LiveWire at the Royal British Legion, Inverurie. 25 February 2017!
24 Hours of Work for a Two and a Half Hour Event!
On Saturday 25th February 2017 we were invited to provide a sound system and light show for Live Wire, an AC/DC tribute act from Englandshire. Of course we naturally obliged! Who could resist? And once again I was ever so keen to document what EatAudio does and put the GoPro camera to good use by using time lapse photography to show all the work we put into an event from start to finish. This is the third time we’ve provided a sound system for the band so it was great fun to work with them again when we’re very familiar with their requirements.
Friday 24 – 5.00 PM: Loading the truck! (3 hours)
Well, this kit doesn’t set itself up, nor does it transport to where we need it without the help of a large truck either! All the equipment we use is kept in Buckie, in Moray. From 5.00 PM we began arranging what we needed to take with us. Four lots of 2,500 watt sub bass speakers, 8 lots of 600 watt mid/high speakers. For the band there would be four lots of monitor speakers – which doesn’t sound like a great deal, but they were using in-ear monitors too. In a typical fashion we were slowed down by heavy winds and horizontal rain so we were taking our sweet time in loading the truck. We had everything loaded in just before 8.00 PM as we did our best to stay dry and maintain our sense of humour!
Saturday 25 – 9.00 AM: Setting off and stocking up! (2 hours-ish)
We headed off around 9.00 AM on Saturday morning stopping off at Tesco in Huntly for a bite to eat! One things for sure, all this heavy lifting gives you an appetite, and it’s definitely worth mentioning the importance to keep hydrated. I think it’s safe to say that between Dave and I we had probably anywhere between 8-10 pints of liquid before the end of the night. So with a carrier bag full of sandwiches, cookies, bottles of juice, sweets and goodness knows what else – we couldn’t resist stopping at the burger van parked up outside Tesco for a very large, hefty bacon roll. So naturally what should have been a journey that took just over an hour somehow managed to take two-ish!
Saturday 25 – 11.00 AM: Arriving and unpacking! (1 hour)
Arriving at the British Legion in Inverurie we were greeted with many smiling happy faces already tidying away from the night before, so we waited patiently before we got to work. There was a lot of chit chat about what it was we were up to. As you’ll see in the video above unloading in the glorious sunshine took us just under an hour, which goes to show our enthusiasm when it isn’t raining. We positioned the sub bass speakers where we needed them, and slowly got all the flight cases with the cabling, hardware, and various other bits and pieces where we needed them. The staff at the British Legion were kind enough to put together a small temporary stage at the front of their existing stage so there was very little prep work for us to do on arrival.
Saturday 25 – 12.00 PM: Setting up! (7 hours)
We weren’t in any particular hurry setting up, but there is a typical order that we do things. First, position all the speakers and get them tied down. Second, assemble all the trussing and place it on top of the wind up stands. Third, hang up all the lighting and get it all in the right place. Fourth – we then make sure that all the lighting has the power it needs, so in this case it meant firing up the generator that was provided for us. In this case we had a 60KVA generator (I know right! Ridiculous!), so we hooked up the 3-phase distro and were pleased to see everything running just like it should. It was then onto the back of the hall where we began setting up the 40 channel Soundcraft GB8 desk, and getting the lighting controller transmitting a DMX signal. Once the DMX signal was being transmitted we could then get onto wiring the DMX data receiver to all the lighting units.
By around 5 PM we were satisfied that all the lighting was working just as it should, and around that time members of Live Wire had started to arrive. We began hooking up the speakers to the power amps, and running the signal cables from the multicore. It wasn’t long before all the monitors were jacked in, and by 6 PM everything was up and running just as we were hoping it would be. We played some tunes through the FOH PA system and made adjustments to the equalisation. By 6.30 PM the band then began their sound checks and we more or less left their engineer, Jon, to just get on with it. It was loud. Very loud. 15KW system in a venue where 300 people is a lot meant that I had ear plugs in all night as I really don’t need my tinnitus to get any worse than it it! It was a sensible precaution!
Saturday 25 – 7.30 PM: Doors open to the public!
It’s the quiet calm before the storm, but it was finally time to kick back for an hour and take a quiet break! There were sandwiches and drinks a-plenty in the kitchen and I wasn’t backwards in coming forwards, knowing this would be my last chance to get a break before 11 PM. One of the perks of bigger gigs like this is knowing that if you ask for something, most of your whims are taken care of. In this instance it was plenty cups of tea, juice on tap, and trays of sandwiches from Costco!
Saturday 25 – 8.30 PM: The gig! (2 and a half hours)
There was a lot of anticipation, as I played around with the fog machines and projector prior to the band coming on there was a lot of oooh-ing, aaah-ing and cheering. So when the band did come on there was plenty haze for the lasers and beams of light to cut through. I don’t think most of the audience was prepared for just how loud the sound system was going to be, but it’s great to feel a venue shaking properly. Ever so much that the bar decided to use plastic cups as a shelf of glasses was unintentionally smashed earlier on during soundchecks. I didn’t find out until afterwards.
Unfortunately three songs in we had lost power. Despite promises to the contrary, the generator that was parked up on the street should have had a member of security monitoring it from start to finish. No such luck. Someone had pressed the emergency stop button and by the time I’d arrived on the scene, whoever the culprit was had flown the scene! They were long gone. So, I went back in and powered down all the power amps. On reflection I should have powered down the lighting – as switching back on the generator had caused some damage to one of my green lasers. This has interrupted some of the DMX data flowing through the data chain to the back of the stage causing the lights there to stop working.
But we got the show back up and running and the band were back in business. However, my next job was to work out what had happened. I’d managed to trace the problem after about 15 minutes of poking around, and when I noticed the laser wasn’t working and that the moving head next to it was behaving erratically I went up a ladder, disconnected the laser from the power supply, and boom! We were back in business! But my enthusiasm was short lived!
Unfortunately the second singer of Live Wire was using a microphone that runs on the 2.4Ghz spectrum. As soon as it was his turn to come on it began interfering with the wireless DMX connection I had! Clearly this wasn’t going to be my night. So there was a delay of anywhere between 1-10 seconds before my instructions were reaching the lights. The perils of cheap microphones nowadays means they’re all put on the 2.4Ghz spectrum. Had I known their mic was going to cause so much trouble I’d have given them one of my good quality Sennheiser wireless mics that works on proper licensed channels. I suppose it’s one of those things for me to take away from this event knowing what I know for future reference!
Saturday 25 – 11.00 PM: Emptying out and packing away! (7 hours)
It’s very difficult to pack up when nobody wants to leave! So once the event was over the bar was still selling copious amounts of booze, and the best I could do was wait for the band to start packing down their kit… and just make good of everything I had at the back of the hall ready to go into the truck later. It was a long night, a very long night packing up. Putting everything back where it goes is a very tiresome job when you’re worn out! So we just kept chipping away until the wee hours. Everything was ready to go into the truck by 5 AM, and it took about an hour or so to get everything loaded in.
Sunday 26 – 6.15 AM: Tesco and home! (1 and a half hours)
Just as we were leaving the British Legion the lights came on at Wetherspoons across the road! People were beginning to head to work, and traffic was starting to move! We decided to head to Tesco for a final bite to eat before heading back up the road! Plenty of sandwiches and high caffeine drinks to keep us going! We headed up the A96 and stopped for a snooze in Buckie for a few hours before unpacking later on!
Sunday 26 – 12.00 PM: Unloading the truck! (1 hour 15 minutes)
It didn’t take long to get the truck unloaded, and of course it couldn’t have came a moment too soon! Everything was back in it’s proper place ready for the next time we’re on the road ready to make a racket and dazzle an audience!