This blog today is going to focus on my experience of setting up front of house sound for the Caleb Fletcher concert. I was hired by David White of Perimeter Production group to locate and book the house sound for the event. If you are ever in charge of this task, you may encounter the type of resistance that I’m about to share.
After deciding that my small PA rig wasn’t large enough to cover the area we were expecting, I got the approval for rental of a larger system. I set out on a mission to find a great system for this event. This would be one of the largest concerts that I’ve run front of house and I needed to make an impression. David White made it quite clear that our number one goal was to put on the best show of the summer series, and that rental fee’s wouldn’t be a problem.
I visited a local company, Music Maker, to discuss rental of a system for the event. I told them what I was hired to do and who I was working with but seemed to get the impression that I was being talked down to by the owner. I name dropped one of my writers here on the website, Eddie Howard, and this seemed to shift the conversation a bit but still not to my advantage. I will try to give you an example of how this went down.
ME: I am working with David White to put on a concert in downtown Greenville and need to rent your PA system, I am the front of house mixer.
Bobby: Ok I can deliver the system and send my sound guy to mix, we will set you up on the side stage for monitors
ME: I have been hired to do front of house not monitors, I can mix monitors from front of house
Bobby: Oh ok, well my guy will do a great job and you won’t have to worry. Just bring your monitor console and mix wedges
ME: I work as an A2 with Eddie Howard and he will tell you that I can work the console just fine
Bobby: Oh Eddie will be there, ok… He can mix front of house and you do wedges. My guy will be standing around if you need anything
ME: Ok, well I will let you know if I get the budget approved for this rental
Bobby: Ok buddy, let me know and I will gladly help you in any way I can.
What tha??? Did I just get slapped in the face here? At first I was thinking that he had a policy about not letting anyone except his man run the rig until the name drop shifted the mix position to a person who was not being paid to work the show. Eddie would be there but just as a spectator, not a worker.
When I got to my car, I sat there for a moment trying to understand what just happened. I had come to this place to save some money on rental, only to be insulted and feeling like I was a snot nose kid trying to leap ahead of the game.
There is another company known for top notch equipment and excellent staff called Audio Solutions. I called and spoke with Alan about a PA system rental for the day. One of the first things I asked was, “Is there going to be a sound man there that will do exactly as I ask, or can I simply run the rig?” His reply was with no hesitation, “Naw man, it’s not a problem, you can run it” Then I held my breath, so to speak, when I asked for the quote. Only $50 more than Music Maker??? Are you kidding me? And this quote included stage mics, stands, monitors, etc…
On the day of the show, I arrived on time to find Chris from Audio Solutions already there and halfway set up. He was very knowledgeable and an all around nice guy. We had the rig up and running in no time but I still wondered if this small compact system was going to be able to fill this large outdoor venue. I had no idea how great this setup was going to sound until the first kick of the bass drum came through the system. I was floored that four eighteens and four Q7 boxes could sound so clean and crisp.
During sound check we even had someone come up and ask us to back off the kick drum a bit because it was thumping his chest too hard. Chris politely sent him to me and I sent him to my boss David White. We assured him that when everyone fills up the area that things would sound a little better. I tent to drive sound check a little harder than the actual show anyhow.
I mixed front of house on a Yamaha LS9-16 with a presonus mic pre for the digital layer. Actually used seventeen channels and four effect channels on a custom fader layer. The D&B never missed a beat and stayed crystal clear all night. I received several compliments about the mix but couldn’t have done it without such a great system.
One thing I learned about this, Audio Solutions are #1 for a reason. Every time you see an event in downtown Greenville you will usually see them there with their stuff. The reason is that they have great people, easy to work with, and a reputation for being the “Go To” company for all your audio needs.