to have a set, which could change for different tracks. “We ended up utilising quite a simple illusion with 10 Robe StageBanner 50ATs.” These were laid out upstage, each one supporting a panel which was black one side with a projection surface on the other.” These double-sided panels were controlled from FOH, meaning the show designer could opt whether to have video content on the panels or turned to black to create stronger lighting looks. “Along with those two looks we could also turn the panels 90° to reveal our large upstage matrix of 45 LED Pars. I was very happy with what we were able to produce with the panels, giving us the ability to radically change the stage set for each performance.” The main workhorse fixture on Greil’s lighting spec was 67 Claypaky Scenius Unicos all of which were provided by lighting supplier, Showconcept. “We opted to have one main fixture on this one and the Scenius Unicos was the natural choice. They are versatile enough to be a great wash light, as well as providing a good spot and beam functionality. Also on the lighting rig was a Robert Juliat Aramis. “It depends on the track, but ultimately we have three different ways to light the performers,” commented Greil. “The first is the classic side
light which we achieved with four rows of 3 Unicos on each side of the stage. This look is usually achieved with ETC Source Fours, but we opted to use the Unicos in this position as it gave us more options in terms of colours and looks. We also had an advanced truss which held 9 Unicos for some key lighting. Then finally we had the Aramis spot out front.” For control, the production opted for an MA Lighting grandMA2. “It was the natural choice as myself, my programmer Luke Radin and the show’s Lighting Director, Tanja Arends console of choice is MA. It meant we all spoke the same language when it came to produce this show in a very short time scale.” Collectively, the LD explained how the show was put together in two and a half days. “It was certainly a quick turn around and I think we ended up with 550 cues for the whole show. I have to take my hat of to Luke, my programmer who was integral in helping bring this show into reality. Also Tanja the director who has now taken the show on the road picked up this design very quickly.” After its debut in Hamberg, the ballet toured through Europe finishing this current run in regions throughout France till the end of February 2019. TPi Photos: Manfred H. Bird www.rock-the-ballet.de www.woodroffebassett.com 14
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SKYMUSIC SELECTS VISIONLITE FOR SERBIA’S MAC AWARDS Amsterdam-based staging automation specialist provides technology and hardware to the Music Award Ceremony (MAC) sponsored by Huawei and organised by native Sky Music Corporation (Skymusic) at Štark Arena in Belgrade, Serbia.
An evening that was dedicated to recognising artists from Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia, the MAC Awards Ceremony certainly didn’t hold back in its production values. Featuring musicians such as Zeljko Joksimovic, Stjepan Hauser (2Cellos), Marija Serifovic, Toni Cetinski, Van Gogh, Karolina Goceva, Plavi Orkestar, Emina Jahovic, along with many other European personalities, the event held on 29 January involved a staging set up that truly begged belief with a jaw dropping level of automation. Milenko Skaric Chief Executive Officer of Skymusic picked up the story: “From the first moment, the audience could see that this involved a high level of production. Our aim was to make it just like as memorable as other awards ceremonies held in London or New York, as opposed to the not-so traditional backdrop of Belgrade, Serbia. The event featured a lot of
cutting-edge technologies melded with also a lot of art and local culture in the show.” Brought in to handle all the automotive elements of the show were Visionlite. “The collaboration of music, automation, staging to start, was immersive as soon as you walked into the venue. There was no doubt about it on paper let alone during setup that the designer wanted it big and jaw-dropping,” Visionlite’s Blake McNally reflected. The spectacle presented the latest trends in concert technical production, scenography, audio and video technology, mobile displays and an innovative lighting concept. Visionlite supplied its VL Stage lift, in combination with the latest Kinesys Apex system to fly over 1,000m2 of LED screens sized in large box-shapes. Skaric said: “This was by far the largest rig in the Belgrade arena I’ve 16
ever seen. We had to build complete sub rig and to make sure we fulfil all to a regular performances with no room for mistakes. We need to make the standards to use all the moving screens above the audience. More than sure that the cameras, video and lighting teams are working perfectly with 400 motor hoists and 2km of truss was used in order to rig this equipment. each other. Artists at times may improvise so we have to be prepared for all To make it happen, we simply had to build somewhat of a small ‘truss city’ scenarios no matter how many rehearsals we had.” above everything.” McNally added: “We all worked well under this pressure of the live Automation was controlled via a Kinesys K2 while a local SIL3 broadcast. I think the combination of all teams working well together. controller, developed by Visionlite, which manned Our collective focus really showed during the the stage lift. McNally remarked: “All automation TV broadcast and the stress of being live was elements acted as a sweetener to all of the insane forgotten,” he exclaimed adding, “Bring on 2020!” design by Milenko. It all worked really well together Skaric concluded: “It was a great challenge and and was truly impressive.” without doubt, the greatest show we have ever Over 850 moving and LED lights created big done. We are proud of what we achieved, and all “Our aim was to make it just looks, controlled by an MA Lighting grandMA2 to our team can’t wait for the 2020 MAC Awards!” like as memorable as other operate lights and powered by Avolites Ai media TPi servers. Photos courtesy of Skymusic. awards ceremonies held in With such an expansive rig, the show didn’t www.musicawardsceremony.com London or New York.” come without its fair share of challenges. Skaric www.visionlite.eu commented: “Live broadcasts are totally different www.sky-corporation.rs Milenko Skaric, Skymusic CEO. 18
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NO MOMENTS SILENCE FOR ADLIB WITH HOZIER UK rental and production specialist Adlib continued its excellent working relationship with the Irish singer-songwriter, Hozier, and the equally skilled and accomplished production team led by Sue ‘Duchess’ Iredale.
The Liverpool-based company supplied sound and lighting equipment plus crew for the band’s recent UK and European tour, with a CODA Audio sound system specified by FOH Engineer, Steve “Patto” Pattison, and the realisation of an eye-catching and inventive lighting design created by Steven Douglas. Patto joined the Hozier team mid-way through 2018 shortly after completing the Freedom Child world tour with Irish trio, The Script. Hozier’s Nina Cried Power EP dropped almost immediately and with a new (second) studio album anticipated in the spring, the touring schedule started apace and continues worldwide throughout 2019. Patto chose a CODA Audio AiRAY system for the UK and Europe sections, after having an “amazing” experience with it on The Script tour. As a powerful and highly versatile speaker system for its compact size, which can be flown or ground stacked in different configurations that sound equally good and bringing a continuity to the wide range of venues on the itinerary. “It sounds great in a 1,200-seat theatre and a 15,000-capacity arena,” enthused Patto. “One box covers all applications.” The flexibility of going with CODA Audio meant the crew could use the same box and have the same rich sound with all its luscious detail dealing with the daily variations by using different quantities and rigging set ups. In the largest format the
crew used 16 boxes a-side. For Patto, the “devil is in the detail” of the fill coverage, and to this end, he used one of his signature techniques. A small centre hang of between three and six CODA Audio TiRAYs hung from the front lighting truss to cover the area around three rows back from the front. “Those standing in that area, the little ‘D’ shaped section just back from the front, always get a raw deal. In most venues any PA system will struggle to hit them depending on rigging points, sightlines, etc. While the lip fills will only ever hit the front row. Their ticket cost the same so we should give them the same experience.” He commented that the TiRAY speaker was “so tiny and light that it was completely unobtrusive on the truss but had a huge impact in terms of enhancing the audience experience”. For standard stage fills Patto used CODA Audio APS (arrayable point source) speakers sat above the subs to fill out the corners, and HOPS (high output point source) as the lip fills along the front of the stage. They toured both SC2-Fs (dual 15 inch) and SCP-F subs, with two or three of each per side in the standard set up and several variations according to the shape and size of the room. The SC2-Fs were often used when the AiRAY was ground stacked as they provided a solid and secure platform on which to rig the AiRAY cabinets at the correct height as well 20
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as reinforcing the low end. These were not always needed in some rooms simply because the low-end response of the AiRAY is so good. Patto is clearly loving mixing the band and with 54 channels of “real” input – 8 people onstage who all sing and play instruments and not even a whiff of a backing track coming into his Allen & Heath dLive S7000 console. In the set, the song To Be Alone starts with a guitar riff where Hozier engaged in a call-and-response routine with the audience. When the drums finally kick in, Patto sneaks in the console’s onboard sub harmonic synth, which has a shock reaction as the audience reel back by the sheer physical impact of it through the CODA Audio hitting them in the chest. Patto quipped it “was handy for keeping within the noise restrictions of some venues where the measurements are averaged out over time. It gave me a chance to really see what I could get out of such a small box, stretching its legs while being nowhere near to pushing its limits.” Patto has been using the dLive S7000 for the last couple of years, since it was launched, and also mixed The Script with one. He utilised plenty of vocal FX at strategic points and reverb treatments, plus more radical effects such as Leslie cabinets and distortion - all of which are onboard the S7000 - so the nuances and subtleties are at Patto’s fingertips on the console. “It sounds great and I’m completely self-
contained, you wouldn’t believe the number of engineers who come up to me after the show asking what outboard and plugins I’m using and then there’s the look on their face when I tell them none, it’s all onboard.” Working alongside him on this leg of the tour were a “fantastic” Adlib crew of Alan Harrison, a veteran of many arena tours who fine-tuned the system each day, and Max Taylor, who took care of all things onstage. Hozier’s Monitor Engineer is Darren Dunphy used a PM7D console free of external plugins. The band were all on IEMs. Adlib supplied a Shure PSM system, with a thumper seat for the drummer with a clean stage. Hozier switched from a wired to wireless mic half way through the American leg so he could move around more freely, migrating from a standard Beta 58 to a Shure Axient Digital, which proved to be rock solid. “It’s one of the best radio systems I’ve heard at relaying detail, it’s all there even the small print” stated Patto, adding that he’s loving working with everyone. “A fantastic team of people – there’s a great vibe on the tour and a massive buzz surrounding it – what more can you ask for?” TPi Photos: Steven Douglas & Steve Sroka www.hozier.com www.adlib.co.uk
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FKJ @ THE ROUNDHOUSE Production Designer Stu Dingley creates a multimedia masterpiece with projection and lighting for multi-instrumentalist, French Kiwi Juice (FKJ).
Known for his elegant loungy music and funky visuals, French musician FKJ self-titled debut album French Kiwi Juice released in 2017 soon racked up millions Spotify plays and sold out shows across the globe. For his latest Roundhouse performance in London he joined forces with Production Designer, Stu Dingley, who fused projection and lighting to generate a show full of shadows and silhouettes to balance artfully in juxtaposition with the video content. In the initial chats between Vincent Fenton, (aka FKJ) and Dingley at the start of the design process, video content was always a priority. As a keen videographer with terabytes of content available, FKJ really wanted to have certain elements streamed within his performance. To showcase the content, Dingley opted to utilise some tasteful projection. Dingley sourced a selection of fabrics from ShowTex which were sent to LA where they built scale models and looked at how the projected images appeared. These were recorded and sent to FKJ – who was in Asia at the time – for approval, and from this they chose the best fabric for
the application. The designer opted for ShowTex transparent silk drapes downstage for the main projections. Dingley reflected: “We wanted to stay away from white material as the concept was the screens appear and disappear in the dark without being noticed. We tried some metallic holo gauze type stuff, but it was very fragile and wouldn’t have lasted a tour especially being rolled up and deployed at speed. We ended up settling on their Voile CS fabric. It was the perfect balance between transparency and reflectiveness.” He went on to praise the projection surface. “ShowTex have been superb with helping us on this project. They sent us a handful of different materials out to LA and we built some scale models to test with an office projector and some art mannequins. The drapes were controlled by three 10ft Wahlberg Mini Roll Down rollers via DMX automation. “The rollers are an absolutely fantastic product. We built a custom profile for them on the MA2, each day you set the physical high and low holding flash buttons for a couple of seconds and
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update any position presets in-between. They weigh virtually nothing and it’s a nice surprise dropping them in for the chaotic city show intro content.” A pair of Barco UDX-W32K projectors were located at FOH. “They are a killer bit of kit. Super bright, nice blacks and although relatively weighty, they stack really nicely in their frames. We also programmed in their ‘shutters’ (which apparently means turning off the laser now) to allow total darkness when they are not outputting.” Four Marshall Compact mini cameras were dotted around the stage. Playback footage along with IMAG was fed via 2 Green Hippo Boreal media servers. “The cameras can feel a like a bit of cheap gag if you overuse them, but it was important to show Vincent’s hands at the piano as the die-hard fans want to see this. We also threw some Notch-esque Green Hippo effects onto the cameras for certain solos to overlay into the content. We had to drive the brightness and contrast most of the time as we were projecting everything onto black fabric.” A custom clear acrylic upright piano housed 6 ROE MC17 panels built into a custom perspex piano in place of the strings which displayed content synced to timecode with effects linked to the music. Robe MegaPointes were positioned behind the piano. Dingley explained: “The content lads ran with some great ideas of their own such as playing in the piano notes of a solo into After Effects on their computer keyboards and generating content to line up with the keys of the piano. When Vincent plays a solo, a particle fires up the wall in line with that note. We can then add a base colour to the wall to act as a light source to throw light onto Vincent. We can then compliment this with the MegaPointe behind the piano too.” Dingley talked TPi through the ways in which he ensured the lighting didn’t affect the projected image. “As a rule of thumb, we didn’t shine lights at the screen while video was running. The most powerful effect was a combination of the two. For example, the cameras showing Vincent
the black and white on the sides, and a US spot in white providing his silhouette in the middle. We then balanced the output of the mega pointes to match. We avoid any in-house lighting to keep the show the same over the run. The encore is a 10-minute jam, so we lose the screens completely and throw light around in a conventional gig sense!” To illuminate the space, Dingley specified 11 GLP impression X4 Bar 20s, 5 Robe MegaPointes, 4 Martin by Harman MAC Auras. The Megapointes were arranged in an upstage row spanning around 30ft. Supplying all the lighting and video elements for the show was PRG with the show being looked after Lighting Director Will Smith. The Director used an MA Lighting grandMA2 light to run the lighting and media servers. Dingley commented: “Will was an integral part of the team. He has an in-depth knowledge of all the kit and has done a fantastic job keeping the show running on the road.” He added: “We have 4 layers patched in the MA and 4 layers running to code on the server. All the video is on its own timeline in the Green Hippo, but the console can force stuff over the top. A lot of the console input is for camera control. For example, in a jam section, we can toggle cameras depending on which instrument he picks up. Then store any attributes to that button.” Also joining the artist throughout the tour was Production Manager Liam Clifford, Ableton Playback Engineer, Tom Cooksey, FOH Engineer Antoine Guest and FKJ’s Manager, Kate Cudbertson. With a successful European run, the multi-instrumentalist now has his sights set on America with a full US tour beginning in April. TPi Photos: Kristen Dania www.frenchkiwijuice.com www.studingley.com www.prg.com www.showtex.com 26
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BEN HOWARD CREATES ART WITH DIGICO The London-born singer-songwriter hits the road with FOH Engineer, Andy Magee and Monitor Engineer, Niccolo Antonietti both working exclusively from DiGiCo SD5 consoles.
“It’s very much art: 70-minutes of non-stop music, which is never the same twice,” began Ben Howard’s FOH Engineer, Andy Magee. “We’re all on our toes, watching each other do something a bit different every day.” Both Magee and Monitor Engineer Niccolo Antonietti work hard to recreate Howard’s album with as much authenticity as possible, night after night. “We have over 85 guitar pedals on stage, which means so many inputs, as numerous players have pedal boards; in one song, a musician might play violin, then switch to keyboards, then something else – so I might have two or three instruments down the same channel during the same song,” Magee laughed. “The band is a nine-piece now, and three of them are multi-instrumentalists. Safe to say, there is a lot going on and, although I’ve been mixing this show since April last year, there are still bits that I am not
100%ncertain where they are coming from.” There are 88 channels being utilised on both consoles, and Magee is hands-on throughout. “I have four fingers on four faders at the same time, as there are just so many parts to the songs, and squeezing that into a leftright PA is very tough. My hands are constantly moving,” he revealed. “I use snapshots for every song to get Ben to the top of the song; and then everything is mixed live throughout that song. On top of that, different channels have different crossfade times and groups, as half the band might still be playing song three when the other half are already into song four. The hard thing is that the crossfades have to flow between the two, and if we have a late setlist change, I have to go through all the snapshots quickly, and make sure things like drum pads aren’t going to come in out of nowhere.” 28
Magee used his first DiGiCo console - a D5 - in 2006 which he worked on for years before moving to the SD7. Then he finally settled on the SD5. “One massive bonus with the SD5 is the centre screen,” he stated. “I can see 36 channels or groups or busses at the same time, which is brilliant. Also, almost all of the FX I use come from within the console. I use six reverbs and a delay. There are so many mics on stage and a lot of ambient noise, so I don’t need to add a lot to it. There’s a lot of content for a left-right mix!” Something else Magee is a huge fan of are DiGiCo’s new 32-bit cards. “I ended up buying 22 of them. I loved the old preamp, but the new one sounds unbelievably good, to such an extent that many of my channels are now flat - no EQ at all. And the noise floor is significantly different. Before we had 88 channels, and when you un-muted it all, you could still hear the preamps. But the noise floor on the new pre-amp is so much cleaner and better, and it outperforms all its competitors. I used standard pres for years, but the new ones have got the ‘wow’ factor.” He added: “There are so many intricate parts to this show and they’re all incredibly important to the soundscape, and the transparency of the console is exactly what we need. This is the only console Ben has never commented on negatively, so that says a lot.” Monitor Engineer, Niccolo Antonietti, also praised the SD5. “The usability of the console makes a huge difference to me. There is a lot of programming involved, but I am very happy with what I can achieve on the SD5. The channel routing is amazing, especially with the requirement for shout mics when doing monitors these days,” he said. “It allows me to
do anything I want to. And the macros are the best thing ever. They alone will keep me with DiGiCo forever. There are so many of them, and they’re so easy to work with. Any little changes during a song, I just press a macro and it’s done. I use the DiGiCo multiband compressor on Ben’s voice, as it’s such a dynamic show, and there are often changes within the same song; so I don’t use single compressors on anything, just the multibands, which you can have on every channel.” Due to the busy stage and inevitable frequency overlaps, Antolietti also needs to keep the instruments as clean as possible, but without affecting their individual dynamics. “I work at 48kHz, so I use the DiGiGrid MGB MADI interface to generate two MADI streams: one MADI stream for recording and one for inserts and FX via an Impact Server,” he revealed. “Then, on the outputs of all the band members, I have an API 2500 compressor and I mix Ben through a matrix. I have auxes and sub groups, and I send those auxes to the matrix. Ultimately, I have a ‘band’ group, stereo outs for guitars, backing vocals, his vocal, and reverb. Everything is separate, so I can process everything individually for a better result.” The Ben Howard tour run wrapped up at the end of January, with four sell-out shows at London’s Brixton Academy, and one at Birmingham Symphony Hall. TPi Photos: Gasoline Media www.benhowardmusic.co.uk www.digico.org 30
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HSL SUPPLIES LIGHTING AND VIDEO TO ARENACROSS’ AX TOUR Blackburn-based lighting rental and production company provides lighting, video and rigging plus sound, in partnership with Nitelites, to the thrills and spills of ArenaCross’ latest live offering.
Ever since ArenaCross kicked off its explosive journey back in January 2013 at The O2 Arena, London - the show has gone on to play every arena the UK has to offer, not just once but, multiple times. In 2019, Arena Sports Live presented a brand new showcase to three UK arena venues – Belfast, Birmingham and Sheffield. HSL was tasked with supplying a full production package of lighting, video and rigging - plus sound in partnership with Nitelites. To begin, HSL Project Manager Ben Perrin produced an outline production and lighting design. He then called on the huge experience of Nick Jevons as Programmer, Lighting Director and Operator on the road - who utilised a flexible package of beam, spot and wash moving lights to ensure appropriately hi-impact lighting to match the hi-velocity action, excitement and sounds. Jevon’s challenge was to make it powerful, dramatic and totally in the face a task he relished and a style he’s embraced in the past, lighting dance festivals like GlobalGathering.
Other issues included ensuring that there was enough light in the correct places for the riders to see at all points in their dynamic trajectories, but that it was also not, at any point, in their eyes. A series of lighting trusses were installed over the arena and a selection of moving lights – around 120 in total – including some of HSL’s new Chauvet Professional Maverick MK3s together with Maverick MK2 Washes, Maverick MK2 Profiles, Vari-Lite 6000 Beams, Philips SL Hydrus 350 beam washes and Martin by Harman MAC III AirFX. These were joined by over 50 SGM Q-7 LED strobe blinders. On the floor, SGM LED Beams lined the ramp in the middle of the arena which the MX stunt display team used to get airborne. Jevons used an Avolites Sapphire Touch console for control. During the programming period, he had to be as adaptable as possible to incorporate tweaks and changes to the running order which continued right up until showtime, so on-the-fly requests needed to be dealt with quickly and efficiently. 32
He commented that the Chauvet Professional MK3 washes were a “great fixture” for this type of show, with “punchy tight beams and the effects macros which were extremely useful for creating eye-candy” when building the show’s big, ballsy sweeping signature looks. Lighting the stunt teams required the most precision, and the audiences
also needed to be able to see them. Having the SGM Q-7s to hand enabled him to cast a nice even wash across the space that was also vital for this section of the show. Around the display section, the start, middle and end of the show he made as dynamic and vibrant as possible, deploying the VL6K Beams and MAC III AirFX to help create eye-burning showstopper effects in the seamlessly flowing visual extravaganza that encompassed the race heats, finals and plenty of surprises along the way. Jevon was joined on the lighting crew by HSL’s Andy Whitt, Steve Foden and Tom Soltau. Looking after HSL’s video was Marcel Wijnberger. The team utilised over 400 panels of Martin by Harman EC10 and EC20 product – of which HSL has a substantial stock, with the main screen flown at one of the long ends of the arena, measuring 8 metres wide by 5 high, made up from EC10. This was flanked by two 1.5m wide by 8m tall columns of EC20 each side that showed a mix of creative content and branding. A double-sided 5, 2m header screen was supplied for the start/finish line in the arena - all flown. The EC product was chosen for its quick and easy set-up and with 24 hours to get the whole production in, rigged and ready, the crew required handleable and reliable kit. A Christie Digital Spyder X20 video processor was at the core of the system, taking care of all the routing, with a Resolume media server system for playing back last laps, finishes and other highlights and some other graphics that specifically needed to be quick accessed. All the other video content including sponsor logos and showreels were stored and replayed via PlayBack Pro machines. A Roland V800HD Mk II switcher operated by Joe Wilcox was used to cut the cameras which were supplied by another company, and their signals fed into the HSL system to be selectively output to screen. Ben Perrin commented that it was “great to come back and collaborate with creative director Matt Bates and all the crew and staff involved at arena sports live”. He explained: “Having been the supplier of technical production for the 2017 tour, all department teams knew the high standards and quality of production required to make the 2019 shows an even greater success. The lighting and video needed to complement the high octane show flawlessly, while being flexible enough to incorporate the diversity of the action - from racing to freestyle displays. The crew and equipment worked brilliantly to make this a reality.” HSL is looking forward to working on future shows with Arena Sports Live. TPi Photos: Arena Sports Live www.arenacrossuk.com www.hslgroup.com www.nitelites.co.uk 34
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POST MALONE: BEERBONGS & BENTLEYS In line with his astronomic rise, the genre-spanning multiplatinum artist graced Manchester Arena as part of a headline European tour. TPi’s Stew Hume and Jacob Waite were both onsite for the singer’s sold out show to witness how this overnight success story translates his online oeuvre into a live tour.
Every now and then, artists come along who capture the zeitgeist of a generation so keenly, they are subsequently shot into the stratosphere of superstardom. It happened in grunge, then nu metal and now, in the latter half of this decade, it seems trap and hip-hop rule the roost. Leading the charge is a young gentleman who goes by the name Post Malone. It’s cliché to say an artist doesn’t fit into a genre, but Post really is a hard act to describe. Both his music and his aesthetic present a culture-clash of tropes from the worlds of rock, metal, hip-hop and RnB. He’s a true success story in the age of social media and music streaming, where boundaries are blurred, and everything is personal, yet universally shared with fans. The question left for the live incarnation of Post and the wider Malone touring family (known internally as Posty Co.) is how to reproduce that intimacy on an arena run. Well, you can bet your best grill they have ridden the wave from obscurity to global recognition without looking back and created a spectacle unlike any other for the undefinable genius’ first ever UK arena headline run - the beerbongs & bentleys tour.
“Our show is not like Beyoncé or J-Lo who warrant the need for dancers or set elements,” said James. “People come to see him perform and they want it to be raw. They want to see him light that cigarette, drink a beer and have a first hand conversation. It’s all about intimacy and personality.” As the capacity for Post’s shows continued to increase, so did the production values. The management and creatives brought in Dennis Danneels, Production Manager for the beerbongs & bentleys tour. “I was really the first production person they ever hired,” began Danneels. “On their original run with his first album Stoney, there was only a very basic crew as they were only playing clubs and support slots. But then with the success of his track Congratulations and Rock Star, the anticipation from the public was overwhelming and management knew they were going to have to step it up a gear.” Danneels has been fascinated by the speed with which things have changed for Post over the last year of touring, recalling how maybe a dozen kids would hover outside airports while crew members smoked cigarettes in the hopes of seeing the 23-year-old. “In the space of a few months, there were an extra 100 kids surrounding us. I’ve never been with an artist who has become this popular so quickly.” The PM thinks he understands the artist’s quick ascension to the heights of an arena headliner. “I think a lot of it has to do with his personality which is really tangible to his fans. A few of the older guys on the crew are constantly comparing him - and this whole scene - to grunge in the early ‘90s. The other element is how well he crosses genres. We were all in his dressing room a few weeks ago and he would be playing music that would range from rap, country and western, followed by some Billy Idol and rounded off with straight up death metal. His influences are so varied and he doesn’t seem to write to any schematic. He writes what he feels.”
METHOD BEHIND THE MADNESS “We’re pretty much ignoring everything you are meant to do with a pop show” laughed long-time creative partner of Post, Travis Brothers, who has had a front row seat to the singer’s rapid rise in popularity. Brothers has been with the artist since the beginning of his career working as one of the lead creatives on live shows. “As he’s gotten bigger, we’ve been given more resources to bring others into the camp to help bring his creative vision to life.” Enter: Brothers’ creative partner Lewis James. The duo - both taking on the role of Creative Director - set about producing the singer’s biggest ever show. 39
This marked the first large-scale production for the artist, so the majority of suppliers were new to the Post family. PRG provided the triple threat of lighting, video and audio; Tait supplied staging; Pyrotek for special effects; Fly By Nite for trucking and rehearsals studios; Sound Moves for freighting; and Eat to The Beat for catering.
working on Drake’s tour. In other words, Scites is well-versed in the finer points of arena automation, which came in handy when he said yes to the call up four days before joining the set crew on the road. The main centrepiece of automation was the movable roof that ascended and descended above the stage thrust. The pod structure moved on 20 Tait NAV hoists, which allowed the performance space to be open or closed down at numerous points in the show. “Initial conversations started in late October but we didn’t really get moving until December,” commented Tait’s Senior Project Manager, Aaron Siebert. “Aside from a tight build timeline, there is a lot of interdepartmental coordination. The main pod had lighting, rigging, automation, scenic masking, and lasers involved.” The show begins with a big reveal where the roof slowly rises to reveal Post, amid a haze of smoke and lights. Scites said: “Throughout the run we have been at the mercy of some of the venue heights. But each day we just adjust the speed of the roof to sync up the moves with the rest of the lighting and video cues.” For control, Scites used the Tait Navigator to regulate all the moves throughout the performance. The thrust also had its own automation element with a Flaggapault Performer Lift USC used for Post’s enigmatic entrance. Despite the ethereal aesthetic, visibility was of top priority in the staging department. “The majority of the stage is grilled decking with lighting below,” commented Siebert. “This allows for haze to come out of the stage but enables the artist to see through it. The stage is actually two levels. The grill level performance deck and a sub deck below which houses all the lighting and pyro equipment. This means the whole stage is built with all the gear and cabling inside so the stage can then be rolled into place.” Load Cell Rental’s Ian Barret attended Fly By Nite Rehearsal Studios to complete a weight report during rehearsals alongside Head Rigger Brian Collins and the crew. He explained: “An independent report was made on the shows weights which includes a full description of the load and a record of the equipment used so calibration can be proven retrospectively,” he added. “The independence of the report is its strength, at Load Cell Rental
FILLING UP THE BONG “For our world tour we were very keen to give Post a stage not too widespread or generic,” commented James. “We had this vision of a brutalist, overarching structure juxtaposing Post’s bouncy personality,” What the team created was essentially a thrust which extended out into the arena, overshadowed by two monolithic LED screens. Overhanging the stage was an automated roof 16m long, jam-packed with just under 400 lighting fixtures. Danneels said bringing in Tait as a stage supplier was a no-brainer. “This whole design came together so quickly, with only 10 days following our New Year’s gig to finalise the build,” commented the PM. “There are very few companies who are able to deal with this time scale - and I knew the highquality product I would be getting from a Tait stage.” The creation of the automated roof piece, a seamless floating element, did prove challenging. “At the end of the day, it’s a 16ft long roof which is carrying a massive weight with all the lighting fixtures,” said the PM. “When dealing with that kind of object you’re inevitably going to get some flex which could affect the ‘floating’ aesthetic we hoped to achieve.” To remedy this issue, Tait offered a soft goods option which wrapped the entire object with a highly engineered aluminium sub frame underneath. Luckily, overseeing staging and automation elements of the show was the self-proclaimed ‘dream team’ consisting of Lead Carpenter Lashard Davis, Automation Tech, Nick DiBiaso and Automation Operator Corwin Scites. “I was brought in very last minute,” smiled Scites, who has been involved in a myriad of large scale pop and country acts – not to mention 40
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we have no other purpose than to record 100% accurate weights so it tends to carry greater credibility with future venues than when productions just use their own load cells.”
understudy at FOH. He praised his tool as the “ultimate media server” and said while a lot of the kit on this run is interchangeable he couldn’t do without disguise servers. “I want to give a huge shout out to Ash Nehru [one of the founders of disguise],” he added, “and the sales representatives on this run.” Yousof utilised the Blackmagic Design router/switcher to monitor inputs and outputs. “Anybody on my team can see the LED walls are getting content at different scales,” he added. “I use the Blackmagic Design Smart Videohub mixed format routers for hot cues and routing because its network based – it allows me to control both servers from two points of the arena. Losing signal isn’t a problem because I go into the understudy for my presets in case of a failure, which has thankfully never happened!” Yousof keeps the audience – who he explained “leave their ordinary lives at the door to immerse themselves in an environment with Post and his music” – at the forefront of his mind when he’s at work. But he also wants Post to feel “comfortable” on-stage in his element as “a live artist and a real musician who gives it his all” when he “lays out his emotion on stage.” Yet, he’s a consummate performer, according to Leonard who followed timecode and praised Post’s ability to hit cues on-stage. “He’s a consistent artist. As a camera director - my camera operators will agree - consistency is the key to a good show. We know what’s coming up and what shots we want and it makes everybody flow better.” To frame the content, camera operators manned 3 Sony HXC100s with Canon 86x box lenses and one with a wide angle for the handheld shots. Robocams came into the mix with Panasonic A120s and A130s. Leonard said: “Each camera has its own function on the show but it’s 360° on the thrust with the robos and 270 with the long lenses.” Leonard used a Ross Video Carbonite black 2.5M/E switcher. “For some songs I cut two shows at once using separate IMAG screens and others for which we display four feeds for a ‘quad’ look. The Director praised the Carbonite for giving him the ability to multitask with multifaceted camera cuts. “I have macros I’ve built to cut from the aux to change the feed to a
VIDEO “Ultimately this is a very camera dependent show,” asserted James, while talking about the content played on the two imposing ROE MC7 LED screens run through ROE Evision HD101 processors. “There is some pre-rendered content which myself and Travis put together during a video shoot in London prior to the tour, but the large majority of what you see on the screens is produced live.” Hidden backstage behind the PRG flightcases, TPi located Video Crew Chief Christopher ‘Topher’ Davison, Video Engineer Glenn Austin and Utility Tech/Camera Operator Jamie Riddoch. Austin set the scene: “This show has got a dark, grungy feel to it and some of the songs come in with trippy Notch effects on the IMAGs which punch through haze in a really vibrant manner.” Midway through the set a ski masked Topher joined the performer on-stage capturing IMAG footage with a handheld camera. “The joke is I kind of look like Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat [a nod to the tour’s military thematics],” he admitted, adding: “There’s a really nice crescendo of visuals throughout Post’s set. Initially, we start on a low note and then slam it up until the last song, Congratulations. There is a really nice flow to the show and I think it was well-thought-out.” Video Director Zachary Leonard took the hot seat. Leonard’s content was framed in portrait for the IMAG screens and run through disguise 4x4pro servers integrated with custom Notch effects. “My shots are wholly dependent on what the beautiful effects [Notch Designer] Lewis Kyle White designed for the tour. He has been amazing as well as everybody else on the creative team in bringing a visual dynamic to the show.” disguise Programmer and Media Technician, Asad Yousof controlled the visual elements of the production via two servers - a master and an 44
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collage of him so when they’re up I can see it at the same time.” A military grade FLIR Systems T660 thermal imaging camera was also brought in by the show designers to reflect Post’s penchant for his ever expanding arsenal of “toys”. Austin explained: “It’s naturally designed for finding people who are lost in avalanches. A lot of work has gone into tailoring the camera to tour because it’s not built for a broadcast environment but it’s worth it. As soon as you see the effect hit the screen, there’s a collective gasp from audiences.” Leonard had never worked with a thermal camera before but credited Austin “for getting the thing interfaced with our system pretty easily.” Austin reminisced about the origins of the idea. “We toyed around with the camera in rehearsals. Once we figured out how to tune the temperature scale we discovered the output was so extensive that you can depict every hair follicle on Post’s face on-stage. For example, if he drinks an ice-cold beer on-stage, you can see the heat map of the liquid trickle down his throat. Contrarily, if you flick water on him the colour changes.” Riddich delineated: “It’s an exciting time to be in the video department because technology is so fast moving with new screens coming out every two to three years. Creative departments are now being given the tools and the budget to complement shows even more now with things like disguise and Notch. We can implement these things with standard broadcast cameras and they’re now possible.” Topher interjected: “That’s also the beauty of a live show. Although it’s the same show each night, everybody in the audience gets a unique experience. I’m almost certain we’ll soon live in an age where we’re only limited by our imagination. “Nowadays, you’re able to provide effects which were once impossible in cinema so it’s a good time to be involved in video and automation - and we’re only scratching the surface. Who would have thought you’d be able to do true thermal imaging? We could have created a digitally altered effect to reflect it but it wouldn’t have provided the same depth.”
LIGHTING Ben Dalgleish was the lighting design for the tour. “I’ve worked with Ben on a multitude of projects including Drake’s Boy Meets World,” explained James who mused Dalgleish’s talent and speed made him the natural choice for this collaborative design. “Lewis and I aren’t afraid to change our minds when working out looks,” stated Brothers. The designer said Dalgleish was one of the few LDs able to keep pace with the back and forth, thanks to his ability to create their ideas as they discussed them in real time. “Travis and Lewis tend to paint with really broad strokes,” began Dalgleish. “My goal is to take all these ideas and produce lights that match this vision.” The LD explained what it was like to join the Post Malone freight train. “He’s certainly an unusual pop act,” he began, discussing his approach to this less than conventional employer. “We make a real effort to present this show as a representation of who he is and the style he has come from. Rather than doing a conventional ‘flash and trash’ pop show, we wanted to create an arena performance to mirror his mood and energy.” Dalgleish continued by talking through the roof rig deployed for the tour. The “power units”, according to the LD, were 40 Vari-Lite VL 4000 Beam Wash fixtures. “They do a lot of the ‘god’ looks in a lot of the songs especially when the roof is moving. But I also fan them out to make the whole set look intense and powerful. They are super dynamic in terms of range, from pencil beams to really soft washes.” The top of the roof was lined by 68 GLP impression X4 Bar 20s which shoot down to create a box effect. “In the original design we debated using lasers,” said Dalgleish. “But we’ve been really happy with the results from the X4 20s. Travis and Lewis’ initial brief was to produce a ‘wall of light’ and the X4 20s proved to be an ideal choice.” The LD also rated the performance of the 80 Robe Spikies he set out on the rig highly. “They are so fast. I have moments in the set where I have them fan out in split seconds, changing the look of the rig entirely.” Also present were 64 Claypaky Scenius Unicos, 24 Mythos 2s, 30 GLP JDC-1s and 34 Solaris Flare LR strobes. 46
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Lighting Director, Ben Ward; Production Manager, Dennis Danneels; Show Designers, Lewis James & Travis Brothers; Video Engineer, Glenn Austin; Video Director, Zachary Leonard; Utility Technician/Camera Operator, Jamie Riddoch; disguise Programmer & Media Technician, Asad Yousof & Video Crew Chief, Christopher ‘Topher’ Davison; Lead Carpenter Lashard Davis & Automation Operator, Corwin Scites.
The LD – who moonlights as a drummer and picks up on accents in music - designed depending on minute details highlighted in various elements of the songs. “I always want to accentuate the nuances with tiny moments within light shows.” The care and attention paid meant timecode was a necessary backbone. “You simply couldn’t manually reproduce this show night after night.” Director Ben Ward manned the show from behind a trio of MA Lighting grandMA2s (two full size and one light). Why three, TPi asked? It comes down to the nature of the design, Ward replied: “We have one for each side of the truss and a third for a FOH view. The stage can be looked at straight on from three angles. With so many lights focussing takes a long time. Having three means I don’t have to drag a desk around an arena each day while focusing each position.” The Lighting Director confirmed using grandMA2 made this trifecta of desks manageable as each console networked together utilising the same session across all three surfaces. One of the final elements of the rig was 6 PRG Bad Boy Spots which were operated by a selection of GroundControl Followspot Systems. “We tend to only use two at once,” commented Ward. “We have them arranged in three pairs with two out front, two in the middle and a final pair at the back. All our operators have done a great job keeping track of him, especially in some testing conditions due to the large quantities of smoke we use on stage.” On that note, TPi spoke smoke with Dalgleish, who marvelled at the volume. “I don’t know another show since Nine Inch Nails which has used smoke effects to this level,” enthused the LD. It’s an aspect Creative Director Lewis James was also keen to implement. “The smoke effect really creates an atmosphere that gels with the themes in the show. Once again, it’s another convention we are breaking with this tour as most show designers wouldn’t ever think of covering their artists in smoke, but it really helps create the ambience we wanted.” From FOH Ward controlled the fog and haze effects achieved by 16 Martin by Harman JEM ZR44 Hi Mass smoke machines, 16 DMX Fans and 6 Arena Hazes. “There are certainly a lot of empty bottles at the end of the night,” joked Ward, who was still amazed how much fluid they were getting
through each night. “I really see it as another lighting effect, dripping it in throughout the show and using the fans to ensure it sits low on the stage. At other times we have fixtures on the automated roof which I trickle out during those moments to enhance the effect.” PYRO There’s no smoke without fire, and this tour had flames aplenty, courtesy of supplier Pyrotek. Leading the special effects devision was Effects Crew Chief, Gary Bishop alongside Laser Technician Antoine Cholette and Pyro Technician Jacob Madeiros. The team devised the choreography of the show’s fiery elements at Fly By Nite’s Rehearsal Studios in Redditch. Bishop reflected: “We wanted to know how to maximise the effects with this stage setup. Fundamentally, pyrotechnics have to be a certain proximity from the audience and with a thrust stage setup it’s difficult to get your distances in linear feet so we’ve had to be creative.” Set 8ft above the ground and shooting 20ft high, outer rims have become a staple of Post’s live performances. To create the signature look, Bishop specified 4 Pyrotek Dragon Flame Units with 4-hi/low flame bars and 4 dragon heads with 40kg of propane (or an aerosol substitute for certain arenas). He explained: “We can’t use propane flames because not every arena allows it in the UK.” Due to these constraintes, the crew deployed Le Maitre Salamander Quad Pros. “They use aerosol style canisters you plug in,” he conceded. “Admittedly, you can’t get quite as big of a flame out of those or use it as much during the show. Despite it being a downgraded look it’s still pretty big. Propane is our go-to but we have a B-rig for a backup and all eventualities.” The Manchester show featured a litany of SFX content - 2 concussion hits, 2 line rockets, and 64 red comets. In addition, 30 red mines shoot off with a lyric at the start of the first song in conjunction with 24 white mines, 24 silver comets and 12 white flares which all reach 30ft high. Moreover 24 sparkbursts sparkled at 24ft. “As the show goes on it gets more intense,” he continued. “We also use 6 30W Kvant Laser Spectrum lasers computer 48
Production Manager, Dennis Danneels; FOH Engineer, Joe Hellow; Music Director, Wow Jones; Music Programmer & Playback Systems Manager, Willie Linton; The Pyrotek crew.
controlled through timecode to create a series of looks with lighting and atmosphere with the haze. It adds a really cool, raw, gritty element to the show.” When it came to the artist, Bishop only had favourable words to share. He said: “Post engages well with the audience. From our perspective, he seems really happy with the way the crowds are reacting and it’s coming together nicely. He’s a good performer, modest and humbled by the fandom. It’s an impressive thing to watch his astronomic rise in popularity over such a short period of time and it’s been a pleasure to be onboard.”
AUDIO Mixing sound at FOH was Joe Hellow. He mused: “I first met Post when I was touring with another artist late 2017 at a festival show. He killed it on stage and after the show, a large group of us hung out after the festival.” Hellow knew “immediately” he wanted to work with Post. Three months later, as fate would have it, he received a call from Danneels and the rest is history. In the midst of Post’s arena ascension, Hellow detailed the importance of the artist’s core production crew. “He blew up quickly and the core production team have set the trend for those entering the fray on this
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Monitor Engineer and Guitar Tech Blair Bondy with Posty’s Gibson SJ-200.
upscaled run. Everybody is working towards the same goal, to have an amazing show. We come together to make sure we’re dialled in, Dennis does a great job at keeping us on our toes keeping standards very high, he truly brings the best out of each one of us.” Systems Engineer Daniel Scheiman joined Hellow at FOH. “Daniel is someone who I can bounce ideas off and work the room. We trust each other. I’ve never had such consistent shows. We really found a match here in regard to FOH and Systems Engineer,” Hellow explained. The main speaker arrays comprised 16 L-Acoustics K1s over 4 K2s per side. Additionally, 2 hangs of 8 K1-SBs were flown upstage of the main left and right. Outfills on each side were covered by 16 K2s, 32 in total. The 270° hang boasted 14 K2s per side, too. Flown subs, left and right respectively, came in the shape of 8 KS28s while 12 KS28s per side were deployed in cardioid made as ground subs. Finally, Frontfill deployment of L-Acoustics KARA and ARCS IIs strategically placed to maximise around our set design. Hellow said in an appreciative tone: “God bless Dennis for trusting me on the final sound design, we’re not stretching in any means. We’re able to give the audience a clean and consistent sound every night, regardless of the venue size. “We can adapt to size restrictions and we have enough system to reach every seat and make sure the audience can hear exactly what I’m hearing at FOH,” he added. “Admittedly, they might not get the stereo imaging I’m getting, but they do get an amazing show in each seat, from the nosebleeds all the way down to the front - it is clear, crisp and warm.” Control was provided by Hellow’s ‘go-to’ DiGiCo SD10 console, and five shows in he was pleased to say all the tweaking was done. “At this point, I’m barely making changes except for riding his vocal and delays, which are the two consistently grasped faders I have in my possession for the majority of the show” The Ontario native walked TPi through his hip-hop rack, which was his collaborated design with Circle Three Designs. Hellow completed the FOH rack with Rupert Neve channel strips, Portico master bus, API 2500 for maximum RMS obtained through multi stages of compression all the way to the master output, Hellow is running redundant Waves servers and Apogee symphony I/O to “truly bring the studio to the stage”. The rest of his signal chains, Hellow referred to as confidential “secret sauce.” He elaborated: “It’s essential for me to have analogue gear in my setup because I came from a studio recording background and it gives Post a shimmer on the top end keeping the mix warm and crispy. I wouldn’t be able to deliver studio sound without the Rupert Neve 5045 Primary Source Enhancer which reduces feedback and does magic for a show where the artist is performing in front of the PA.” For Post’s vocals, “I use the Rupert Neve Shelford channel strips. It’s absolutely key to his sound. The capsule we’ve chosen is the DPA capsule
d:facto and it’s amazing! “Daniel is constantly monitoring the room in different locations with wireless earthwork mic setups utilising Smaart software. We have enough crowd mics at the end of the thrust to capture the crowd on-stage,” said the FOH Engineer. He eluded to the perks of controlling his mix live: “It gives me goosebumps to see the crowd soak in the show. It’s why I’m here, to represent the sound at the highest quality to deliver it to the audience as they where listening to his record with some live flare,” he admitted. “I’m sweating and anxious before each show but that’s how I know I should be here. It’s that passion which has held me at this point and at this level.” MONITORS AND PLAYBACK Monitor Engineer Blair Bondy has toured with Hellow for over two years. “We live down the road from each other,” said Hellow. “In my eyes, monitors is the most important gig because you’re the front line before everything gets to me,” he explained. “Blair has to stamp everything and make sure the artist is totally comfortable or I can’t get anything out of him and that is the balance of touring life.” Bondy picked up the story. “Joe and I pretty much do every tour together at this point. He took me on my first tour.” Two and a half years later, he joined Posty Co. “Dennis was looking for the best FOH Engineer he could find and he got that with Joe. He also wanted the best Monitor Engineer but unfortunately that guy was busy so I somehow ended up here,” he playfully remarked. As the Music Programmer and Playback Systems Manager on Post’s tour, Willie Linton capitalised on his niche talent of programming and playback. His playback inventory included: Lynx Auora (n) audio interface, which all the audio playback stemmed from. Radial Engineering SW8 switchers, Brainstorm Electronics Distripalyzer for timecode and Universal Audio Apollo 16 audio interface for vocal processing FX. Apple Mac Minis run ProTools and Ableton software, a Strange Electronics Setlist and a Novation Launchpad made up the rig. Bondy explained: “We trust him with our life because this is a trackbased show. If the tracks fail, he has his built-in redundancy that we’ve never had to worry about and he also makes sure the auto-tune is set up every day with Jefferey ‘Smitty’ Smith on control.” Linton worked directly with Post and Music Director Wow Jones to devise the music for the show - including recording new arrangements and reinforcement for Post’s album recordings. Linton stated: “All the lights, FX and video are triggered off timecode that’s programmed into our final arrangements and operated by me during the show. I work with Blair and Joe to get the stems sounding the best they can for both worlds, Post’s ears and the audience. Part of my job is also too setup our vocal processing rig 54
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which all microphones run through before they’re sent to stage.” Bondy controlled the show via two DiGiCo SD10 consoles (a headliner and a support) utilising 32-bit cards on the SD racks. “I can’t think of anything in a digital mixing capacity DiGiCo can’t do.” Bondy talked TPi through his macros. “I love the fact they’re simple. For example, I have an ‘oh shit’ macro to switch Posty’s vocal fader(s) from main to alternate input. In addition, guest microphone test macros are important so a guest can jam along to a song before they walkout without bothering anyone else wearing ears. I run my cue through a matrix so I have talkbacks (and on occasion our road radios) on top of that.” Bondy specified a Shure Axient Digital system comprised of a spectrum manager, roadrack ethernet switch and antenna distribution as well as a “bunch of switch talkbacks”. He explained: “Not including timecode, we’re at 35 inputs just for Post. Mainly playback, a lot of talkback, 3 guitar lines and our 4 audience lines. My main thing on this tour is making sure everyone is communicating,” said the Monitor Engineer. “Once the artist is happy I slam the brakes and just fix problems if they occur.” Wedges came in the shape of 20 d&b audiotechnik M2s. “Post prefers to have a mix of in-ears and wedges to feel his voice.” Post and crew are all on Jerry Harvey Audio Roxanne’s for IEMs, 12 mixes of Shure PSM 1000 were used (9 for Post, 3 for support). Two Shure PA821b input combiners and two professional wireless T-shirt cannons one located in monitor world, the other for the stage - made up the monitor world rider. For two songs, Post played a Gibson SJ-200 citation edition and a standard edition as his backup guitar. “We use Elixir strings because they last so long.”
Waller said: “Using Radiotek as our provider for radios has been nothing short of exceptional. The radios are easy to use and you can quickly switch to the pre-programmed channel that has the countries frequency requirements. Since Radiotek is based out of the UK, they were able to fulfil all of our needs throughout the EU tour with ease.” CONGRATULATIONS Partnering high-end production with his chart-crushing second fulllength album, the tattooed face of modern music proved why he is so wildly popular in 2019. With the breakaway success of the artists, it’s hard to predict where he and the rest of the Posty Co. will end up. “I’m constantly wondering where his next jump in popularity might take him,” mused Danneels as he leaned back in his Production Manager chair, after recounting the roller-coaster ride of last year. Seeing as the Posty Co. pulled off a highly intimate, dynamic show designed to appease thousands of fans used to seeing Post on their phones, it’ll be interesting to see what they do if the rise and rise of the rapper continues. “But you know what, whatever happens, we’ll be ready!” TPi Photos: Filmawi, Adam Degross & TPi www.filmawi.com www.instagram.com/adamdegross www.postmalone.com www.taittowers.com www.loadcellrental.com www.prg.com www.flybynite.co.uk www.fbnstudios.co.uk www.beatthestreet.net www.pyrotek.com www.radiotek.co.uk www.gigcatering.com
COMMUNICATION Keeping the crew in contact with one another was a job for two-way radio communications specialist, Radiotek - with the mainframe of the system located in the production office, Posty Co. Production Assistant, Emily 56
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SNOW PATROL The Northern Irish five piece marked their illustrious return to UK arenas – after a five-year hiatus – with a new album under their belts, much to the delight of fans. TPi’s Stew Hume was on site at Manchester Arena to speak to the band’s crewmembers in what turned out to be quite the family reunion…
You won’t be hard-pushed to cast your mind back to a time when Snow Patrol dominated the UK music scene. With hits including Open Your Eyes and Chasing Cars, they are arguably the most recognisable standard-bearer of noughties UK arena rock. Their music also has a place in contemporary pop culture, synonymous with countless emotional climaxes in film and TV both sides of the Atlantic. But for the vast majority of this decade, the band have taken an extended hiatus from the music industry. This seven-year break clearly hasn’t dampened the demand from fans who faced the temperamental January weather to fill Manchester Arena to welcome back Snow Patrol.
“The reception for this run has been phenomenal and every show feels like a triumph,” commented Tour Manager Neil Mather, a few hours before the band were due to hit the stage. “People have been waiting for this show for a long time and the band have really found their groove,” he added. The same clearly applies to the touring family, many of whom picked up where the band left off in 2011, taking up their old roles and jumping back aboard the bus. Mather started with Snow Patrol in 2005 but some crew members have been in this camp for 20 years, creating a “really nice family on this tour.” Robin Scott, who has one of the longest relationships with the band,
once again sat in the Production Manager chair. Scott’s history with the band goes all the way back to the late ‘90s in Glasgow’s famed King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut. “I had been working for there a number of years while the Snow Patrol guys were also living in Glasgow,” reminisced the Scottish PM. “I got to know them when they were starting to take off and were looking for a tour manager. I had never tour managed a band in my life but a mutual friend suggested me for the job.” Scott toured with the band for a number of years before taking some time off the road. “That didn’t last too long,” he laughed, as he recounted how he re-joined the band back in 2009 as Production Manager, a position he has held for every subsequent tour. The PM was on tour with Lorde in New Zealand at the tail end of 2017 when he first got word about the return of Snow Patrol. “We started doing some warm up shows in April followed by a tour of Ireland,” stated Scott. “Then we headed to America to support Ed Sheeran’s American leg.” During this run the band’s long-time LD, Davy Sherwin began producing looks for what would become the headline show while Scott began to put all the pieces in place for the suppliers. For the tour, Scott called upon Adlib for audio, Lights Control Rigging for lighting, Universal Pixels for Video, BPM SFX for lasers, Brilliant Stages, Beat the Street, McGuinness Trucking and Popcorn Catering. Many of the suppliers had long working relationships with both Scott and the band. “I have known Mike Oates from Lights Control Rigging (LCR) and Phil Mercer from Universal Pixels for a number of years,” stated Scott, before complimenting the companies’ services. “The same goes for Adlib, which I’ve used a number of times over the years and BPM SFX which I’ve employed for pretty much every EDM artist.” The PM said most of the faces on the crew were familiar explaining he brought back the veteran backline crew early on, alongside FOH Engineer Nigel Pepper, Show Designer Davy Sherwin and Production and Tour Manager Assistant Kim Gray. “My main additions on this show were our Stage Manager Johannes Soelter, Donny Macdonald, our Head Rigger, and our video team consisting of Robin Haddow and Jon Shrimpton,” said Scott.
create a projection ‘box’ surrounding the band with content being played on all four sides. The front, stage left and right sides of the box were created by gauze roll drops and the large LED backdrop from Universal Pixels acted as the rear wall. Leading the automation and set elements were duo Callum Short, in his role as Set Carpenter and Jonny Chandler, the Automation Engineer. “Originally the tour was set up to have one person handle all the set elements,” began Chandler. “However, due to the scale of automation and the size of set, we bring in another crew member. This means I can concentrate on the automation and Callum can give me a hand, then when its up in the air I can help him to get the other staging elements into place.” Seven modified roll drops acted as an Austrian Drape, supplied by Brilliant Stages. As a regular freelancer for the staging specialist, Chandler commented how the package provided was in-keeping with the latest “off the shelf automation package” which enabled simpler integration of staging elements. Stage Manager, Johannes Soelter talked TPi through the day-to-day load-ins for the show. “For this tour there are certainly a lot of individual elements,” began Soelter. “Like a lot of modern tours, the lighting rig is pre-built on the truss so it’s a case of rolling them in and hoisting them out of the way. There’s a lot of floor traffic which requires various marshalling areas.” Each day, Soelter’s morning call was a 7am marking of the floor with a collective local call of 38 hands and 15 riggers. “It’s a sizeable local crew but the whole tour has progressed well,” stated Soelter. “Some of the smaller venues were interesting in terms of storage but the local staff were all incredibly helpful and accommodating.” Load Cell Rental was asked to complete a weight report of the rig for the tour. “Robin is a repeat customer of ours,” stated Colin Luke. Barret and Luke used 30 wireless Broadweigh load cells at Production Park during rehearsals and completed an insurance backed report to ensure the tour and all future venues know the actual weights of the show. “This included recording the dynamic weights of the show during automation use to ensure a full picture of the loadings was achieved,” commented Luke. “Due to distribution of the weights needing to be monitored a load cell hire was taken for the duration of the tour.”
SHOW DESIGN Show and Lighting Designer, Davy Sherwin, talked TPi through the aesthetic origins of the tour, saying it began with a discussion with singer Gary Lightbody in early 2017. “It was just us chatting about some ideas over a cup of tea. I then collated all that information and, mixing in my own ideas, I went off and started drawing.” Following the initial planning stage, Sherwin and the rest of the Snow Patrol crew headed state-side to support Ed Sheeran, a period which the LD was incredibly grateful for as it gave him plenty of time to design the band’s UK headline show. “Designing while still being on the road meant every couple of days I could go into their dressing room and show them what I had been working on and get immediate feedback,” enthused the LD. The design was laid out to create an “immersive experience for both the band and the audience,” explained Sherwin. “My aim was to make everyone feel they were in the show together.” For example, Sherwin was keen to
VIDEO AND VISUALS From design conception, video content was always at the forefront of the conversation, alongside the unique video design which included the projection ‘box’. The tour’s video package was supplied by recent TPi Award winners, Universal Pixels (UP). LD Davy Sherwin continued: “Content ideas would be created in a few ways, typically Gary would come up with an idea or vague concept for content without placing it with a specific song.” Sherwin then called upon content creators Atticus Finch to help realise a selection of these looks. The other major visual elements were facilitated by live camera feeds and real time effects via Notch and disguise gx2 media servers. “It’s an element the band were particularly excited to implement,” commented Sherwin, saying the work of Notch on the projection drapes were a favourite with the artists. 62
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Production Manager, Robin Scott; Stage Manager, Johannes Soelter; Media Server Technician, Robin Haddow; BPM SFX’s Adam Murray, Cobain Schofield, Cosmin Barbuceanu & Katie Strickland; Assistant Lighting Programmer, Jake Humphries & Show Designer Davy Sherwin.
Leading delivery of the video content was Robin Haddow, the tour’s Media Server Technician who was situated at FOH. “While Davy was working on the designs during the Sheeran tour, we held several conference calls with our Video Director, Jon Shrimpton, giving our input on what we thought would and wouldn’t work.” Haddow is well-versed in utilising the Notch / disguise combination, having familiarised himself with it on an Ellie Goulding tour some years earlier. “With Snow Patrol, we’ve moved away from some of the more stereotypical looks people tend to use Notch for, such as camera fades, opting for more generative content.” Haddow spoke candidly about the challenges of creating the ‘boxed’ video look aesthetic. “One of the main concerns was that the lighting rig might be too bright for the projectors to produce a clear image, but Davy brought down the lights to give clarity to the projection surfaces.” Four Panasonic RZ31K Projectors were used for the video box effect - two flown portrait over stage, two flown landscape, stacked at FOH. Meanwhile, the impressive LED back wall was made up of 10mm Leyard CLM panels, all of which were provided by UP. Haddow, who dubbed the vendor’s gear as “fantastic”, told TPi: “I have known Phil Mercer (coFounder, UP) for a number of years and it’s great to be able to continue our relationship with his new company.” The Media Server Technician also discussed the benefits of being situated out at FOH alongside Sherwin. “I think it’s really important as during the show, it’s difficult to communicate and there is so much you can take from a person’s facial expression. For a lot of the show, I’m riding the level of the LED to match the lighting. This means if Davy thinks it’s too bright, he can simply shoot me a look, and I’ll know what he needs.” Video Director Jon Shrimpton dealt with four manned Sony HDC-1500Rs and four Agile ARC360 Lites. “I have used the Agile cameras previously on Robbie Williams,” he commented. “They were originally developed to be used for yacht races which makes them incredibly durable for life on
the road. Their weather-proofing in particular has been incredibly handy through the years.” Shrimpton explained that his main prerogative as a director is giving fair airtime to all band members on stage. “As is the way with most bands, the singer often gets the most attention, but I always want to make sure everyone gets their face on the screen. For our second song, I set up an ISO shot of the five band members, each of which are streamed simultaneously onto the back wall. It’s a great little moment to re-introduce the guys to the back of the crowds after some time away from the spotlight.” For control, Shrimpton used a Snell Advanced Media Kula 2 ME vision mixer, with six independent outputs into the two disguise gx2 media servers. “As well as getting great support and picture toys from Universal Pixels; we’ve also been fortunate to have an incredible video crew,” concluded Shrimpton. “We have Video Crew Chief Joe Makein, Video Engineer Piotr Klymckek, LED tech, Eoin Mc Brien, Projectionists Marcus Wareham and Tony Whitehead and Head of Cameras, Gordon Davies.” LIGHTING Sherwin continued to map out the visuals by outlining the lighting rig for the show. “Originally the goal for the rear LED wall was to have lighting fixtures in between the gaps in panels,” said the LD. “However, we found it didn’t translate very well for video content.” The solution chosen by the Show Designer was to use a 10mm LED product and rig a lighting system behind the panels which could shoot through. The fixtures in question were GLP impression X4 Bar 20s along with a range of BPM SFX laser fixtures – but more on them later. Sherwin praised the X4 Bars, of which they had 130 on the rig, saying, “I tried to be quite clever with the X4s and not just produce long straight lines. I really only started using the X4s last year and it’s been great to use them in this format on an arena stage. The whole look of the show is centred around the rectangular box which is created with the 64
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LASERS BPM SFX added the final visual element to Sherwin’s show concept with a selection of laser effects. Coincidently, owner of BPM SFX, Adam Murray, was visiting Manchester Arena and TPi got to sit down with him to talk about this project. “Our first contact with Snow Patrol was with PM Robin Scott who we’d worked together initially on the juggernaut Swedish House Mafia production when he was PM,” commented Murray. “Since then we’ve kept that relationship going with numerous acts over the years since then. In my opinion he is one of the elite PM’s in the industry, so we were thrilled to get the call on Snow Patrol .” He continued: “For starters, working with Davy has been a pleasure. He had this amazing creative from the off, but allowed us to pitch in
ideas and opinions on what would work with the show to achieve his concept and looks.” BPM SFX provided three main groups of laser effects for the tour. The first was a roof rig consisting of 5, 15W Kvant Lasers. The second was a rig set up behind the LED backdrop made of 4, 8W Kvant Lasers. Finally, marking one of the newest editions to the BPM SFX offering, were 6 Wahlberg Winches, housing 18W laser animation OPS Colour projectors. “We brought in the Wahlberg Winches this year,” said Murray. “With our sector of the industry growing, we are always looking to provide new offerings for clients and automation is one such element.” The BPM SFX team first came across the Wahlbergs while working in a residency in Ibiza and began talks with the view to including them in the fleet. “When they are not being used they can be sent back in the roof,” said Murray. “We’ve spent three months on R&D trying to ensure the data and power are in one slick package. The Wahlberg’s control system has come on leaps and bounds and we’re excited to see where it leads.” The idea of every visual element having “their moment” was one of Murray’s biggest complements to Sherwin as an LD. “He never wants to put everything on at the same time,” said Murray, adding, “Every element gets its time from the video, to the lasers and lighting.” Overseeing the laser setup for the show was Cosmin Barbuceanu, Head Laser Tech and Operator, and Cobain Schofield, Laser Stage Technician. “The show is timecoded and each look is controlled via a Pangolin Beyond,” commented Barbuceanu. “In total we are running the lasers on seven tracks during the set. What’s interesting is that we are using the lasers on the builds of some tracks rather than on the traditional ‘drops’.” The BPM SFX team should be particularly proud of a look designed for the chorus of What if this is all the love you ever get? - where lasers in the roof projected the lyrics onto the front facing gauze. “It’s actually in the band’s handwriting,” stated Barbuceanu. “It takes a while to produce this look as you basically have to trace by hand and add that effect to the Beyond – it’s very manual but looks fantastic.”
projection drapes as well as the X4s creating the defined lines. They are the perfect light for defining the shape.” Also on the rig were 22 Claypaky Unicos “to give be some backlighting for the band and occasionally for gobos”, 24 Ayrton Magic Panel FXs and 10 Martin by Harman MAC Auras. Sherwin also deployed 8 Unicos on the front truss for key lighting the band with 4 Robert Juliat 4K Lancelots at FOH for spots. Reflecting on his creation, the LD explained how this design has been the net result of all his other projects from recent years. For control, 2 MA Lighting grandMA2s were deployed. “I’ve got Jake Humphries working as my assistant programmer on this run,” stated Sherwin, complementing his righthand man. “He’s an extremely clever and fast programmer. He knew exactly what I was looking for when he first saw the renders. He’s worked for me as a tech for several tours but this is his first time sitting out at FOH with me. He’s doing a great job.” To close, Sherwin commented on the support received by supplier, Lights Control Rigging. “I’ve known Mike Oats (owner of LCR) for 20 years or so and worked with him a number of times. Even prior to starting LCR he used to source gear for me for some of my regular acts including Travis and Wolf Alice.”
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Tour Manager, Neil Mather; Automation Engineer, Jonny Chandler & Set Carpenter Callum Short; Video Director, Jon Shrimpton; Monitor Engineer, Jamie Hickey; Adlib’s Sam Proctor.
Newcomer to the BPM SFX team, Schofield had originally worked in the lighting world for the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Everything Everything and Passenger. “I’d always watched the laser people do their stuff and was curious how it worked so I’m really happy to be involved in the Snow Patrol production,” mused Schofield.
up to in the industry - so it’s a bit surreal to be in this position. It’s certainly big boots to fill.” The engineer went on to describe his mentality when dealing with monitors. “There are a lot of audio guys who will say they can do both FOH and monitors, but for these guys they really need a specialist monitor engineer who can provide what they are looking for. Essentially, I’m playing the role of a musical butler, tending to each member’s specific need.” The engineer elaborated on the “specific tastes” of each musician and “what they like to hear, all the way down to the type of click track.” To help cater for the band’s every need, Hickey opted for a DiGiCo SD7. “I haven’t specified anything else for the last six years as I know it will be able to produce anything an artist might request. It’s the most flexible format I have ever come across and the support you get from the company is second to none.” The engineer was using the SD7 with the Stadius 32-bit mic pre amp. “It’s made a significant tonal difference. They are still fairly new so I’m bringing it with me around the world on this run and installing it in my SD racks on various continents – it’s already racked up a fair few air miles.” For the on stage sound the band and crew made use of Jerry Harvey Roxanne moulds with wireless transmission courtesy of Sennheiser 2000s. “I’ve got Terry Smith out with me this year helping oversee all the RF for the tour,” commented Hickey, praising the work of the tour’s wireless guru. “He’s brilliant. He really has his work cut out for him each day with all the RF emissions from other departments and externally. But he’s all over it and has been a real saviour during this tour.” For microphones the audio crew opted for Sennheiser 5200s with a DPA d:facto capsule used for Lightbody’s vocals. “We tried several brands during our rehearsal period and this was the best combination for mics,” enthused Hickey. “Running analogue with the 5200s gave us the lowest latency which, for me, as an engineer is always of utmost importance. If you have an issue with latency on a digital model at the source then you’re already on the back foot before you start using plug-ins. Personally, I’m using Waves plug-ins – specifically C6 Multiband Processor and Vitamin Sonic Enhancer
AUDIO In collaboration with audio supplier Adlib, FOH Nigel Pepper and Monitor Engineer Jamie Hickey ensured the band sounded their best each night. The PA in question was an L-Acoustics K1/K2 system. Discussing the finer points of the rig was Adlib’s Sam Proctor, who described a main hang of 14 K1s per side with 4 KARA down fills and 8 K1SBs flown behind, as well as 12 K2s flown on the side and 4 KARAs. These, he explained, were used for a centre cluster to “prevent the need for in-fills, keeping the front of stage clear of speakers” as per the request of the design team. On the floor were KS28s which were in 7 stacks of 3 to provide even coverage. Also, for the eager barrier-dwellers, one L-Acoustics X8 was deployed. Powering the system across the board were L-Acoustics LA12Xs. Proctor oversaw all the array processing during the tour. “We are lucky enough at Adlib to have a database of most of the large venues in Europe which gives me a head start when we are loading in first thing in the morning.” Proctor utilised the L-Acoustics Soundvision software for tuning the PA each day. “I’ll tend to fly stage left with Aaron Briggs flying stage right along with Neil Dodd who is overseeing subs and fills. We’ll have the system tuned up and ready for Neil at FOH to listen between one and two pm.” For FOH control Pepper utilised a Midas Pro X along with his collection of outboard gear, which travels with the Engineer for each show. Jamie Hickey, Monitor Engineer and one of the few newcomers to the Snow Patrol camp, talked about his entry into the touring family. “I already knew some of the guys on the tour including Graham Hunter, our Drum Tech, and FOH Engineer Nigel,” began Hickey. “Over the years, Snow Patrol have had some big names take care of their monitors - people I really look 66
The Popcorn Catering crew serving up yet another culinary delight.
– which create latency, so I want as strong a source as possible. Gary is particularly orally sensitive and picks up on the time difference, so I want to get it as close as possible to real time.” But the engineer was quick to point out that some of the most important mics in his rider were the ones pointing at the audience. This included pair of Rode NTG1s, in conjunction with a pair of Sennheiser MKH416s and a 2 AKG 414s. “We have a lot of sing-alongs which I ride throughout the set. One of the main mics is one I have almost exclusively for Gary on the downstage so he can have some banter with the audience between songs.” For guitars and bass, the band opted to use Kempers rather than traditional amp and cabinet setups. “This was the band’s first run on digital amps,” stated Hickey. “It took a lot of work as you can’t simply pull them out the box and start playing.” The two guitarists opted for rather different setups, with lead axe man Nathan Connolly utilising a large ground control system interacting with his racks while Gary Lightbody opted for his tried and true collection of Boss pedals which have been faithfully at his feet for years. Hickey, while on the subject of backline, commented on Johnny McDaid, the band’s guitar and keys player, who’s set up would boggle the mind of the most savvy tech. “It’s a fusion of playback, monitors and his own performance space. He controls his own monitors via an iPad with me sending him MADI streams from the desk.” The Monitor Engineer concluded by discussing the service he and the rest of the team had received from their supplier Adlib. “The first time I worked with them was back in 2012 while I was with Amy McDonald. Since then I’ve worked with them a number of times and I’m always impressed with the service. You always know the people they send out will be knowledgeable.”
Robin Scott, having worked with him on several projects,” stated Reynor. “We’ve not been given too many special requests on this run although we always try to keep up with on-going trends. For example on this one we have made a special efforts to provide more vegan options.” “I’ve known Wendy Deans from Popcorn since the days I worked at Tea in the Park,” reminisced Scott. “She is always my first choice when it comes to tour catering.” Moving the conversations on from lunch to logistics, the PM outlined some of his suppliers of choice to get the band from A to B. “Trucking this run has been provided by McGuinness,” said Scott. “I’ve crossed paths with them a few times over the years and have always been impressed with their services.” Also on the road with Snow Patrol were Beat The Street. “You know it’s always a good tour when the black busses turn up,” joked the PM, speaking of the admiration he has for this trusted bussing company. With the stage set, the Northern Irish quintet emerged to raucous applause from the Manchester crowd who had clearly been eagerly awaiting their return for the last five years. This grand reunion which had brought together familiar faces both on and off the stage, certainly went over well with the thousands in attendance with the excitement and joy of the band coming over throughout the night. And with a busy 2019 ahead of them, this is clearly only the beginning of Snow Patrol’s return to the spot light. TPi Photos: Bradley Quinn and TPi www.snowpatrol.com www.unipix.tv www.adlib.co.uk www.lcr-rental.com www.loadcellrental.com www.brilliantstages.com www.bpm-sfx.com ww.mcguinness.eu www.beatthestreet.net
LOGISTICS Away from the show floor, TPi caught up with Lead Caterer of Popcorn Catering, Simon Reynor. For the run Popcorn supplied a team of five crew to keep the Snow Patrol family fed. “We’ve got an on-going relationship with 68
SLASH FT MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRITORS On a cross-continental tour, the legendary guitarist, alongside Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, hit the UK in support of his latest album Living The Dream. TPi’s Stew Hume caught the man and his mythical top hat at Manchester Apollo - only to realise there were just as many rock ‘n’ roll legends off stage as there were on.
There’s something magical about witnessing a musician of Slash’s calibre, playing an academy venue. Since re-joining the Guns N’ Roses camp, it would be fair to think you’re more likely to see him shredding on the stage of a 90,000-capacity stadium than an intimate venue like Manchester Apollo. But according to the guitarist’s hard-working crew, intensive touring and staying on the road all comes with the territory when you call Slash your boss. This run was no different with the touring party leaving LA on the 3 January for a 10-week tour which saw them cover three continents and 21 countries for 37 shows!
“And this is mild for him,” laughed long-time friend of Slash Tim ‘Quake’ Mark who, for several years, has juggled both Production Manager and FOH Engineer hats of his own. Greeting TPi in the production office at the Apollo, he told some of his favourite war stories with the six-string legend. “I remember we did a run back in 2015 where we were gone for 52 days, and in that time took 29 flights and visited 30 cities. It tends to be quite relentless.” Moments later Backstage Coordinator Sam Risbridger – another familiar name in both the Slash and Guns N’ Roses touring roll call – pulled out his passport to showcase unrecognisable visa documents stamped by
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Backline Tech Alan ‘Ace’ Bergman; LD Kevin ‘Deuce’ Christopher; Monitor Engineer John Shipp; Tour Manager and Accountant.
countless border officers in an untold number of places. But despite the gruelling schedule, Quake explained how there’s something really special about this particular touring family’s philosophy. “This is a team effort and we are all equal out here,” he began. “Everyone’s responsibility is to make this show happen and each part is just as important as the other. We pride ourselves on being a very lean team as well as family to each other.” It was a sentiment echoed by Tour Manager and Accountant, Cheryl Hall, a regular in Slash’s crew for the last six years. “It’s a pretty tight core group, just as Quake said,” she agreed. “We’ve had a few changes with other commitments, but it’s always a great group and we’ve had some great people join us over the years.” This tour was no exception. The collective CV of the crew reads like one hell of a rock festival line up, featuring the likes of Journey, Judas Priest and Aerosmith. With such a busy schedule, logistics played a key factor in Quake’s decisions for his tour suppliers. For the lighting floor package, he chose PRG, with its global reach across numerous branches meant the crew were “always sorted no matter what continent” and “still able to do all the billing in the states.” Quake told a similar story for audio. On the American leg he enlisted Sound Images for control and, thanks to its relationship with SSE Audio, said he was provided with a similar package anywhere in the world. “Again, it’s helpful to be able to bill everything through the states,” he added. Also on the road with Quake for the UK shows was Zig Zag Lighting, which provided the flown lighting rig while Major Tom provided the PA. Lending a hand on logistics was Beat the Street and Transam Trucking. The companies both ensured everyone, and everything, got to each venue safe and sound with Sound Moves taking care of the crew’s longer
moves. “As you can imagine, I’ve built up quite a good relationship with Justin Carbone, Vice President of Sound Moves, with the amount we move around,” said Quake. “His network of people has been indispensable.” THE BALANCING GAME? We know what you’re thinking. How does Quake manage to find time to be a FOH Engineer? “It’s the only part of the day I enjoy!” he laughed. He recounted how somebody had pointed to Quake as the most “responsible” person on the road during the debauchery of the ‘80s, explaining he has since found it hard to shake the PM title for virtually every project he works on. Even as TPi spoke to Quake, he was busy counting out crew passes for the day, while answering emails and fielding questions about audio. Gesturing to his desk, he smiled and said, “All of this is just means to an end, when I can stand at FOH and be a sound guy for two hours.” From one desk to another, Quake discussed his current live set up. “I have an Avid Profile with 5 mix engines, WAAVES 9 and Standard AVID Plugins which I feed out Via AES to a Meyer Sound Galileo,” he began. “People give me grief about using the Profile as it’s a bit outdated – but this tour travels to over 40 countries each cycle. I know if my rack goes down, I can get another one pretty much anywhere in the world in a few hours!” Quake was also quick to compliment the power and control delivered by the Meyer Sound Galileo. “It’s such a powerful tool and I know I can go into any situation with this set up and produce a good sounding show, no matter what PA I’m using. It gives me an extra level of control and means I can keep my whole mix much tighter.” As well as providing the tour with a control package, SSE Audio also
made the introduction to Radiotek who provided on-site communications for the tour. “They have done a great job in providing radios that I can get licensed in several territories!” commented the PM. For the UK run, Quake managed to get his PA of choice, a Meyer Sound Lyon system, courtesy of Major Tom. “It’s always great working with Quake and the Slash guys,” commented Andy Banks, Major Tom’s Project Manager. “They’re a really lovely team. We did a few arena shows with them providing a Meyer Sound Leo rig a few years ago, but with smaller venues and weight limits this time we chose the Lyon M and W boxes with 1100LFC subs in a cardioid configuration.” Joining Quake at FOH on behalf of Major Tom was Martin Walker, who is better known to many as the man behind Judas Priest’s live sound. “I was kicking my heels for the last week or so as we waited for an update on the postponed Ozzy tour for which Priest were the main support,” explained
Walker. “I actually used to do FOH for Slash prior to Quake back in 2010 before going out with Priest, so I know the core family.” As a fellow Meyer Sound enthusiast, Walker and two other techs ensured Quake was all set for the Manchester performance. “I know Quake isn’t afraid to turn it up,” commented Walker, musing over where Quake gets his name. “I used to always consider myself as quite a loud engineer when I worked for these guys. But that was before I heard Quake…” MONITORS “The monitor position for Slash has almost been like the drummer for Spinal Tap,” joked Quake as he listed the people he’d brought on over the years, explaining some crew have other commitments and can’t commit to long stints. In previous tours, Slash’s monitors have been overseen by some big names including Bob Cowan from Metallica and Pasi Hara from System
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Cheryl Hall and Production Manager and FOH Engineer, Tim ‘Quake’ Mark.
of a Down. “This time we have John Shipp, Aerosmith’s FOH Engineer,” to stage right by manually inputting frequencies. Those days were long enthused Quake. “John has been a godsend to me on this run. He’s a and, thankfully, when we got to Europe I had SSE Audio make sure I full-time FOH guy and has such an impressive technical knowledge on live had a network cable which reached across the stage to handle the nine audio. On this run we had to record several shows for broadcast. Thankfully frequencies I have on that side. It saves me a lot of time.” John knows the software like the back of his hand and was invaluable.” Shure was also the brand of choice for microphones. Using the Axient Shipp is no stranger, he said, having filled in for Quake “some time ago”. Digital both Myles Kennedy and bassist Todd Kerns used Beta 58 capsules. Following that, Quake twisted Shipp’s arm to take on the monitor role for a “Myles has always used that mic,” stated Shipp. “We did try out a few other few shows. “It was a very different stage set up back then,” recalled Shipp. models including the KSM8 as we were trying to cut down on spill from “It was all wedges and in-fills. However, since the Guns N’ Roses reunion, the drums. However, it didn’t work for Myles’ ears as he really likes the mid Slash has been using an IEM set up. It was one of the stipulations on the to high range of the 58.” In an attempt to cut down on some cymbal spill GNR gigs to help out Axl Rose on stage. We’ve certainly seen the benefit the crew deployed a few shields which “helped out a lot”, according to the here with this mostly quiet stage really reducing monitor engineer, who joked they hadn’t need to mic spill through Myles vocals.” The move to IEM deploy the full “drum aquarium”. made Shipp’s job more manageable and helped It was similar tried and true gear for cabinet facilitate a tighter performance from Slash, mics with the classic Shure 57 being used for according to the engineer. “Slash said when he first all the guitars. “At the end of the day, guitarists moved on to IEMs, it was a little disconcerting as want to hear a 57 on a 12-inch Marshall cabinet,” he thought he sounded sloppy. But on this tour, said Shipp. Quake praised the classic 57 set-up he has been killing it every night. He’s always been in recreating Slash’s signature sound, too. “My “John has been a god send amazing but there have been some nights on this predecessors had been using the Shure 313 to me on this run. He’s a tour where I find myself just watching him in awe!” Ribbon Mic. I found I had to do a lot of EQing The IEMs in question were Jerry Harvey Audio so one day, I walked up, and removed the two full-time FOH guy and has Lolas which are “really catered towards guitar channels of 313 and put 57s up.” He remembered such an impressive technical players.” For wireless, the audio crew opted for to TPi how the former Monitor Engineer, Bob Shure PSM1000s with a total of 8 channels. “I’m Cowan, was shocked… until he heard the mic with knowledge on live audio.” personally dealing with all the RF management Slash playing. “It was ‘his’ sound and I find I have to Tim ‘Quake’ Mark, using Shure Wireless Workbench,” said Shipp. do very little to the signal,” Quake asserted. Production Manager “For the first half of the tour I was networking The microphone rider also boasted standard 76
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B52s / Beta 91s on saddles mounted in the kick drum. For the snares SM57s were used for top and bottom. Overheads were KSM 32s and toms were Beta 98AMPs. In monitor world, Shipp sat behind a Midas PRO2. “It was inherited from the previous monitor engineer’s spec,” began Shipp admitting it was not a system with which he was very familiar. “But it sounds amazing,” he was pleased to add. “On this run I got to know the architecture a bit better and it is pretty intuitive. There are some cool features as well, including matrix mixing elements I’ve found very interesting.” BACKLINE Alan ‘Ace’ Bergman, backline tech for the band, took up the conversation to discuss other elements of the live set up. “I’ve been with Slash for over seven years at this point,” he began. “I was his tech but opted to step back into a gear management role, although from time to time I fill in for him with this camp or even GNR.” During the show, Ace mainly looked after rhythm guitarist Frank Sidoris and Bassist Todd Kerns along with Myles Kennedy’s rig for the two songs during which he also played guitar. All guitars on stage used Shure UR40 Wireless with Kerns’ dirty channel being run into a Sans Amp DI with a clean channel captured by a Radial JD48 Direct Box. Meanwhile Sidoris’ rig consisted of a pair of JSM 800s. Ace walked TPi through Slash’s rig on stage right. “What we have here is his B-rig, a condensed version of what he was running on the latest GNR dates.” As you’re all dying to know, he uses Shure Wireless and a combination of custom Marshall JCM 2555 Silver Jubilees. “His rig is very much alive,” stated Ace as he talked about the ever-changing intricacies to the guitarist’s live set up. “We have his guitar running through an RJM Effects Gizmo - best name ever - which switches all his various effects via midi then run by his tech back here.” Some of his effects will be more than familiar to the Slash aficionados out there including a Line 6 Mod Pro, Echo Pro and his signature MX4 Octave Fuzz. The only effect not manipulated from back stage was his Cry Baby Wah pedals with controllers instead situated in two positions on stage. “That one effect is all him,” stated Ace. “It would almost be like trying to bend his strings for him if we were to do it back here – it’s just far too expressive.” Also re-joining the Slash camp on this latest tour was Imy James, who took on the role of Drum Tech and Stage Manger. The two time winner of the Top Dog Award at the Tour Link Conference, has be a regular fixture of both Slash’s solo work and in Guns N’ Roses for many years. LIGHTS Kevin ‘Deuce’ Christopher was the LD for this run. Deuce was featured in TPi in last month’s Def Leppard coverage, due to his work on the co-headline tour with Journey in the US. “This is certainly a different kind of show,” laughed Deuce, comparing this intensive academy run to the world of large scale arena rock. “I enjoy this for a number of reasons. It’s a different way of touring but I really like the scaled down approach of going out and doing shows. It’s a small crew, but it’s made up of some really good people
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which makes the whole experience so enjoyable. Also, it’s a great band and Slash is such a great player – so I can hardly complain.” The flown rig Deuce oversaw was designed by the band’s previous LD, Scott Dell. “I was fairly wrapped up in other projects before jumping on a plane at the start of January, so I designed the floor package but kept on flown design from the previous run.” The suppliers for floor and roof packages were split. PRG provided a global floor package and control system with the flown rig for the UK shows supplied by Zig Zag lighting. The company offered a selection of Robe fixtures including 8 Robin BMFLs, 16 Robin Megapointes, 24 Robin Spiiders and 10 Robin 150 Ledbeams. Also, on the rig were 12 Elation Professional Protron 3K Color Strobes. “This was the first time I had worked with Zig Zag, although I know Quake has collaborated in the past,” the LD nodded. “But immediately, from their first email, they made me feel very confident they were on top of everything.” Deuce went on to explain his “fairly time-consuming” process for dealing with various flown rigs throughout the run. “The idea is to clone the fixtures from the previous show and ensure everything is working correctly. After the first show is locked in, I can then start to work on aspects of the set for the next few nights. But after the fourth show or so it all changes again – that can be frustrating but it’s a nice challenge.” Helping him deal with the ever-changing roof rig was an MA Lighting grandMA2 light. “MA is always my go-to,” stated Deuce, dubbing it “fantastic” for the quick turnarounds. On the floor, Deuce’s goal was to have “big looks with fairly small fixtures”. He elaborated: “We have 12 Robe Spikies, 12 GLP impression X4 Bars, 4 Claypaky Mythos, 6 Elation Professional CUEPIX Blinder WW2s and 6 Solaris Flares. I’m certainly getting my bang for my buck with this one. Although they are all relatively small fixtures there are a lot of them which
produce some massive looks.” As Slash’s name is emblazoned in big letters on the backdrop, you might think the focus of the lighting design would be geared towards the man in a top hat on stage left. But, “I still very much treat these guys as a live band,” countered Deuce. “The music still lends itself to a live rock band and I’ve gone for a retro, straight up rock ‘n’ roll vibe – it just so happens the lead guitarist is Slash.” He makes an exception for the spine-twisting solo moments, he says, adding he uses spots and colours and drops the other members’ saturation. “But the show as whole is classic with two colour scenes and big changes. There is also a little bit of ‘audience abuse’ to keep them engaged – and so far, it seems to be working.” With a sold-out crowd and the legendary Phil Campbell of Motörhead offering a blinding support slot with his Bastard Sons, Slash and fellow Conspirators took to the stage. With every song and solo, Slash again proved why he is held in such high regard in the guitar community – and no doubt why so many of the hard-working men and women who work backstage for him, constantly want to return to this touring family. TPi Photos: Shirlaine Forrest www.slashonline.com www.sseaudiogroup.com www.sound-image.com www.prg.com www.zigzaglighting.co.uk www.majortom.cc www.transamtrucking.com www.beatthestreet.net www.soundmoves.com www.radiotek.co.uk 80
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THE 1975 The award winning art pop quartet descended on UK arenas off the back of their latest genre-spanning record, A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, taking in a hometown crowd at Manchester Arena. TPi’s Jacob Waite reports...
On-stage at the Manchester Arena, the quartet that make up The 1975, are bathed in a sea of smartphones. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the enterprise is inherently ‘meta’ with the group’s latest campaign deep diving into our social media malaise with an emotionally charged record that focusses on the sonic unambiguity of the streaming era. With such an ambition vision the band – made up of lead vocalist and guitarist Matthew ‘Matty’ Healy, lead guitarist Adam Hann, bassist Ross MacDonald, and drummer George Daniel - required production values and a dynamic tour design that could follow suit. Step forward Production Manager, Dermot Lynch. A familiar face in The 1975 camp, the PM was first brought in during the band’s first album cycle in late 2015. Since then, true to the band’s initial
aesthetic of straight lines and lots of symmetry, the core team of creatives have made the worthy jump from pubs, to academy sized venues and now arena sellouts. Lynch explained: “It’s the same ethos we had on the last run. The production during the cycle in 2016 was well designed and it scaled very nicely from academy spaces to very small venues. However, because this run is built for arenas, we have upscaled and increased the production tenfold.” The reason? “Ultimately, the band is ambitious. They’ve got a clear vision of where they want to be. Matty and the band are constantly growing, picking up information and advice as they go along. As a collective, we are constantly looking at how we want to bridge forward and increase the level of production.”
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Despite the astronomic rise of the band’s popularity, the core crew has remained the same. Lynch stated: “However, because of the scale of this production, we have had to add additional faces in the rigging, lighting and video departments. Without the crew, we wouldn’t be where we are. Everybody works together harmoniously.” For suppliers, Lynch extended his hand to companies he’s worked with before. These included Eighth Day Sound, Brilliant Stages, Fly By Nite and Sarah’s Kitchen. Despite Lynch’s tendency to veer towards the familiar, this tour presented the PM with a company the band had not worked with before. “Christie Lites have been brilliant at supplying both grids and trackers at the very front of the stage; supplying the second half of the control and all of the lighting,” commented the PM. “On this arena tour, lighting and video tend to cross over a huge amount with little difference between the two departments. All of the LED, cameras and servers were supplied by PRG which played a significant part of this production.” He also commended the tour’s choice of two-way radio communications vendor. Lynch said: “I’m super happy with the flexibility of the DP4600E – Radiotek presents a package that is easy to use and customised to suit the project.”
Rylander explained the pre-production process. “Everything originates from Matty’s conceptual ideas,” Rylander recalled. “We always sit down and talk about what needs to be done, along with the band, who I’ve become great friends with – we always hang out together and most of our ideas formulate from that.” He furthered by stating how his design-style very much ran parallel to that of The 1975. “I hope people look at a show and see that I’m behind the design, but I think my style works as an accurate reflection of the band and my identity which is intrinsically linked with The 1975.” Even with with an upscaled tour on the cards, Rylander recounted the show’s modus operandi. “The 1975 have always been an arena band. They were an arena band when they played pubs because of who they are, and Matty is, within his performance. It’s been a pleasure to see them get the recognition they deserve because they deliver every night and he knows how to work the stage so well.” The set design for A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships incorporated an eye-watering 12m LED WinVision Air 9mm video wall, complete with rectangle LED frames in all three corners of the stage – a nod to Rylander’s penchant for straight, symmetrical lines. In addition, IMAG screens left and right of the stage framed the content, while three cuboids were hung over the head of the band on-stage. “The cuboids reflect the negative space between what we call the monoliths of the last show (three LED towers),” commented Rylander. “Each surface of the video is programmed at the lighting source via Green Hippo, so all of the hits can be programmed in the lighting console.” While symmetry and straight lines were ubiquitous, a trademark of The 1975’s show design is its logo, a striking rectangle shape, which Rylander dubbed as the ‘box frame’ - tilted, framing the set, a reference to the neon box on the cover of the band’s 2013 self-titled debut album. “For me, the box frame is the ultimate framing to any art. I’m essentially framing the art of Matthew Healy.” Video content programmed on each LED surface provided a litany of looks during show. “Matty started by looking at all the songs and what they
HOW TO DRAW [SHOW DESIGN] / PETRICHOR Tobias Rylander was once again employed by the band to devise the look for the tour. Speaking from his LA base, the Show Designer discussed the partnership’s origin story. “The band embarked on their first tour with stage and lighting production following the release of their debut album in 2013,” began Rylander. “The band was inspired by LeRoy Bennett’s work with Nine Inch Nails in 2013, which featured lots of silhouettes and strobes.” He continued: “Bennett put me forward for the gig and I met with the band in Los Angeles and we clicked straight away. During the first few minutes of meeting them I knew how I wanted to depict them. Immediately, I had the vision of utilising video projection and lights. Since then, we’ve kept the same aesthetic.” 84
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were meant to communicate,” Rylander expressed. “We found looks and themes for each individual song, a lot of them reflect the A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships campaign artwork.” Think computerised minimalism. The show featured a range of visually spectacular, Instagram-worthy ‘gags’. During I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful, Yet So Unaware of It, Healy stepped onto a riser as the LED wall spluttered a TV static buzz. Having touched the screen, the wall warped into a cacophony colour. Healy pushed back the screen, where he was immersed in a technological cave; framed to replicate an iPhone with the word “hello” brandished above his head in Apple-like font. Rylander explained: “Not only is breaks the fourth wall but is wholly immersed by it. The cave gag started as a joke as Matty is absorbed by his own creation. It’s a really fun element
of the show and I never get tired of watching it!” The tour marked Rylander’s first foray into designing an arena sized automation show. “It was quite a steep learning curve for me to learn automation and how it’s programmed because everything interacts essentially,” he explained. “The biggest challenge for me was to devise my show design in portrait because the show is really high but not very wide,” he noted. “There are slimmer sightlines compared to the last tour, which means that all production weight that we have is concentrated to a very small rigging area. All of the automation interacts with each other, I can’t put things in certain places because it’s quite crowded.” BRILLIANT STAGING Brilliant Stages’ Adam ‘Bullet’ Bettley picked up the story. “We first dealt with The 1975 in November 2015 when they came to rehearse in Production Park’s Studio 001, since then we have had a great relationship with Dermot Lynch and have been the go-to supplier for The 1975’s stage sets.” Having covered the band’s 2016 tour, Bullet described how The 1975’s set design has evolved. “The transition from smaller sized academy’s to arenas has also been incorporated within the show.” Brilliant Stages deployed a 15m by 14m rolling stage along with a custom 90° video frames for stage left and right screens. “The blade frames on the original academy show are now much bigger and a newer version of the lighting product has been installed. Despite automation being introduced on this run we’ve retained the same feel with the grill drum riser and internal lighting firing up, wrapped with the video. The ground supported video towers are also now much bigger and feature automation.” Bullet walked TPi through the set build and staging elements Brilliant Stages provided for the UK legs of the tour. Notably, the infrastructure for Matty’s Cave, a scissor lift, automated blade frames and video cubes and an 11m wide travelator – yes, you read that correctly. “The travelator and Mattys Cave gags give the show a proper wow factor. Overall, it’s an amazing looking show which breaks the boundaries of physics!”
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GIVE VIDEO A TRY In the caverns of video world, TPi located Ed Lawlor of Visual Certainty, who has a longstanding relationship with The 1975. “Technically, I’m the band’s first ever video guy,” he laughed having been out on their “one bus, one truck tour” in 2014. In the band’s formative years, Lawlor left to pursue work with One Direction before returning in 2016 to adopt the role of designated Video Crew Chief. “It’s been my life ever since because these guys tour so much,” he professed. “The production value has definitely been on the increase over the last few years with the band. Since bringing Dermot onboard, there’s been a huge step forward. Each show has a high-quality visual finish. The band and management aren’t the sort to cut corners and neither are we.” He continued: “The portrait back wall presented challenges for the riggers to fit it into each venue. It’s 12m high at full height, which is a big statement.” LED was made up of 407 WinVision Air 9mm full tiles and 92 half tiles, with a back end of 5 Galaxia LC2012HD LED processors. Lawlor stated: “The WinVision Air 9mm has got the best viewing angles. You don’t need high-
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Lighting Designer, Darren Purves; FOH Engineer, Jay Rigby; Head Rigger, Simon Lawrence; Video Director, James Valpy & Video Crew Chief, Ed Lawlor.
resolution if you’re not broadcasting to TV, it’s consumed through human eyeballs which are 20m away,” he declared. “Everyone loves to sell the high-resolution stuff but there’s no need for it, especially with the cuboids at such steep angles.” An additional 288 Revolution Blade full size HD LED strips, 48 mini HD LED strips, 9 Blade Box v3, processed by Brompton Tessera M2 LED technology were deployed. A pair of Green Hippo Hippotizer Taiga+ with 4-way SDI input cards manned server duties. “This has always been a Green Hippo show, we’re running the Hippotizer Taiga+, with a range of custom effects that Hippo have tailored for us which is working out really well.” He continued: “The servers are run over MA-Net which gives the LD total control. He can adjust for what works best at a particular venue, rather than letting me sit back here trying to guess how it looks from the FOH.” Lawlor explained. “It also portrays a consistent image for the record as well as giving the LD full control from the FOH.” Lawlor, under the guise of Visual Certainty, also took it upon himself to supply the communications kit specifying a Riedel Bolero Wireless System, which included 14 wireless beltpacks, 3 antennas and 2 DSP-2312 desktop keypanels. The Riedel Artist-32 mainframe with dual CPU cards and dual PSUs boasted 2 x AES67-108 G2 cards and an AIO-108 G2 card. “The new Bolero system is really good. I started working with Riedel two years ago and I’ve become familiar with their kit. The beauty of the Bolero for touring is that it’s unlicensed. It’s 1900Mhz.” Lighting Designer Darren Purves commented: “The Riedel Bolero comms system has actually been my favourite new thing on this tour. It’s the first time I’ve used it. For me, being able to use my in-ear and a mic without having to wear a comms headset with one ear on and one ear off has been a real game changer.” Assisting Lawlor in the video department was Video Director, James Valpy, an “ex-media guy” who turned his hand to directing. Lawlor explained: “For this run, we needed a director for the full touring cycle because there is so much content to capture. James has been the perfect
man for the job because he has both technical ability and artistic flair.” Valpy said: “This gig is a sizeable step for me. Having come from a technical background, I’m not what you call a white glove director, I prefer to get hands on,” he explained. The Video Director went on to explain his process when cutting for the IMAG screens. “It’s not a typical directing role where you’re telling a story - the band are the story – I’m just trying to make it bigger for the audience, which I really like. It’s a fairly new way of directing for me but I love it.” However, the task didn’t come without its challenges. Valpy commented: “We’ve had to downsize a little bit for the smaller venues which is always a challenge, but we’ve managed to overcome it and that’s primarily down to the people. The techs we have working on it this gig is super talented and that’s what makes it so enjoyable to be a part of. Every show is unique. It’s a proper rock show, a proper band with proper music. If I was going to do this for two years with the same show every night it would be exhausting.” A range of cameras framed the content. In particular, 5 Sony HDC-1500s; 2 Canon Digisuper 95s; 2 Fuji ZA22x7.6BERDs 1, Fuji HA13x4.5BERM, 3 Panasonic AW-HE120s. Valpy explained: “Every time there are live cameras on the upstage wall, that’s where you’ll see big, impactful moments. Also, each moment where its apparent that Matty needs to be the man on the screen that’s what we do, and the fans go crazy for it!” he smiled. Extensively, PRG’s portable production units housed a Sony MVS-3000 switcher; an Evertz Xenon 96x128 router; Evertz 5601 master clock; Evertz 7800FR with 7867VIPA24-DUO multiviewer, various DAs; 2 x Aja Ki-Pro Racks; a Tallyman TM1; 2 x Aja FS2; a Sony PVM-A170 monitors and a Leader LV5330 scope. The video rider also boasted Lightware 16x16 and 8x8 DVI matrices; 2 x TVOne C2-6104A multiviewers; 3 x Yellobrik OBD1810 SDI fibre kits; 4 x Lightware Modex DVI fibre kits and Neutrik Opticalcon fibres. “For me, it’s less about the equipment we have and more about the talented technicians behind it. The video crew onboard this tour isn’t just great at their individual disciplines but they’re also very good camera operators - which makes it much easier for me,” Valpy assured. “Our PRG Account 88
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GLP joined the lighting quota including 99 GLP impression X4 Bar 20s and 60 GLP JDC1s. “The GLP Bars have been with us since day one, they’re the backbone of the lighting design. The X4 Bars are great because of the nice and clean, straight lines which frame the upstage wall,” described Purves. “We’ve also got a line of JDC1s on the front truss. It’s the first time I’ve used them in the full pixel mode.” A total of 60 SGM Q-10s were also present on the rig. “The Q-10s are awesome, we’re utilised diffusion on top of them that works really well with their bright strobe and wash feature,” commented Purves. Rylander agreed: “I’m really pleased with the SGM Q-10s. The output of the fixture is spectacular and they’re super bright, which is what we need to break through the video wall. I think they work really well as a colour wash as well as a strobe and a pixelated fixture.” For spots, the crew deployed 4 Robe BMFLs with the RoboSpot system. Purves furthered: “I’m also really impressed with the new Robe followspots that have been reliable since we set them up. They allow me to manually control the colour and intensity of the output, which is a dream come true for operators.” In addition, 2 MDG Fog Generators were put through their paces, along with 2 fans (MDG theFAN) and 4 Hazebases’. A pair of MA Lighting grandMA2 full size lighting consoles (a main and a backup) controlled the lights. “The grandMA2 does everything I ask. It’s the ‘jack-of-all-trades’ for me and it’s great to program on. There are a couple of organic moments, but it is mostly a timecoded show,” he explained. “There’s so many transitions between lighting and video that have to be tight and with a delay on a server there’s just no way you can achieve it manually. Using timecode makes it reliable and is the only way to get a show like this tight.” Purves praised the lighting supplier. “It’s the second time I’ve worked with Christie Lites, having used their gear on 5SOS tour in summer and I was super impressed,” he said. “It was a relief when I found out they were our supplier for this run!” He reflected: “Dermot has worked so hard to achieve this gig,” he confirmed. “It’s not the simplest of shows because there’s a lot of very complex moving parts and he’s done a great job of pulling it all together.” Barnes added: “Everyone was very keen to come back. We’ve got a very high retention of crew because the department’s work very closely together like a family to make sure the show is the best it possibly can be.” Rylander concluded: “I couldn’t do any of it without any of them. Everyone is equally important in the production.”
Director, Stefaan Michels has been excellent. As with everything in this industry, it’s the people that make it and PRG’s no exception. Without the people we worked with at PRG it just wouldn’t have happened. Joining Valpy in the video departments were Luke Butler, Ben Clarkson, Conor Downey, Willow Findlay, Fionn Finnie, Jak Gambino, Graham Lambkin, Lena Wynants.
I LIKE AUTOMATION & RIGGING LIKES ME The demanding tour required 14 articulated lorries to transport the set, two of which are solely for rigging, hoists, automation and the mother grids. Head Rigger Simon Lawrence designed the rigging for the run. “He particularly focussed on the health and safety elements of the rig by specifying BroadWeigh wireless load monitoring system,” commented Lynch. “Fundamentally, we are not prepared to take any chances overloading the grid at any point, so we carry that, which Simon has supplied.” In total, 17 4.75-tonne load shackles were fitted with BroadWeigh’s new TwistLinks which were used to monitor the weights of the production’s two mother grids. Lawrence said: “We have a down stage automation grid weighing in at just under 9 tonne that lifts on 9 x 2 tonne electric chain hoists. Below this is all the moving video elements of the show, so knowing the individual point loads as well as the dynamic loads is vital as we are moving.” Lawrence explained: “While the show isn’t particularly heavy compared to many large productions, it is heavy in a very small, densely populated area in the roof. With the design, we do not have the ability to move things to reduce the loads in the arena, so knowing what is going on is vital. We own our own BroadWeigh kit, so for us it was a real ‘no-brainer’. However, we had to push hard with management to make them understand their roles and responsibilities in the eyes of the law and why, really, load monitoring is a necessity.” Christie Lites provided all the tour trussing requirements. With 80 points to the roof and a total show weight of 39.8-tonnes, and a total motor count 120 motors (80 to roof plus another 40 on the grids), The sizeable elements were secured by 19, 2-tonne Liftket hoists, 49, 1-tonne Liftket hoists, 2, 0.5-tonne Liftket hoists and 4, 0.25-tonne hoists. He continued: “We don’t just move in the Z axis up and down, we also have elements that track up and down stage, so our point loads are constantly changing. The upstage grid on a further 8 hoists is for the large upstage video wall which measures 10.5m wide by 12m high (another 7ft element in its own right). This means we have to be very precise with the line-up of the wall to allow us to remove and replace a section of the screen
SURROUNDED BY LIGHTS AND BODIES “Matty and I grew up in Newcastle,” reminisced Lighting Designed, Darren Purves. “By a twist of fate, I became a lighting designer while the band made it and I was lucky enough to get asked to come and work for them!” With such a LED heavy show, Purves in collaboration with Rylander, needed to light the show in a way that could compliment the content streamed on the various video surfaces. He stated: “The 1975 have such a strong aesthetic as a band and a strong idea of what they want the live show to be which, fortunately for us, is great because they enjoy pushing the boat out and we have to rise to the challenge. I also enjoy working with Tobias because he’s super creative. His approach is different and its fun to work with someone who operates unconventionally.” An eye-watering 286 lighting fixtures were utilised to underscore the video content. “The main role of lighting on this tour is to highlight the band and make sure they’re not lost in the wall video,” Purves delineated. “The intensity of the LED is a challenge and trying to get the band to pop for the cameras when they’re stood in front of a saturated 100% intensity video wall is quite difficult. Thankfully we’ve managed to overcome it and I’m pleased with the end result.” Lighting Crew Chief Josh Barnes divulged: “Another challenge was making sure that all department collaborated in such a small working space. The stage working width was nearly 11m wide. If we were to bring in all the lighting trusses at once we wouldn’t be moving anywhere - it’d stack over the top of everyone. It’s crucial for us to make sure that the load-in procedure is the best it can be.” The lighting rig consisted of 38 Claypaky Sharpy Washes, 12 Martin by Harman MAC Viper AirFXs, 4 MAC Viper Performances and a Robe BMFL Blade. “The band stipulated they wanted a really clean stage with a very small number of fixtures on the floor. We’ve hidden lights in the drum riser and focused on crosslite and sidefill lighting techniques. The rest of the fixtures are in automated trusses, flown trusses or uprights at the side if the upstage video wall.” 90
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in the centre during the performance. To do this, we have to manipulate the truss – the load cells (which are displayed using LOG100 on a large LED monitor) allow us to ensure we do not overload any one-chain hoist. Often, people don’t realise that the slightest movement can transfer huge amounts of weight and could cause a system failure.” The inverted hoist of the grids was manned by 6, 1-tonne Liftket; 11, 0.5-tonne Liftket, 1, 0.25-tonne Liftket hoists; 12, 1-tonne; Kinesys Liftket hoists, 10 0.5-tonne Kinesys Liftket hoists; 2 Litec DST drive tugs with slave. Lawrence reflected: “With all the movement of trusses we had to think about cable management carefully and made a conscious decision to go with Scan-Rig chain sliders. Some 120 are installed in the rig.” He concluded: “Load monitoring is something we all should do more of in my eyes. In an ideal world every piece of lifting equipment being used on a tour would have load cell monitoring. In time this will happen, but it will be a long slow road to get there unless a big accident occurs that makes people open their eyes to it. Near misses happen all the time – we lift heavy loads over people’s heads all the time and just because we’ve weighed it once in rehearsals, one small change on the day and we really don’t know exactly what’s going on. “Ultimately, shows are getting bigger and heavier, but the roofs of the venues aren’t changing, and designers want the look and feel of the show to be constant. By understanding exactly what the roof is structurally capable of, we can then use that information to achieve our goal.” The rest of Lawrence team consisted of Phil Taylor and Jimmy Johnson and Sam Jackson taking on the role of Kinesys Operator. IT’S NOT LIVING (IF IT’S NOT WITH AUDIO) FOH Engineer Jay Rigby was brought into The 1975’s live touring fold in 2015 after being put forward by the tour’s audio supplier. “As soon as I got the gig, I brought in [Monitor Engineer] François Paré, and we’ve been working as a team together for the past 7 years as FOH and Monitor Engineers.” For PA, the tour was carrying a d&b
audiotechnik KSL System, with all arrays ArrayProcessed on D80 amplifiers. “On main hang, we’ve got 20 KSL per side on the main hangs, 20 J8 per side on the side hangs, 16 V8 per side on the 270° hang, 8 flown J Subs per side and 18 of the new SL series subs on the ground (stacked in 9 stacks 2 high) and 8 Y10P front fills.” Rigby lauded d&b audiotechnik’s new addition to its familial line array. “The SL Series subs have been great, it’s kind of a combination of a J sub and a J-INFRA, and so the output of one SL sub equals the output of a J sub and a J-INFRA.” He continued: “Essentially, you get two for the price of one - the punchiness of the J sub and the real low-frequency information of the INFRA in one box. Having those subs has probably been one of the most game changing things on this tour.” Stood on astro turf ‘flown straight in from Spain’ at FOH, Rigby waxed lyrical about the smaller sibling of d&b audiotechnik’s GSL range. “The KSL is fantastic. I always loved the J-Series, but KSL is that next step up,” he gesticulated. “There’s a lot more low-end, and a lot more punch to it compared to the J. The high-end is so smooth at the crossover range where the vocal sits. The vocal is also so much smoother than it was in the past. “There’s nothing wrong with J but this is the next step-up. There have been comments from everyone onsite and the audience about how great it sounds. I’m very impressed,” he enthused. Rigby mixed on a Solid State Logic L500 console. “At the beginning of last year, I covered for a buddy of mine for The War on Drugs and he had an SSL so I had to use it. It was daunting at first because the layout is different, but I got some multitracks from the Eighth Day Sound shop and played around with it for a bit until I was familiar. “After the first show for The War on Drugs, I was totally sold on it. I also used it during the Queens of the Stone Age last year, which is virtually the same rig. Once we finished that, they put it back in the shop, and we took it back out on this. I still love mixing on an analogue console, but this SSL is the console for me which sounds like an analogue desk, with that low-mid 91
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The drums used a Shure Beta 91A and Audio D6 kick drum microphones, Shure Beta 56s on snare top and bottom, SM81s on the hi-hats, Sennheiser Evolution E904s on the toms, Shure KSM32s for the overheads and Shure KSM137s on the ride cymbals. All the guitars were on Kempers. Paré evaluated the band’s mixing requests. “The guys prefer a mix of everything with themselves on top. Matty does like a FOH style mix so he gets that. I do a few delay throws and ride the audience mics quite a bit so I can keep the energy up while still keeping the mix as clear as possible. “I think the production has gone a lot bigger on this album cycle. The band is very involved in every aspect of the show design. I think getting into Arenas gives them a bit more freedom to go big. Who doesn’t like going big?” Rigby reflected: “François and I have been using Eighth Day Sound for the past seven years and all the tours we’ve ever done have been through them. They’ve got worldwide support, with offices in Cleveland, Los Angeles, London and Australia. The nice thing is, if you’re not air freighting your gear everywhere, you can show up in a different continent and they’ve got you covered.” He continued: “They’ve got great customer support, our salesperson Meegan Holmes out of LA has been amazing. We definitely couldn’t do it without her.” Systems Technician, Dan Bloom, joined Rigby in FOH. “At the end of the day, gear is gear – it’s the people who you’re working with – which makes it possible. So huge props go to Dan and François on-stage.” Paré concluded: “This team is such a tight unit. We’re all friends and we all work well together. Eighth Day Sound and the whole of team audio have been excellent as usual. The support from the offices is always fantastic and our techs have added another layer to bringing a good show to our audience.” Lynch agreed: “It makes sense to have Eighth Day Sound onboard because they’re global. The band work hard and are consistently touring with very little gaps in-between. The ability to pick up and receive audio kit across the world is a lifesaver.” Aiding the audio due of Rigby and Paré were Monitor Tech Eoin Collins and PA Techs Jay Butler and Declan Povey.
kind of growl. For the 1975, we added a bunch of channels, so it’s been very appropriate for this type of show.” When it came to the mix, Rigby adopted a hands-on approach. “I’m using some snapshots for the desk, mainly, for effect changes because the band really wanted album specific effects on the vocals. Besides that, I’m mixing in an analogue style, which is my preferred workflow.” Rigby’s extensive FOH Outboard Rack boasted an Alan Smaart C2 compressor; a GML 8200 parametric equaliser; 2 Empirical Labs distressors (1 x Lead Vocal, 1 x Bass); 1 x XTA D2 Dynamic EQ (Bass); 1 x API 2500 compressor (Drum Group); 2 x DBX 160 into SPL Transient Designer (Kick Group & Snare Group); 1 x Yamaha SPX990 (Drum Gated Reverb) and 2 x Lake LM44 processors (System Drive). He confessed: “I don’t necessarily need most of my outboard gear because I can do most of the stuff with the desk, but I like having the tactile feeling of the gear as a backup.” For recording purposes, 2 Apple Mac Mini running Waves Tracks Live and a DiGiGrid MGO interface sat at Rigby’s fingertips. “I have one Mac Mini for multitrack recording under Waves Track Live. The secondary Mac Mini is doing the R1, which is the controller for all the d&b audiotechnik amplifiers and the PA. I use it everyday for virtual playback for tuning rooms and whatnot, which means you can setup without having to ask the band to come onstage and sound check. Over in monitor world, Paré talked TPi through stage sound. “Everything is almost all in ears apart from 2 d&b audiotechnik B22 subs a side, there’s no speakers at all on stage. I go between 16 to 20 channels of Shure PSM1000 depending on if we have extra background vocalists on the show. I also have 4 Shure P9HW Hardwire in ears and a butt kicker for George. I use the sub to complement the in ears to be honest. Band members like to feel it, so the subs and the butt kicker helps with that.” For control, Paré opted for his go-to mixing console, a DiGiCo SD5. “I’m a DiGiCo guy through and through. I can use most consoles, but I always seem to go back to DiGiCo. Especially the SD7 and SD5. I love the workflow of those consoles and I feel like the design of those consoles had monitors in mind.” When it came to outboard gear, Paré travelled light. “I have a few units that I like to have. I use a Yamaha SPX2000, a Bricasti M7 and a distressor. The rest is done in the console.” Paré specified between 6 and 10 channels of Shure Axient digital for wireless microphones. In addition, 14 channels of Shure ULX-D wireless system for guitars and bass. “Now that the RF spectrum has been reduced to about 150 Mhz. Digital RF is now becoming indispensable. You don’t have intermods with digital, so you can fit a lot more into a small range.” The band utilised JH Audio Roxanne IEMs. “I think the Roxanne’s are one of the most musical ears out there. They work really well with this band.” The vocal microphone package consisted of Telefunken M80 for Matty while the rest of the band are on Shure products, in particular, KSM8 for Ross and Adam, and a SM58 for Jamie and a beta56 for George.
LOGISTICS Ensuring the crew got from point A to B each day was Fly By Nite. “They been my logistics provider since ’99 and I’ve got a personal relationship with them,” commented Lynch. “The way I see it, you can hire trucks from anybody but trusting that you have the support and back up on the road is vital.” Sarah’s Kitchen was tasked with feeding the troops and keeping the camp morale high. “You can get pots and pans anywhere but it’s the people who cook the food that you like and looking after people is terrific,” enthused Lynch. “Sarah always has great teams, it’s really important for us when we come to run a production that we look after our people and get the best out of them. As far as I’m concerned, when it comes to crew, everybody makes a life choice to be on the road but in doing so, sacrifice an awful lot. They miss important milestones so it’s important to look after them and if you don’t, they won’t look after you. It’s as simple as that.” LOVE IT IF WE MADE IT In 2016, when TPi first crossed paths with The 1975 the band’s sights were ‘firmly set on arenas’ and at the time we were anticipating what the band could produce once they hit the bigger stages. Fast-forward three years and before our eyes, the band has evolved from academy-sized venues to arena sellouts. Rylander’s distinctive show design scaled proportionally with band’s global popularity. All facets of the show’s production elements evoke the band’s genre-spanning back catalogue. From the monochromatic theme of their debut self-titled record to the neon pink of I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It, and now, the band’s latest digital aesthetic. Clever gags and a core crew of creatives deployed across a series of UK pitstops have catapulted The 1975 to the mantle of arena tour innovators and the fans love it as they’ve made it. TPi Photos: Jordan Hughes www.the1975.com www.radiotek.co.uk www.brilliantstages.com www.prg.com www.8thdaysound.com www.christielites.com www.riggingcoltd.com www.broadweigh.com www.flybynite.co.uk www.sarahskitchentouring.com 92
L8’s Founding Director Dmitriy Giventar
L8’S DMITRIY GIVENTAR TPi’s Stew Hume speaks to L8 Founding Director Dmitriy Giventar about the history of visualisation software.
When it comes to visualisation software, Dmitriy Giventar has been in the game longer than most. The Founding Director of L8 helped write his first piece of software back in the late ‘90s immediately after graduating from the University of Kharkov, Ukraine. “It was called RoboShop Digital,” reminisced Giventar. “It was originally developed for our student community but two years later I sold it and joined a new company, Light Converse (LC).” In this new venture Giventar worked on product development in the fast-paced environment where lighting control software was constantly being transformed. However, having worked under the LC banner for several years, Giventar thought it was time for a change. “As the user base and market grew we felt increasingly limited by the business structure. Last year, I made the hard decision to sell all my shares in Light Converse and formed a new company - L8.” This new company is fully owned by the development team with Giventar acting as Founding Director. Existing Light Converse clients continue to receive direct support from L8, which will exclusively develop and sell LC products. Following the announcement of L8’s construction, the company made a statement which stated: “We have made this significant step in LC’s development to improve our support and supply the most technologically advanced product in visualisation world. We will continue to provide our customers and dealers with support and sales worldwide from our new offices.” Giventar explained the benefits L8’s integrated technology offers show designers. “First of all, it’s a tool to help lighting design ideas be born. There is a huge library of lights with about 5,000 profiles from different manufacturers. Onboard control allows you to explore new fixtures quickly. L8 is also fully integrated with CAD, Vectorworks, AutoCad, 3DSMax and Maya. Users can create accurate construction design in CAD and lighting designs in L8. After all that, you can put everything back to CAD for all your paperwork.” Giventar listed some of the major developments he has witnessed in this burgeoning side of live events. “I believe one of the most advanced steps made is the ability to generate an image using Ray Tracing technology in real time,” he stated. “The classic rendering pipeline is based on primitives and simply rasterizes them. But Ray Tracing uses a completely different way.” Essentially, Ray Tracing takes a pixel from the screen and pushes it to the depth. It then calculates a collision with the surface and reflection of this ray. “Now we know whether the ray hits the light source or not,” explained Giventar. “It’s certainly a big step towards fully realistic visualisation. Currently L8 are the only visualisation product on the market using Ray Tracing technology for more than a year having
first introduced it in Version 59 in January last year. When you see the visualisation of the beams in L8, you’ll find no compromises. They are true to real life and because of this technology, no matter the direction or zoom, even focus and frost are visualised correctly.” The founder was quick to commented on the importance of VR in this sector. “We first started supporting VR in 2013 with Oculus and HTC,” he remembered to TPi. “You can also setup your visualisation studio with a 3D Stereo projection polarised screen or a 65-inch glass free 3D-TV. All these technologies are in the box. It feels completely different to create and you can do 3D/VR presentation of the project for your customers!” As L8 continues to advance its technology, Giventar asserted the importance of customer feedback in the creations of better products. “I would say our product development is based on more than user feedback,” he mused. “Supporting our users is of great importance to us. In our opinion, the path from the user to developer should be short. It’s hard to do, but we must. You can have direct contact via email.” With the help of this user feedback, collected over the past three months, L8 has released 537 new files and 54 fixes in the update. “It’s a huge amount of work,” reflected Giventar, who explained how this level of dedication is necessary to give customers the service L8 believes they require. Light Converse’s product have historically been free from yearly fees, and the same is true for L8. “We did that because we are passionate believers in helping the industry grow,” commented Giventar. “At this moment, we can say the L8 product will be supported without fees, but some changes must be made. We will separate current product technology and the new technologies which we will unveil in the future. These new technologies are automatically added to new licenses.” For other users, it will be possible to purchase them as separate Feature Packs. For example, license upgrade to FP19 means some new technologies added in year 2019 are available under that license. But there will never be an “annual version” which leaves loyal customers in the dust, asserted Giventar. “Our customers will always have a fully updated version to use. We are very excited about the next few years. It will be an interesting journey into the technology-advanced future.” Currently, the company offers a new opportunity for designers to showcase their work and skills. For the month of March, users can try out the L8 product at no charge. “This year’s challenge is for everyone,” said Giventar. “On the 1 March, we published a special version on the website which is equal to the NET license of the L8 software, but works for a month free of charge so anyone can create a project up to 512.” The winner will be announced on 4 April 4 at Prolight+Sound in Frankfurt, Germany. www.l8.ltd 95
IN-EAR MONITORS This month TPi speaks to some of the leading manufacturers of IEMs to talk through some of their latest products and the advantages they bring to those hitting the stage and the crew behind the curtain.
technology, which insures perfect phase and timing across all frequencies. The company recommend Roxanne for any performer on stage, due to its extended headroom and full range. A versatile powerhouse. Each set of Jerry Harvey Audio IEMs are designed and handcrafted in the United States for your ears and includes a personalised Jerry Harvey Signature Carbon Fiber IEM case. Since its release in 2013, Roxanne has become one of the most widely used in-ear monitors for professional touring musicians and crew. Artists currently using the Roxanne include: Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Sam Smith, alt-J, The xx, Miranda Lambert, Def Leppard, and Sam Hunt. For more information on the Roxanne and the rest of its products contact an authorised custom IEM company dealer or visit: www.jhaudio.com
JERRY HARVEY AUDIO The Roxanne is a 12 driver in-ear monitor, designed with quad low, mid, and quad high balanced armatures. This IEM was designed to provide a realistic but musical sound, with the widest dynamic range and extended headroom of any IEM on the market. The Roxanne cable features a patented 4-pin aluminium locking connector with adjustable bass pod, this gives the user flexibility to vary their bass response from 0dB to +15dB The Roxanne also features FreqPhase, JH Audioâ€™s patented wave guide 96
Custom In-Ear Monitors The ultimate custom in-ear monitors for the on-stage musician
Designed for on stage use, as well as high-end listening, and mixing mastered music, the Elite Series is perfect for any musician looking for a custom fit that can be worn comfortably for hours.
Enables you to hear yourself, your fellow performers, and the audience like never before. Let the world in, and set the stage for the best performance of your life.
IN EAR MONITORS
“With UE LIVE, you’re getting our best; pure, raw stage energy. We also needed a sweat-proof and tour-proof cable system, so we co-developed a solution from the ground up with a company that specialises in hearing aid and medical-grade cables. The newly released UE Superbax Cable IPX Connection System was designed to handle everything a musician deals with nightly - sweat, makeup, hairspray, humidity, set up, break down and travel.” UE LIVE can be found in the ears of musicians and industry professionals including sound engineers for Seal and That’ll Be The Day, the NBC Universal Production team, composer Geoff Westley, Ashley Chappell, Chloe x Halle and Tré Cool of Green Day. “I have long preferred the sound of the UE range, and the band too have always used them, so it was an obvious move to go with the new UE LIVE for the latest album campaign,” said Dan Ungaretti, Monitor Engineer for Mumford and Sons. “To me, they are simply the best IEM I have ever used - clear and natural, yet powerful at the same time, and they still sound like you are mixing an actual live gig, which I think makes the show enjoyable for the artist and myself too!” Powerful, clean, crisp and bold, UE LIVE goes all out to make sure you hear everything. It is a perfect balance of detail and musicality. It is our best monitor yet. To demo UE LIVE visit Ultimate Ears UK Dealer Custom IEM company. www.ultimateears.com
ULTIMATE EARS Ultimate Ears LIVE is the ideal stage performance piece. Perfect for festivals, arenas and stadiums, the company’s flagship custom in-ear monitor uses the brand’s patented hybrid acoustic architecture to offer a perfect solution for touring musicians. Incorporating the most complex and powerful acoustic systems Ultimate Ears has ever developed, UE LIVE features six balanced armatures, one dynamic driver and the True Tone Plus; an upgraded version of our proprietary True Tone Drivers. Each driver is designed to handle its specific frequency range - giving UE LIVE the purest signal path it has ever created. UE LIVE IEMs come standard with the upgraded Ultimate Ears Superbax Cable and IPX Connection System - a durable new cable connection system that can withstand the rigors of music touring and minimise the need for service and maintenance. “Our intention when designing our new flagship model was to create not only the best sound, but also the most reliable monitor possible,” said Philippe Depallens, Vice President and General Manager of Ultimate Ears.
IN EAR MONITORS
Crossover Network. The Legend X is the culmination of everything the company strive for. Energetic and addicting, the smooth treble rides across a deep-reaching, impactful low end. Top-tier transparency and separation dance across one of the largest and most three-dimensional sound stages in the market. Emprire Ears are made up of a group of ambitious engineers, musicians, and audiophiles. With over 30 years experience in acoustic engineering and manufacturing, spanning the medical, professional, and consumer markets. The team has the in-depth knowledge and vision to bring you revolutionary in-ear monitors like the award-winning Zeus in 2015 and now the Legend X. Renowned users of the brand include Teyana Taylor, Future and Flo Rida. www.empireears.com
EMPIRE EARS The flagship of the Empire Earsâ€™ X Series, the Legend X takes in-ear monitor performance to the highest possible point. Pushing limits at every turn. The Legend X is a world-class, prestige IEM from a new era of uncompromising design and ground-breaking engineering. Every facet of this IEM has been considered - from its armament of 7 drivers - including twin Weapon IX 9mm subwoofers, to its industry leading, state-of-the-art 10-way synX
CLOSED DYNAMIC HEADPHONE
Monitoring. Editing. Mixing. In the Studio. At Home. On the Road.
Discover the NDH 20 â€“ the first Neumann headphone: NDH20.neumann.com NDH20_210x297_tpi_UK.indd 1
IN EAR MONITORS
SENSAPHONICS 3D AARO is a state of the art IEM system with patented Active Ambient technology, providing the ability to capture natural ambience and add it to the monitor mix. The system consists of custom ambient earphones and a compact bodypack mixer. Soft silicone earpieces each contain a full-range condenser microphone, creating a binaural pickup system to capture ambient sound with accurate 3D directionality. Operationally, the binaural (stereo) audio from the microphones is routed to the bodypack mixer, where the user adds it to the monitor mix (typically from a wireless bodypack receiver) as desired, using an 8-step rotary knob. Advanced electronics ensure distortion-free pickup of sound up to 140dB with zero added latency. 3D AARO allows users to hear stage ambience and interact with band mates and the audience, eliminating the issue of being too isolated. High profile users of 3D AARO include such artists as Radiohead, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Dave Matthews Band, Tal Wilkenfeld, and JAY-Z. This is particularly noteworthy because all were direct artist purchases, as Sensaphonics does not offer “free gear” endorsements. 3D AARO uses proprietary full-range drivers, designed to deliver accurate, studio reference sound quality with no crossover distortion. The system is offered in single and dual-driver configurations, and is also available with universal-fit ambient earphones (3D-U AARO). Additional features include Full Ambient mode, Bass Boost, a switchable limiter, and a Record Out function. Full Ambient mode delivers the ambient signal at full volume (unity gain) while ducking the monitor mix level for easy communication with band mates and audience interaction, all at the flick of a toggle switch. The bodypack also sports a stereo output for the ambience microphones, making it easy to record a performance
or rehearsal. Internal switches provide access to a +6 dB Bass Boost function and a limiter that provides protection from transients and extreme dynamics. Sensaphonics is dedicated to helping musicians and engineers to preserve their hearing for longer, healthier careers. Our custom-fit earpieces use soft silicone that flexes with the ear canal, maintaining its seal with maximum isolation and longwearing comfort. This isolation effectively reduces the noise floor, so the monitor mix is heard more clearly at lower volume levels, promoting safer listening. Sensaphonics is based in Chicago, Illinois. Its products are available through an extensive network of audiologists trained in working with musicians. www.sensaphonics.com
64 AUDIO product is vital for consistency throughout the production. Currently, multiple A4t IEMs and other 64 Audio IEMs are being used on GRAMMY Award winning recording artist Lauren Daigle’s 60-city Look Up Child tour. The A4t delivers an immersive listening experience with a lively mid-range and powerful bass. Its sound signature is balanced and neutral, shining forth with a new level of clarity thanks to the tia driver and the tia singlebore that aids in removing unwanted resonance and distortion. Also featured in the A4t is apex, a pneumatically-interactive vent that relieves fatigue-causing sound pressure inherent in other earphone designs. Also featured is LID technology, ensuring the A4t maintains its sound signature regardless of the source - perfect for musicians and music lovers plugging into a variety of equipment, and 3D Fit, 64 Audio’s proprietary 3D printing process that results in a personalised fit not found in any other IEM. The A4t includes four precision balanced armature drivers (transducer configuration: 1 tia high, 1 hi-mid, 1 low-mid, 1 low), a frequency response of 16Hz – 20kHz, 111dB/mW sensitivity, an integrated 4-way passive crossover, and isolation of -20dB w/ m20 module, -15dB w/ m15 module. Like all 64 Audio custom IEMs, the A4t monitors are customisable and are hand built from the customer’s uniquely shaped ear impressions. They are inherently noise isolating and are designed to work with all hard-wired and wireless monitor systems. www.64audio.com
Building off 64 Audio’s popular 4-driver design, the A4t is the entry into company’s proprietary tia technology, delivering exceptionally lifelike clarity and musicality. Its balanced sound signature makes it the perfect fit for just about any genre as well for engineers, musicians, and performers alike, making it an ideal addition to plays, concerts and other events where the importance of having everyone utilise the same manufacturer’s
TAKING LINE ARRAY
TO A WHOLE
NEW LEVEL Sharing the same aesthetic and sonic signatures as the acclaimed GEO M10 and compact M6 line arrays, the new GEO M12 takes its place as the flagship of the range, achieving a peak SPL of 140dB. And with great power comes great versatility, with integral rigging, a dedicated sub, plug & play power options and touring / installation versions making GEO M12 a system that performs at a whole new level in a wide variety of applications.
Thinking. Inside the box. J#43108 - GEO M12 Ad - TPI 210x297.indd 1
IN EAR MONITORS
WESTONE Westone has been working with ears since 1959, and has been using its knowledge in the hearing healthcare industry, combined with the passion for music from the Cartwright brothers to create the best sounding, most comfortable earphones in the market today. The ES60 is the brainchild of Master Designer Karl Cartwright, who sought to create the best performing and most comfortable custom earpiece for professional musicians and music enthusiast alike. The ES60 has been Westone’s flagship for the past five years and there is a reason it hasn’t been bummed from the top of the list. The Westone ES60 is the ultimate custom in-ear monitor, handcrafted with six balanced armature drivers in each earphone and a multistage crossover design that yields unrivaled sonic purity. The ES60 represents the culmination of everything Westone and the Cartwright’s have learned about in-ear monitor technology since they brought the first custom monitors to market in 1996. Designed for the professional musician or music enthusiast, the Westone proprietary flex-canal gives the user the most comfortable in-ear monitor on the market today. Many performing musicians choose to have the ES60 in their ears while performing on stage. Today bands relying on the ES60s in their performances range from American rock band, Styx, to members of the Dancing with the Stars TV show in-house band. The ES60 is perfect for on stage and studio use, serious listening, and for anyone wanting the best sound and fit out of an earpiece.
Westone ES60 custom-moulded six-driver earphones features: • Custom-moulded six-driver earphones for career musicians and serious audiophiles. • Custom-fit specifically to the contour users ears for maximum comfort. • Flex Canal tips are easy to insert and conform to your ear canal • Durable cold-pour acrylic housings block out up to 25dB of noise. • Six compact balanced-armature drivers deliver unrivaled acoustic definition. • Dual Bore design isolates low and high-frequencies for maximum clarity. • High-flexibility, field-replaceable EPIC cable reinforced with aramid fibre. • Order the exact color configuration, cable, and accessories. www.westone.com
HÖRLUCHS THE FAVOURITE OF THE PROS The series HL5 impresses with top technology, perfect sound and above all by the individual customisation. Due to the compact design of the Hörluchs Smart Surface, the earphone sits discreetly and inconspicuously in the ear and is therefore very popular with stage musicians. These in-ears are the main product for professionals and for absolute sound lovers. The one, two, three, or four-way systems offer a high-resolution sound for the individual requirement - bass boost or balanced sound, everything is possible. Additionally available are various cable variants, many colours and exchangeable filters for cerumen protection. DEFINED POSITIONING What it is that gives Hörluchs in-ear monitoring that perfectly clear sound? Defined positioning: an entirely new approach to the positioning of highend components. As specialists in the installation of premium electronics in ear-moulds, its audiologists have succeeded in positioning, fixing and firmly anchoring all electronic components in a defined manner using the latest 3D-laser manufacturing techniques. Vibrations, spurious resonances or disturbing artefacts which can cause light hissing if positioning is not defined, have therefore become passé. Not to be beaten in terms of sound engineering: the Hörluchs in-ear monitors. www.hoerluchs.com
Each ear canal is different and each shape has a different effect on the sound that reaches the eardrum. That‘s why tailor-made and custom-made IEMs are among Hörluchs top sellers. Whether professional musicians on stage, the gamer on his computer, technicians at concerts or lovers of the home hi-fi system: The perfect sound experience arises when the individual taste in individually shaped ear is hit by the sound out of individually crafted in-ears.
VIDEO PRODUCTION HIRE & EVENT SERVICES “Their passion, attention to detail and visionary approach to product development, along with creative interpretation, put the company above the competition” Festival Supplier Awards Judges
“It’s great to work with a team we can trust 100% and a company that values pushing the boundaries of creative production as much as us!” Boomtown Fair
01227 368867 firstname.lastname@example.org www.videoillusions.net
ADLIB’S NEW FACILITY
ADLIB’S NEW FACILITY Following a long search for a new Liverpool premises, Adlib opened the doors of its new HQ for a housewarming party on 29-30 January. TPi’s Jacob Waite braved the snow to see how things are done ‘the Adlib way’.
During an unusually snow-stricken week in late January, TPi, along with hundreds of students, engineers and technicians, made the trip to Knowsley Business Park to spend two days at Adlib’s new facility to get an insight into the company’s latest audio, lighting, rigging and video offerings. With over 83,600sq ft to play with, including a large preproduction space, WYSIWYG and programming studio, training suite, showroom, dedicated service facilities and a huge open plan office it is a fantastic investment within the continual development of Adlib. The first day was tailored towards the education market, enabling students, tutors, and educational institutions to get hands on with product, meet the manufacturers, and attend seminars on emerging technologies. L-Acoustics presented demos of the L-ISA hyperreal sound concept, and Sennheiser showed the possibilities and future of the Ambeo VR mic audio capture system and their 3D immersive audio experience. Adlib’s sales, installation and rental teams were on hand and two panel sessions were hosted by the PSA’s Andy Lenthall to discuss how to get into the industry, career pathways and Adlib’s proven apprenticeship scheme. Adlib’s crew bookers were also available to discuss possible work experience and register opportunities for future work. The second day was focussed on business and the industry, featuring all of the manufacturers, seminars and demos from the educational day plus giving a relaxed environment for clients, technicians and engineers to reacquaint themselves or really get to know the Adlib team. It was a good opportunity for people to explore the new facilities network and discuss any upcoming projects. For people looking to get hands on, there were many opportunities to try out Adlib’s most recent investments such as grandMA3 consoles, Robe RoboSpots, or even have a go at programming some video looks into a Green Hippo Karst+ system. All with expert advice from their in-house technical team. The event was supported by many of Adlib’s leading partner brands including – on the audio side – L-Acoustics, CODA Audio, DiGiCo, Allen & Heath, Midas, Soundcraft, DPA, Shure, Sennheiser and Yamaha Commercial
Audio, with lighting and video represented by Avolites, Astera LED, Chauvet, Martin by Harman, Ayrton, Robe, Panasonic plus Canford and many more. A spectacular lighting and visual show illustrated some of Adlib’s creative visual technology and capabilities, created by a collaboration of their in-house team of lighting and visual designers. This showed off several different lighting fixtures and the scope of the ever-growing video rental department and some of its recent acquisitions including Unilumin LED screen and a variety of media servers. The new warehouse space has 11m of headroom and several industrial cranes. The general ‘shop floor’ workflow steps into a new dimension of efficiency. This includes designated areas for audio, lighting, rigging and video kit, plus drapes, set and soft goods, specialist rooms for projectors, mics and radio systems, networking and control and a purpose-built stock room. A massive central prep area is at the hub of the operation, enabling large touring systems to be fully prepped and set up in ‘pre-production’ configurations, while a controlled checking area ensures that all elements from each discipline for the project will leave the warehouse together. The front of the building has over 200 car parking spaces and the loading bays at the back can accommodate Adlib’s ever-growing fleet of vehicles which includes their own artics, 26-tonners, transits and smaller run-around vans. The new facility is well worth checking out but how did Adlib become the company that it is today and who are the team behind it? 34 YEARS IN THE MAKING Time has flown by since Andy Dockerty established the company in 1984, taking the first steps in building a brand that would grow steadily and diversify to provide technical and production solutions in the UK and across the globe. Dockerty has brought together a team of people who have built up a 107
ADLIB’S NEW FACILITY
Adlib Directors: Andy Dockerty, Phil Stoker, Dave Jones, John Hughes, Dave Kay.
formidable reputation as one of the country’s leading rental houses. Some of those key team members include Dave Jones, Phil Stoker, Dave Kay and Roger Kirby - who joined in the ‘90s and have since gone on to become directors and shareholders of Adlib. The addition of John Hughes in 2006 added the essential commercial and strategic edge that provided direction and focus for the future. Some senior management experience was also added recently to provide additional assistance above and beyond the original directors in the shape of Rich Rowley and the next generation of client managers include Tom Edwards, Richy Nicholson and Dave Eldridge potentially providing succession for another generation. Despite its growth; Adlib is still driven by that same dedication with which Dockerty built the company on. He stated: “Our ethos of people first, still carries after all these years and the team reflect the nucleus of what we’re all about.” In addition to its origins in audio rental, Adlib now boasts lighting, rigging, video, sales, manufacturing and installation departments, a Scottish operation and a burgeoning service department to support the growing customer base. In addition to specialising in the nuts and bolts of live touring production, Adlib have recently diversified into specialised installation projects and all disciplines are supported by their in-house design division. “In our expansion, I’d like to think we’ve retained our identity within what and how we do things,” asserted Dockerty. “I believe that is because our team all share our original ethos and it isn’t ‘all about me’ any more, the key members of the team have developed their areas of specialties far further than I could have imagined.” Key to Adlib’s continued success is its focus on fostering and nurturing talent through in-house training and apprenticeships. Dockerty explained: “We run an in-house mentoring program to ensure that those coming through have a more senior technician to look up to for guidance. Another one of the original team, Marc Peers, has been a key part of this and brought many engineers up through the ranks. “The occasional recruit may know more about tech than we do.
However, it’s about showing them ‘this is how a gig works’ and ‘this is the hierarchy of people that you need to be aware of’.” He outlined: “Ideally, we take the purism and enthusiasm of recruits, which is fantastic, and teach them the conventions and structure of the business.” DIRECTORS CUT Phil Stoker and Dave Jones have spent over two decades at Adlib managing, motivating and training the audio team, in what can be a challenging working environment. Stoker said: “Over 10 years ago, Andy had the vision to put a board of directors together who at the time, were pretty young. Andy pulled us into a room and said ‘I want there to be a future for you guys’ and that’s really coming home to roost now. “The current board of directors is really strong, we have all grown in business together and complement each other well. Hats off to Andy for bringing everyone in and having the belief and foresight to get it together.” On the topic of the new HQ, Jones said: “The building has been perfect for us, there’s nothing huge that we’ve done to change the infrastructure as it’s such a high spec building. It will certainly set us up for the next 10-15 years easy with plenty of space to grow.” Before moving to Knowsley, Adlib was headquartered in a considerably smaller premises. If you have visited the Fleming Road site over the last couple of years you may have noticed that it was bulging at the seams, boxed off by myriad of mezzanines. Stoker reflected: “At our old site it was taking us up to 45 minutes to get a truck in and out because of how busy and small the old carpark was. Now it’s just straight in and out.” He continued: “The Knowsley demo rooms are brilliant, and our fantastic new facility allows people to come and witness the kit in action. From a manufacturers point of view, their products will be represented in the highest possible way.” Despite the astronomic growth, Stoker reflected that very little had changed within the company: “To me, it doesn’t feel any different to when we were eight guys stood outside a small industrial unit. We’re just operating on a bigger scale and we’re still making it up as we go along,” 108
ADLIB’S NEW FACILITY
he smirked. “When we first came to view this place, we thought it was out of our league and it would never happen and then with a little bit of determination and luck, we ended up pushing it through.” Jones conceded: “The new place is a great selling point. It reflects our image as a professional company. For a long time, we’ve been considered professional for our work at shows, festivals and stadiums etc. However, if you’d have visited us at our old place – I’d envisage you’d be underwhelmed.” Director Dave Kay started at Adlib in 1994 on the back of an Electronics and Communications Degree at Liverpool University and working all hours in the student’s union. After cutting his teeth as an audio engineer with Adlib, he now oversees the systems that make Adlib tick and keeps up to date with all of the accreditation that is necessary, “The new site has been an exciting challenge, it took a few months to get the building systems back on line and up to spec after it being vacant for a few years but it is working really well for us now.” When asked about how Adlib has developed: “The whole Adlib strategy is reinvestment,” he began. “We invest every year in new products and technologies to cater for different markets and diversify our services, this helps us to even out the seasonal variations.” Although, Kay admitted sometimes it’s also about having the confidence to “take a punt”. He delineated: “Anyone can own and operate equipment but for us it’s about the service we deliver and the people that represent us. We’re proud of everyone that works for us. It’s them that make Adlib what it is.” Since joining Adlib in 2006, John Hughes’ strategic approach and business acumen led him to quickly join the team of directors aged 29. He continues to oversee the rapid growth of sales and installations, develop Adlib’s business across the board, as well as overseeing operations in HR
and finance. “It’s very much a people-based company and it’s important for us to keep that,” he began. “It’s difficult when you have over 160 employees, but I think we’re managing. The new site gives us much more transparency and allows us to really focus on efficiencies and driving the company forward. We are re-organising and simplifying the workflows and company structure which was never possible at the old site. Now that the team can work much more efficiently, we can increase our capacity. “As a board of Directors, we all have different skills which complement each other, we like to focus on the bits we can improve rather than sitting on our laurels and we will continue to create a mix of the right characters to drive forward and maintain the values that Andy has instilled.” Hughes denoted the company’s culture of nurturing and developing talent commenting how numerous Adlib apprentices have gone on to become lighting designers, engineers or system techs. Hughes stated: “Everyone started coming in at entry level with huge opportunity to grow into whatever role you want, and we try to foster that mentality. It depends on the path they choose, and we try to guide and assist as much as possible by working with mentors and senior engineers.” ADLIB VISIONARIES The lighting and video departments are headed up jointly by Rich Rowley and Tom Edwards. Rowley has witnessed Adlib go from a small, one-unit complex on Woodend Avenue, Liverpool to its latest state-of-the-art facility. Rowley picked up the story: “It’s such a young, enthusiastic and dynamic team that feels like a family. We don’t have any corporate handcuffs here, there’s the passion, drive and determination partnered with the youth and spirit and that’s what makes it special...” 110
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ADLIB’S NEW FACILITY
Tom Edwards joins Rowley in Adlib’s flourishing visual department. “Rich has been a key person in pushing the lighting and video departments forward and reinforcing professionalism. He’s been hugely influential in such a short period of time.” Edwards recounted the department’s modus operandi. “There’s a lot of synergy between our departments and the engineers work across all disciplines. Audio has a huge reputation and heritage, so the challenge has been to grow the visual side of the business while retaining the ethos and values refined over 34 years of business.” Despite being in its formative stages, Adlib’s visual department has enjoyed a packed summer calendar. “It’s been by far the busiest period both the lighting and video departments at Adlib have ever had,” said Edwards. “The highlights for me are BBC’s Radio 1’s Biggest Weekend and Rewind Festivals where we handled full production across the three sites. We also worked on the Liverpool’s World Cup Fanzone event, where we had 24 hours’ notice to pull together an event for 10,000 people in the city centre.” The new space couldn’t be ‘more perfect’ according to Edwards: “The pre-production space has been a particular success. So far, we’ve hosted Deacon Blue and the Kaiser Chiefs supporting them anything from looming up floor packages to a significant amount of programming both live and in our programming/WYG suite. Anything we can do to support and increase efficiency on site is of paramount importance to us. We’ve made improvements across the board in de-prep processes from video walls to intelligent lights. Overall, it allows us to do what we love most. Take a step back; evaluate and improve – a process we never stop.” Rowley rounded up by stating that it was, “the Adlib ethos” that makes
the company stand out. A sentiment which was echoed by Edwards: “We call it the Adlib Way which is something which Andy has bred into the business for over 30 years. It’s something he looks for in every member of staff at any level. “There’s professionalism and a way of working that is expected which goes way beyond knowing how equipment works. All of our Account Managers get personally invested into every project. Many ‘clients’ end up as friends – it’s about relationship and an old school way of doing business that we hold close to our hearts. It flows all the way through the company” continued Edwards. He summed up: “Our engineers are approachable regardless of what discipline they are working for. It is for this reason many of our clients not only like dealing with a particular Account Manager; but also, a particular technician(s). It’s always a fun balancing act, but as always, we do our best!” THE ADLIB WAY Dockerty has the last word. He concluded: “None of this would happen if we didn’t have the right people. If all the departments were working to a different script, we wouldn’t be here today. As we grow, our objective is to keep our people-based ethos throughout.” And despite leaving Adlib one wing mirror fewer due to a losing battle the Merseyside snow (that’s a story for another time), you can’t argue with Dockerty’s sentiments… TPi Photos: Adlib, Louise Stickland & Steve Sroka www.adlib.co.uk 112
NRG AT THE TPI AWARDS A growing tradition in the Robe camp, a handpicked group of Next Robe Generation (NRG) students joined this year’s TPi Awards lighting crew.
Making its annual home at Battersea Evolution at the end of February, the TPi Awards welcomed over 1,600 personnel from all corners of the live events industry for an annual ceremony to celebrate another year of jaw dropping live touring feats. Robe were on site providing its part to the stunning production, supplying over 300 of its fixtures across the venue. Lighting Designer Nathan Wan returned to head up the visual spectacular alongside Associate LD Andy Webb. Prior to the evening’s festivities, TPi spoke to Wan about the six, fresh-faced NRG (Next Robe Generation) students brought on to fill the crew roster. “It gets harder each year to whittle it down to six students to join the TPi Awards crew,” began Wan, reflecting on this year’s selection process. “We had so many strong applications come through and it just seems the calibre keeps going up.” Launched in 2016, NRG manufactures in-house incentives to offer future lighting professionals the chance to meet other like-minded individuals. Not only that, NRG offers networking opportunities for students to rub shoulders with leading lighting specialists. The process, as it was for the year before, involved students submitting an application, followed by an interview with Wan. “The second stage, which we introduced last year, involved the interviewees creating a lighting design for a fixed digital model. The reason for this was for the students to really showcase their creative talents.” Eventually after the process came to an end, six students were picked. Alex Merrett took on the role of Assistant Lighting Designer with Owen Yelland being offered Systems Tech and lead RoboSpot operator. The main bar was over seen by Espen Karlsen and supported by Ben Linwood. Finally, overseeing the Robe VIP bar were Jasmine Williams and Georgia Wren. “I’ve been particularly impressed with Alex this year,” stated Wan. The LD had brought Merrett on-board to aid in the lighting programing for the show, which included a three-day stint at Robe’s Northampton facility. “Alex had worked on the Awards last year, over seeing the main bar. The difference a year makes is quite incredible. He’s a different guy to the one I first met last year. One of the main reasons I picked him was that he is calm and doesn’t seem to rattle so easily – a necessity when you are working on a show like the TPi Awards where there are a room full of knowledgeable critics. He’s done so well this year and has got a bright future ahead of him.” Merrett, who is in his last year at the University of South Wales, spoke to TPi about some of his responsibilities with this year’s event. “In the initial stages I created the lighting paper work on WYSIWYG along with programming the show with Nathan,” he reflected. “During the event I operated the lighting.” Although having worked on this project in 2018, the young LD detailed some of the things he had picked up from this year’s awards. “This event is one where all attendees are looking at everything. You have to make sure everything is perfect down to the minor details!” Having ticked off Assistant LD for the TPi Awards from his list, Merrett already has a few other jobs in the pipeline. “But I currently have 5 weeks of my University course left – so that’s my main focus right now.” 114
D Y N A M I C S TA G E T E C H N O L O G Y
prolight + sound 02. - 05. April 2019
FRANKFURT Hall 12 Booth D45
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Working with Merrett was Owen Yelland from Rose Bruford College. Yelland worked as lighting systems tech for the second year following his success and aptitude for the job at the 2018 event. The main bar area - an extremely important space as the entry portal where everyone walks to gather for the show-stopping evening ahead - was designed, programmed and operated by Espen Karlsen, also from Rose Bruford College, assisted by Ben Linwood from Guildford School of Acting. Finally, the Robe VIP lounge lighting design was a collaboration between Jasmine Williams from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff and Georgia Wren from LIPA. Wan concluded: “Andy and I really enjoyed working with all the NRG students. They bring vitality, fresh perspectives and lots of enthusiasm to the project, and I hope it was a character-building experience for them to know what it’s like being under pressure at the sharp end of the industry”. www.robe.cz www.productionfutures.co.uk
ALEX MERRETT ASSISTANT LIGHTING DESIGNER UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH WALES
ESPEN KARLSEN MAIN BAR LIGHTING DESIGNER ROSE BRUFORD COLLEGE
I thought this years event was great, It was great to work alongside Nathan Wan, Andy Webb and the rest of the NRG team. Some of my roles and responsibilities were to create the lighting paper work on Wysiwyg, I attended a production meeting and also programmed the show alongside Nathan. During the event I operated the lighting.
I want to thank NRG and Robe for letting me as a student be apart off an event of this calibre. I also want to thank Andy Webb and Nathan Wan for giving us so much freedom and control over our designated areas. It is truly a great opportunity to get some contacts but also to get experience in the live event industry, and make us more ready for work when we are done with college.
GEORGIA WREN ROBE VIP LOUNGE CO-LIGHTING DESIGNER LIPA
JASMINE WILLIAMS ROBE VIP LOUNGE CO-LIGHTING DESIGNER ROYAL WELSH COLLEGE OF MUSIC & DRAMA
Working on this event has been an amazing opportunity. It’s has been a crucial networking event that couldn’t have come at a better time for me just before I leave university. It was nice to work with people from different universities. I would like to say a big thank you to the Robe team that I was working with for making the TPi Awards such a memorable experience.
Working with Hawthorn was fantastic and they treated me as an equal during the load in which was both the most physical challenge I’ve faced but also one of the best. Working with Nathan Wan and Andy Webb was an honour. They looked after us so well and did a fantastic job. Being able to design the Robe VIP area with Georgia Wren and play with the brand new Robe T1 fixtures.
BEN LINWOOD MAIN BAR SUPPORTED TECHNICIAN GUILDFORD SCHOOL OF ACTING
OWEN YELLAND SYSTEMS TECH AND LEAD ROBOSPOT OPERATOR ROSE BRUFORD COLLEGE
The TPi Awards exceeded my expectations. The amount of kit from Robe was impressive. I haven’t had a chance to experience Avolites before, so to get the training and finally get my head around one has made a huge difference. I have also taken a lot away about scheduling and managing such a large event.
This was my second year working on the TPi Awards. It is always a pleasure to be a part of the team working on this event. I really enjoyed taking on more responsibly this year looking after the RoboSpots for the main show. 116
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Huge congratulations to Paul Hartley from TMB London, winner of the ‘Outstanding Contribution’ award at the TPi Awards, sponsored by Medialease. Plus a big ‘well done’ to all this year’s winners and nominees!
To discuss your next project, please ring 01327 872531 (quoting ‘TPi’), email email@example.com or visit www.medialease.com
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HIGHLITE INTERNATIONAL INFINITY S601 PROFILE
Highlite’s Leon Vissers, Brand Manager, talks to TPi’s Jacob Waite about the company’s Infinity S601 Profile.
When did the development for the new Infinity S601 Profile begin? What were original goals in its development? A lot of work has been done on the development of the Infinity S601 Profile. The goal was to develop a unit that can be used for both theatrical applications but is also a workhorse for festival events. To combine both aspects in one product was a challenge for us but it resulted in an extremely flexible fixture. The strength of the Infinity S601 Profile is that it gives lighting designers the right tools to create amazing projections. It allows for strong, dramatic mid-air effects and the additional possibilities of the blade system mean this multipurpose fixture is exactly what we strived for.
such as, On board WDMX, Artnet, sACN & RDM control, an unique 16 bit LED dimming algorithm, adjustable PWM control and a battery operated menu with touch screen. The gobo and colour set for these 3 fixtures are designed and applied in order to be flexible with each other. In that way light designers can easily combine all 3 models in one design. The 3 models are increasing in functionality and output from S201 up to S601. The S601 Profile is a full feature moving profile including; 1:7 zoom range with autofocus, CMY+CTO colourmix system with 7 complementary dichroic filters, Iris, variable frost, a continuous bi-rotating animation wheel, two rotating prisms and Infinity’s own designed digital Motion FX. What sets the Infinity S601 Profile apart from other moving heads spots in the market? The Infinity S601 Profile sets the focus on possibilities and user convenience. With 2 bi-rotating gobowheel filled with only glass gobos it
How does the fixture compliment the Fusion Series? The Infinity Furion series consists of 3 models - the S201, S401 and the flagship S601 Profile. The Furion fixtures have common standard features 118
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HIGHLITE INFINITY S601 PROFILE
is also a quite unique fixture in this segment. Glass gobos create a perfect sharp projection towards metal gobos and because they are both rotating, the morph effects are even more powerful. Add the animation wheel, the 2 prisms and the digital motion FX and this fixture offers the light designer countless possibilities for creative projections.
parameters. Each blade has 2 parameters, one for position and one for angle this gives the operator easy and flexible control. In addition, the housing can be rotated 90 degrees divided in plus and minus 45Â°. Did you get any input from lighting designers during the creation of the Infinity S601 Profile? During the development of this type of fixtures we take a close look to the market. But for Infinity it is even more important to use input from industry leading light designers when developing this kind of products. This is the only way to adapt your product perfectly to fast growing and changing markets.
Would you be able to discuss the gravity sensor and what benefits it will bring to LDs? The gravity sensors in the Furion Series have a double function. Not only the menu structure will adapt to its position also the pan tilt movement. In this way, both upright positioned and hanging fixtures will react exactly the same way to movement control. This functionality makes it a lot easier when programming and applying movement shapes in complex setups.
What has the reception been like about the fixture? Has it already been used for any live events? The market has responded enthusiastically to the Furion 601S. Expectations are high and the first feedback from the market is very good. TPi www.highlite.com
The fixture also features four very precise and separate controllable blades. What looks can be achieved with this feature? A lot of attention has been paid to the functionality and operation of the blade system. The 4 blades can be operated very accurate with 16-bit 120
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TUPAC MARTIR, SATORE STUDIO International Lighting Designer and innovator, Tupac Martir, tells TPi about his next charity endeavour; the London Landmarks Half Marathon for Alzheimer’s Society, and what training it involves thus far. Or, a lack of it, in this case…
I’m running the London Landmarks Half Marathon on the 24 March. I close to my heart, and therefore, I want to do anything I can to be part of know, I know, that’s less than a month away. The reason I say, “I know”, the cause raising awareness for it. Alzheimer’s is the most common type almost defensively, is that a lot of the industry will have seen me flying of dementia in the UK. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by Satore Studio, and around the world for various productions of late. So, where will I have fit we’re also working in parallel on a visual piece about Alzheimer’s which is my training in? Well, nowhere, just yet. due to be viewed this summer. There’s a lot of effort going into making it Obviously travelling, creating shows and general work stress have something to be very worthwhile and proud of. made it very hard to get a training programme together. I know I won’t get I am now on a crusade to try to up my running stamina; I have a further as much training as I wish I could, but then again, life and work have a way four trips to North America, plus a talk at USITT and two new videos that I of getting in the way of many things! Yet, that won’t am directing, all before the event. Somehow, in some deter me. way, I need to find time to train in between it al. It The studio has been working on fashion weeks doesn’t help that I do a full day of work with the UK, for men’s and women’s collections across the US, usually starting at 5am local time and finishing at UK and Italy, with a staggering 14 catwalk shows around 10pm in whatever country I’ve ended up in. in total. We are also developing two new pieces of At some point, I’ll rest. But for now, running work and opening a New York office. Added to that, for Alzheimer’s is a project I want to complete I was personally conducting the closing keynote at successfully. If you’d like to donate and sponsor me, the ISE tradeshow in Amsterdam, which took a lot of please do so via the link. Thank you for your support, work, plus a project at the Biennale College Cinema and good luck to any of my fellow very busy industry in Venice was occurring within a short timeframe. In colleagues running too. www.justgiving.com/ summary, we have been busy. Tupac Martir, Satore Studio fundraising/ I’m running this half marathon for the Alzheimer’s www.alzheimers.org.uk tupacisrunningagain Society. With a very close relative suffering from www.satorestudio.com the disease back home in Mexico, it’s a plight very www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tupacisrunningagain
AUDIO LIGHTING RIGGING VIDEO AUCTIONS 122
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ALI PIKE Show Designer for Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls.
A chilly January tour brought together a fantastic team of people for Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls’ UK production tour. Spanning venues from Glasgow O2 Academy to Alexandra Palace, via Manchester Victoria Warehouse and a smattering of UK Arenas meant that the tour called for a scaleable design, manageable in terms of both logistics and the design elements. It was really important to me that we were touring a light show, pyro, and video, including cameras, that would work in every venue. Also of concern was making sure all of this was manageable with a small crew, so everyone could have a pleasant experience out on the road. I went to Christie Lights to supply lighting, as I have a good working relationship with Mat Ilott, who I worked alongside on Kylie. The use of their F Type prerig truss made for a smooth in and out every day. I managed to coerce Neil Holloway to be my crew chief, even though he is normally found at the other end of the lighting snake these days. Along with Production Manager Dougie Murphy, we had toured together many years ago on The Wombats, so it was great to reunite the old gang, so to speak. Teaming Neil with rigger/lighting tech Domonick Warrington made for a great lighting department. The lighting rig was simple, functional, used to create strong band and drape colour washes using GLP JDC1, Martin by Harman Mac Quantum Washes and Mac Auras. Hard edges and detail came from Viper AirFXs, including some custom gobos, and Martin Mac Axioms on the floor for use as spots, but also with a secondary important job to do. I knew I wanted to sneak some mirrorballs in somewhere, and wanted beam lights for these but then for no other looks. On a budget, the solution to this was a hybrid light. Four small mirrorballs rigged off the back of the risers lit using the Axioms in a fast, random shutter made
for a really special moment in the show. Adlib supplied both audio and video for the tour. On the visual side of things, they provided 2 Panasonic PT-RZ21K DLP Laser Projectors, 2 Catalyst Systems and a selection of lipsticks cameras fed directly into Catalyst, all of which were cut via the MA Lighting grandMA2 console as lighting cues. Video was overseen by Rich Rowley, who played a very active role in advising on camera and lens selection, as well as researching the best way to mount cameras onto unusual things, such as ego risers and Mac Aura casings. On the road video duties were handled by Matt Hopwood. Pyro and 3 kubuki systems were provided by AC Lasers, looked after by Michael ‘Biscuit’ Morey. This wasn’t something the band had taken on a tour before, so figuring out where to integrate the cues into the show was a collaboration between Frank and Ali. Frank wanted something sparkle-curtain-esque for a particular song, so the Sparkular units provided that look, but in a way that we could make work in smaller venues. The Galaxis G Flames gave us a pleasing burst of warmth in colder venues, and according to Frank, ‘made him feel like a wizard’. The show finished with a bang, with the final note being accompanied by 4 Magic FX stadium shots full of ‘hot pink’ confetti every night. Frank couldn’t have been happier with the final results. I’m not one toot my own horn so I’ll leave it to him... “Bringing Ali on board to design the lights and production was a huge step up for me as a performer. She brought taste, thought, rhythm and excitement to my live show in a way that really helped me translate my art effectively into those huge rooms.” Ali Pike
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE
TPI BUSINESS LEADERS SURVEY 2019 We all have opinions; some share theirs more readily than others, some need no prompting to do so and some opinions don’t always tally with your own. Then there are numbers, a really useful way to record things like health, wealth, success. Some share their numbers more readily than others, some need no prompting to do so and some numbers don’t tally with your own. With opinions and numbers, you don’t tend to get enough at one time to make great comparisons, it’s only when you get enough samples from a wide selection in a similar field that you can start to paint a picture, get a measure and publish some interesting and useful data.
To get enough opinions or data, you need to start with a big enough group of people to ask, something like a magazine readership or a trade association membership, which is why we teamed up with TPi Magazine to design and implement the most comprehensive research into opinions and figures from the live production and wider entertainment technology sector. From the PSA perspective, we’ve experienced significant growth in membership; we thought it was high time that we took time to assess our audience in order to spend our efforts effectively. From the TPi perspective, it’s the opinions that count, a measure of where industry leaders see the sector evolving, developing, growing and where the threats may lie. Back in May, the PSA undertook its own member survey, looking mainly at the workforce, measuring average day rates, work/life balance and diversity statistics. December saw TPi undertake its own Business Leaders Survey, polling opinion on performance, recruitment, threats, trends and opportunities. Both surveys were encouraging in terms of both engagement and results, some of which were shared at the recent PSA AGM and the Daytime TPi event that followed. We’ve taken a little look at some of the results:
[Fig 1 & 2] Optimism of both the industry’s prospects and that of individual companies is high; a similar survey of business leaders in the bar and restaurant sector found optimism hard to come by. [Fig 3 & 4] That optimism isn’t just good for product sales. We all know that technology isn’t much use without people to assemble and operate it; little surprise then that so many responders are looking to recruit, with technicians at the heart of that recruitment drive. It seems that the publication of the Live Event Technician apprenticeship was very timely, something that we helped to assemble with member employers and a great example of how research can better inform us about the work we need to be doing. [Fig 5 & 6] If we do need to force the point home that it’s a people industry, this backs it up. Retaining good staff is essential but there’s also our reliance on self employed subcontractors, freelancers if you like. It seems, though, that certain roles don’t lend themselves to outsourcing. [Fig 7 & 8] A little difference here in how responders perceive their reliance on self employed workers compared to the wider industry. It’s important for us all to understand the employment status landscape as Government resolves to reduce ‘false self employment’, especially as the 126
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PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE
majority think that the flexibility offered is an advantage. With far more results than we have space for here and a whole deck of data from the PSA’s own workforce survey, the recent presentation of results at the Daytime TPi Event and the PSA’s AGM delivered a picture of average pay rates, visions of future trends and an interesting overview of future purchasing plans. For those that missed the presentation, research results can be found at www.tpimagazine.com/tpi/ TPiBusinessLeadersDeck.pdf
To conclude, this was a good start and a solid benchmark for comparisons to next year’s survey. More response will mean better data, more engagement at the point of delivery will mean more response, which then builds a better picture. TPi www.psa.org.uk www.tpiawards.com/daytime-tpi/ 128
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Dean Karov of MK Light Sound with Silvio Cibien of Green-GO; David March, Green Hippo’s Head of Sales and Marketing; HVR Showequipment has expanded its rental stock to 66 CLF Aorun beam fixtures.
Absen has announced Kern & Stelly Medientechnik as its official distributor for Germany and Austria. “With Kern & Stelly, we have found a dynamic partner with whom we share a common strategic alignment in the LED market,” said Leon Ye, Regional Director at Absen. “Together with the team of experts from Kern & Stelly, we can provide individual advice and personal support for the specialist trade partners. We are looking forward to the cooperation.” Lutz Kern, Managing Director of Kern & Stelly Medientechnik added: “At Kern & Stelly, we have paid close attention to the rise of LED technology, particularly for indoor applications such as corporate reception areas, digital signage and conference rooms. That is why we are pleased to be able to complement our existing LED product portfolio with the award-winning LED solutions from Absen.” Backbone International and Indonesian Production Manager Reza Lesmana, has announced it is merging to create Backbone Indonesia. By establishing Backbone Indonesia both parties are jumping in on the growing Indonesian entertainment market. Joris Joosen, Director Backbone International said: “Indonesia is a huge market for us. This merger takes our international growth objectives to the next level. Under the inspiring and experienced management of Reza Lesmana, Backbone Indonesia will be able to achieve its goal of breaking into the growing Indonesian market.” Reza Lesmana, MD/Partner of Backbone Indonesia, said: “The Indonesian unique event industry is growing bigger constantly over the last 10 years to keep up with the global trends and domestic demand. With my ever growing ambitions in the events market, I really think that Backbone
International is the right partner to develop with together.” For the upcoming festival season, HVR Showequipment has expanded its rental stock to 66 CLF Lighting Aorun beam fixtures. The investment is based on a high market demand for large numbers of powerful beam fixtures. Dennis Sommerdijk, co-owner of HVR Showequipment commented: “Especially for festivals and dance events we were looking for a large quantity of powerful beams. In addition, we received a lot of requests for the Aorun specifically. They are mentioned in a lot of riders and designs in the nearby future.” “Based on a number of productions in the past year, we know that the Aorun excels in light output. Furthermore, the movement and effect speed is outstanding. Our entire team was therefore quickly convinced; we had to get the Aorun,” said Sommerdijk. Green-GO has expanded global sales network with key new appointments. The first comes from ELC Lighting has announced the appointment of two new distributors. These latest appointments bring the brand’s global sales network total to 39 countries. The new exclusive distributor for Green-GO in Slovenia is MK Light Sound, based in Ljubljana. Speaking on behalf of MK Light Sound, Dean Karov said: “We are very satisfied to begin this cooperation with Green-GO. Converged networking is becoming a standard in our industry and as a technology solutions provider, we needed a simple but effective and capable networked intercom solution.” Donald Stuart has been named Managing Director EMEA at Electrosonic Group. Reporting to CEO Jon Hancock, he will be based in London. Stuart has a long track record as a successful international chief executive. 130
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K-array is excited to announce Pablo Manoukian as Area Sales Manager for the Latin America .
Most recently, he was CEO of TMARA Group, an innovation management consultancy with offices in Johannesburg and London. “We’re delighted to welcome Donald to Electrosonic’s global leadership team,” said Hancock.
“Donald brings a wealth of experience across the services industry to his new pivotal role for Electrosonic Group. The leadership skills and expertise across innovation and service transformation, which he has displayed throughout a distinguished career, made him the ideal choice to write the next chapter of Electrosonic EMEA.” “It’s very exciting to be joining a world leader in AV and experience and engagement solutions,” said Stuart. “Electrosonic is world class in designing and delivering engagement solutions where people live, work and play. As the world changes how people engage with everything around them Electrosonic will be at the forefront of enabling that world. And that’s a very exciting space to be in.” Green-GO’s Silvio Cibien said: “We are delighted to welcome Broadcast Audio Service and MK Light Sound to our growing worldwide family. Both companies are highly respected, multi-skilled experts in their fields, and we are confident that the unique offering of the Green-GO digital intercom solution will be a successful fit with all aspects of their work.” Green Hippo has appointed David March as Head of Sales and Marketing. The appointment comes at a time when the developer and manufacturer of Media Servers, looks to continue to build on its 2018 acquisition by tvONE-owning Spitfire Creative Technologies, by growing further and faster. March will report directly to Green Hippo’s Business Unit Director, Emma Marlow. He will take responsibility for Green Hippo’s Sales and Marketing strategy in EMEA and Asia. March comes to Green Hippo from VER where he most recently served as Head of VER Lighting Europe and Aurora Lighting. He began his career as a rental assistant at Vari-Lite Europe ultimately becoming General Manager at Vari-Lite Production Services. Since then he has held a number of leadership positions in the lighting and live events sector, including roles at Philips Entertainment, PRG Distribution and AED Distribution UK Limited. “I am thrilled to be joining the most exciting and innovative brand in its sector,” commented March. “Hippotizer continues to go from strength to strength, and I look forward to helping the company grow further and faster.” K-array have announced Pablo Manoukian as Area Sales Manager for the Latin America region. Manoukian has been working with the Italian manufacturer as Account Executive –LATAM and the Caribbean since 2015, where he has accumulated several years of field experience overseeing K-array projects such as the Kayros Temple in Spain. “Given his previous success with us, his extensive work experience in event productions and profound studies in the technical aspects of pro audio, we were confident that Pablo would excel even more as Area Sales Manager,” said Alessandro Tatini, President of K-array. “His appointment compliments to our great global sales force and we expect him to elevate
SFX PROJECT MANAGER LASER & SPECIAL EFFECTS SPECIALIST Based at our head office on the borders of south east London/Kent, you will be part of a team that performs stunning laser and special effects displays globally. The perfect candidate will have experience in the live events industry, designing and/or operating special effects, including pyro/flames, confetti/streamer, cryro/smoke products and the corresponding systems. You will have a varied and wide range of responsibilities. The main role of a sfx project manager are detailed here as a guide but is not limited to these tasks: KEY RESPONSIBILITIES: • Taking calls to quote and book shows, sfx and necessary equipment • Sfx show design, creating visualisations and advising clients accordingly • Knowledge of programming and firing pyro/flames, confetti and streamer, cryo/smoke products and the corresponding systems • Communicating effectively with clients, crew and wider team on timeframes to ensure the smooth delivery of the project • There may be occasions where you will need to assist with the preparation of equipment for rental • Occasional on-site work • Managing budgets Key qualifications and experience: • • • • • • •
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Amy Wood, Howard Dearsley & Laura Meredith from KB Event; Light Fantastic Production Services have introduced four new members to the team at its Borehamwood offices; Music & Lights have appointed Loud & Clear Audio Visual Equipment Trading as its distributor of their brands across the United Arab Emirates.
K-array in LATAM even further and look for new impressive initiatives to come out of the region.” KB Event has announced the promotions of three members of its team; Howard Dearsley, Amy Woods and Laura Meredith. Howard Dearsley joined KB Event in January 2007 as a Trainee Manager. His promotion sees him take on a new position within the Company as Head of Operations. Amy Woods started at KB Event in October 2017 as an Operations Administrator. Her new position as Junior Operations Manager sees her working alongside Howard Dearsley, taking responsibility for the strategic functions of the Operations department, as well as seeing her introduction into the Company’s management team. Laura Meredith joined KB Event in June 2018 as an Operations Administrator. Her promotion sees her taking on more responsibility for the allocation of drivers and the fleet, as well as overseeing the department’s administration function. On the recent promotions, Stuart McPherson, Managing Director commented: “These three promotions come at an exciting time of change and growth for KB Event. Howard, Amy and Laura have all demonstrated not only a loyalty to the business, but an ability to continue to uphold our brand as a quality supplier. I am extremely pleased that these home-grown talents, who have earned their promotions, are as enthusiastic about the continued success of KB Event as I am.” Light Fantastic Production Services has introduced four new members to the team at their Borehamwood offices. Working across a number of different areas, the additions of Gareth Shippen, Angela DiTomaso, Leo Neilson and Svetoslav ‘Slavi’ Nikolov strengthens the range of creative production and technical support services provided by the company. Taking the role of Scenic Project Manager, Shippen has experience in all aspects of the creative set building and prop making process. DiTomaso joins the Production Engineering Department as Video Engineer, providing technical support to the diverse range of projects serviced by LFPS. S trengthening the Operations Team, Slavi and Neilson join as Warehouse Technicians responsible for the preparation, maintenance and deployment of equipment. Commenting on the appointments, LFPS Rob Myer said: “People are the most important ingredient in everything we do. We are absolutely delighted to welcome these talented individuals to our team. Each of them brings a
level of technical ability and aptitude that complements perfectly the range of production services that we offer.” Sound Technology, distributor of Martin by Harman in the UK, has further expanded its Professional Lighting division with the appointment of Darren Jackson as Head of Lighting Sales and Ferenc Vacha as Architectural Lighting Application Engineer. Jackson has over 20 years experience in the lighting industry, with positions at Global Design Solutions and Chauvet Professional. “I am very excited to be working with such an amazing team at Sound Technology and to be representing such a world famous and High Profile brand as Martin is a really honour,” said Darren. “Martin has been a market leading and innovative lighting manufacturer for many years, having massively changed the lighting industry with what have become industry standard lighting. With more in the pipeline, it’s a very exciting period and I am very much looking forward to the challenges ahead.” Vacha was previously from Lightworks Architectural where he worked on office, retail, art & culture, and leisure lighting projects as a Technical Design Engineer. He will be providing pre-sales advice and application support for Martin’s architectural lighting product range. “I’m very pleased to have joined the amazing team at Sound Technology and to have the opportunity to support clients hands-on with the world-leading Martin Professional dynamic architectural lighting solutions,” said Vacha. Music & Lights has appointed Loud & Clear Audio Visual Equipment Trading as its distributor of their brands across the United Arab Emirates. “By working alongside Loud & Clear Audio Visual Equipment Trading, I am confident that PROLIGHTS, DAD, TRIBE, ProAudio and PROTRUSS will become increasingly visible brands throughout the United Arab Emirates” said Fabio Sorabella, Managing Director of Music & Lights. “I’ve always been impressed with the quality of the products and the service from the whole team in Italy whether it be on the front line from a designer angle or from a supply and innovation perspective” said Ben M Rogers (lighting designer and co-director of Loud & Clear). Outline, have announced the appointment of Audio Effetti srl as the exclusive distributor of its products in Italy. Audio Effetti MD Marco Medica stated: “We’re particularly proud of having acquired the distribution of this historic Italian brand, which continues to make Italian-made products a rightful source of pride.” Outline CEO Giorgio Biffi stated: “Outline has enormous potential in countless markets, all we need are excellent distributors to help us to put 133
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Shure UK’s Jack Drury & Stuart Moots; Sixty82 has announced a new partnership with the Dutch distributor, Senci.
it to use. We are very pleased to begin this collaboration with Audio Effetti, a company with well-proven experience in the distribution sector, and well organised in terms of infrastructure and managerial ability. There are all the necessary ingredients to ensure our brand’s widespread diffusion in an area that is as strategic for us as Italy.” Grant Smith has joined Robe UK’s team as sales manager for the North East of England, a territory covering from Manchester to the East coast and from the Scottish borders down to the midlands. He will be complimenting Robe’s Ian Brown, Bill Jones and Ashley Lewis. Having been a Robe customer for many years, he’d also visited the factory in the Czech Republic and been suitably impressed by the company and set up. “Everything about Robe’s ethics and ethos made it an easy decision,” he stated. He’s looking forward to championing the work of his customers outside London and in the provinces and ensuring that more attention is given to their innovation and endeavours. “The industry is not just based in London, and there are many talented companies and individuals locally who provide fantastic products, services and events all over the country and particularly in the North” he explained. Sennheiser has signified several changes within its Pro Audio Solutions Channel with the forthcoming retirement of John Falcone. Mark Posgay has been appointed to succeed John Falcone in his role. With his appointment, Mark has announced his leadership team, promoting Christophe van den Berghe to the position of Vice President, Sales and Marketing, EMEA –, and Simon Holley to the position of Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Americas/ANZ. Vince Tan has been appointed as Vice President, Sales, APAC to secure channel growth and drive further business development in the APAC region. “We are excited about the strong global sales team in place for the Pro Audio Solutions Channel,” said Peter Claussen, COO of Sennheiser. “I am very much looking forward to seeing the team drive the business forward with excellence and customer orientation and congratulate Mark Posgay on his promotion.” “I am very pleased to announce these exciting changes to the Sennheiser Pro Audio Solutions Channel, which will help to get us even closer to our customers,” commented Mark Posgay. “I would like to congratulate Christophe, Simon and Vince on their new roles and look forward to working together as a team to continue to exceed the expectations of our present and future customers.” Sixty82 has confirmed a new partnership with the Dutch distributor, Senci. In partnership with the existing distributor network in the Netherlands, Senci will offer Dutch customers optimised access to the full range of Sixty82 products. This partnership will focus on expanding the Sixty82 product line across the Netherlands. “We are excited that we can name Senci as our new distribution partner, as it is a highly regarded player in the industry,” said CEO Fokko Smeding. “They have a dynamic and experienced team, that can deliver the expanding demand for top level support.” Carlos Rego, CEO of Senci, commented: “It is impossible to miss the growing success of Sixty82. With their in-house experience and knowledge of the industry they deliver a wide range of high-quality products. With our mutual drive to reach an unrivalled level of quality, and the simplicity of purpose that comes with that, we believe that together we can change the
current industry standards.” Sound Image has introduced the recent appointment of Rob Mailman, as Senior Vice President of the organisation. “I look forward to a focus on the infrastructure, growth and an overall contributing, with our team, to the future success of Sound Image. It is an exciting time,” commented Rob Mailman. President and CEO of Sound Image, Dave Shadoan stated: “Rob has incredible attention to detail and a long history with our organisation. This role was a natural and obvious progression that we had been planning for quite some time. It makes our family just that much stronger and I’m thrilled to have him take the chair.” Shure UK has instated Stuart Moots as Associate Director, Pro Audio while Jack Drury joins as Market Development Specialist. Moots began his career at Shure in 2013 as the Southern Regional Sales Manager during a period of substantial growth at Shure. He was responsible for some of the UK’s largest accounts while also playing a pivotal role in developing critical relationships and identifying new business opportunities in his region. Shure’s Senior Director for Western Europe, Tuomo Tolonen, commented: “Stuart has been a valuable member of the UK pro team for many years. His work ethic is superb and he is well respected by our customers. Shure has enjoyed tremendous growth in recent years, and alongside this, we have gone through some major re-structuring internally to provide our customers with the level of support they expect. I am confident that Stuart will lead the UK team to even greater heights and I look forward to working alongside him.” As the company progresses beyond third-party distribution, and instead focusses attention on Shure’s growth in the UK market, Moots will work to continue the company’s leadership in wireless technology and key spectrum changes, while also looking to new markets for sustained growth. Laying the foundations for future success, Moots named Jack Drury as the new Market Development Specialist for Pro Audio, also based at Waltham Abbey office. Drury brings with him a wealth of experience, including his time spent at Sennheiser and Stage Electrics. “ With the addition of Jack to the Shure UK Pro Group, we have strengthened the team to cover what our customers and future Shureusers expect,” explained Moots. “Jack’s experience and knowledge increases the strength of the UK team, and with innovative products and innovative people, I am looking forward to building on our current success.” VITEC has welcomed Bryan Reksten as its Vice President of Marketing. “As we enter our 31st year as an end-to-end video streaming solutions provider, we’re focused on strengthening our leadership and product offering to meet unprecedented market demand,” said Mark D’Addio, Senior Vice President, VITEC. “This new executive role is an important step in that investment. Bryan possesses keen marketing insight, industry knowledge, and a passion for technology that will be instrumental in expanding our marketing footprint.” Reksten built his career at companies including Cisco, AT&T, and Comcast. Before joining VITEC, he led a global team tasked with delivering go-to-market strategies for Technicolor’s Connected Home business unit as VP of global marketing. TPi www.tpimagazine.com/category/industry-jobs/ 134
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PAUL HARTLEY Former General Manager, TMB
When did your passion for the live events industry first begin? Ever since woodwork classes at secondary school, I made a guitar with yellow with green spots. It didn’t work, of course but it felt good to hold it. I later borrowed a set of drums and formed a band together with my old school chum, Gavin Sutherland.
What were some of the greatest changes you saw within the industry following your appointment at TMB back in 1998? The industry has changed so much, the ‘show’ is bigger than the artist these days, making it challenging for the LDs to come up with something original that hasn’t been done before.LED has taken over despite many saying it would never catch on.
Early on in your career, you switched your drum sticks for flight cases becoming a roadie. What are some of your fondest memories from that time? Working as a roadie for The Sutherland Brothers was great. We embarked on many tours together notably the legendary Yellow Brick Road tour of the USA in 1974, a 40 city, six month tour which highlighted me holding up a Fender Rhodes piano with my back for Stevie Wonder so he could play a duet with Elton after the leg sheared off.
You were recently honoured at this year’s TPi Awards with the Outstanding Contribution Award. How did you feel when your name was announced? Don’t trip on the steps going up for the award, firstly! I also had to try and talk slowly during my acceptance speech and thank my lovely wife of 40 years or else... In all seriousness, I’d like to send a huge thank you to all who have sent messages. I have been overwhelmed by the reaction to the award and humbled by your kind words. I would like to leave a legacy and suggest The Paul Hartley Unsung Hero Award given to someone who has been around for years, known and respected by all.
You led the TMB UK crew for over 20 years. What are some of the biggest lesson you learned over that time about leadership? I’m really old school when it comes to this. I believe you should lead by example. I used to start work at 5.30am and worked through until 7.00pm, rarely stopping for lunch. I never asked anyone to do something I wouldn’t do myself. I always said thank you when someone did something they were asked to do. It’s also important to never promise something you can’t deliver. I always tell the truth and discuss issues immediately, don’t let them fester. Most importantly, if someone does something well give them a lot of praise!
What advice do you have for the future generations hoping to follow in your footsteps? Remember that you are an essential part of a team who rely on you to ensure the show goes on. Adopt the three H’s. Be honest. Be hard working. Be humble. 138
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