Adlib has been providing a riotous sound for UK rockers, Kaiser Chiefs, by renewing a long-term working relationship with the band on a tour that’s been every bit as full and enjoyable as previous ones.
Adlib’s George Puttock, Sam Proctor and James Petch joined the band’s engineering duo of Chris Leckie at FOH and Ilias Andriantos on monitors for a rousing three-week tour where all the energy and passion of the Kaisers’ renowned live performances was exceptionally well received by the public. Working alongside Leckie and Andriantos are the tour’s production manager James Hennin and tour manager Liam Rippon. Onstage, Petch looked after monitor world for Andriantos who has worked with the band for 10 years. The sound system chosen for the tour was L-Acoustics. The venues ranged from London’s 16 000 capacity O2 Arena to many well-known theatres and town halls, ending in a homecoming gig at Leeds Arena, and therefore the PA System needed to be adaptable.
The largest configuration at the O2 featured 14 x L-Acoustics K1 speakers a side complete with four KARA-downs for the main hangs, with 12 x V-DOSC and six dV-DOSC downs for the two side hangs and three flown delay stacks of eight K2s. They had nine subs a-side ground stacked in a left-centre-right format together with four ARCs a-side positioned on top of the subs for infill. All these elements were driven by L-Acoustics LA8 amps. The system proved itself to deliver just the right amount of sonic energy required for any large Kaiser Chiefs show.
One of Adlib’s highly respected system techs, George Puttock administered control via one of Adlib’s Lake processing racks running via fibre, with three LM44s at FOH connected via fibre link to three LM 26s on stage left, and then via Cat 5 to three additional LM26s on stage right. Both sides of the stage then split out via AES to the amplifiers. Adlib supplied 12 of its MP4 low profile wedges and L-Acoustics ARCs combined with SB28s for ground stacked sidefills, plus an Adlib MP4 dual 15-inch drum sub. These were all driven by Labgruppen PLM 10Ks.
With four of the band on IEMs, the primary purpose of all these speakers onstage was to provide some air movement and low-end punch as well as for backup, and the fact that Ricky likes to climb on and launch himself off them throughout the performance. Andriantos’ console was a Soundcraft Vi6, he’d used a Vi1 for the European leg of the tour at the end of 2014, so it was very straightforward to transfer his show to the larger console for the UK section.
For this tour, as Adlib has witnessed with a select group of top end engineers, Leckie returned to his roots and specified a Midas H3000 console. Like most other sound engineers on the planet, Chris has used digital desks on his various clients including the Kaiser Chiefs, and explained his decision to go old Ssool on this one.
“The majority of the newer digital consoles do a pretty good job of impersonating an analog desk but even after 10 years of navigating my way through the various menu and operating systems there is still absolutely no substitute for having everything available and visible right there all at once,’ declares Chris. He picked the desk because he knows what every button does and where to find it as well as because he knows he can get a sound out of it, and one that is ideally suited to the band’s style and delivery.
The dbx compressors work well and only have three controls. The Yamaha SPX 990s create a reverb sound effect that he can actually hear working “unlike some of the posher ones that provide more of a room simulation’. He picked the desk because he knows what every button does and where to find it as well as because he knows he can get a sound out of it, and one that is ideally suited to the band’s style and delivery. Consequently, one of the challenges is to stay on top of everything happening onstage played by real humans and the inevitable accompanying chaos factors which include occasionally “Very antisocial’ levels of backline volume which can threaten to sabotage his final mix.
Chris has worked with Adlib on many occasions using the newest and very best technology, but in this particular case, he really enjoyed engaging with some quality audio equipment.