As it has done for the past three years, Los Angeles-based Swing House Productions provided live audio services and event production for performances at the Rusty Spurs club in Austin during the South by Southwest festival. This year, however, Swing House made a change by drawing from its own audio inventory for the festival, deploying a Soundcraft Vi4â„¢ console for Rusty Spurs' indoor stage and a Soundcraft GB4 console for a smaller stage in the outdoor area.
Starting out as a rehearsal studio, Swing House Productions has expanded into studio recording, rental department, full event production and Artist development and Management. The company's work at South by Southwest is an extension of its relationship with the renowned Roxy music club in Hollywood. “Each year at South by Southwest, the Roxy sponsors one venue in Austin and that venue essentially transforms into the Roxy for the week,” says Phil Jaurigui, President of Swing House Productions.
This transformation includes performances by artists who are synonymous with the Roxy. To wit, this year saw the likes of Tom Morello's Street Sweeper Social Club, Minus The Bear, Michael Monroe of Hanoi Rocks, and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. In total, Rusty Spurs hosted 112 bands over the span of five days.
Because Rusty Spurs does not normally feature live music, the onus fell on Swing House to not only set up a complete audio system, but one that would recreate the feel of the Roxy. “Rusty Spurs is a regular bar with no stage and no PA, so we provided the PA, the backline, the staging and everything else that it takes to change a country bar into a rock and roll nightclub,” Juarigui says.
To that end, Swing House brought its Vi4 console from its Los Angeles headquarters to Austin for the week. The audio system also included JBL SRX728 loudspeakers and SRX718S subwoofers for the main stage, with powered JBL EON15 portable loudspeakers for the outdoor stage. Crown amplifiers power the audio system, which also includes system EQ from dbx.
“Tom Der of Soundcraft turned us onto the Vi4 last year when he rented it to use for South by Southwest and we loved it,” Jaurigui says. “We have our own now and we use it in our studio for rehearsals with everyone from Maroon 5 to Iggy and the Stooges.”
Sam Coy served as the primary sound engineer for the week, which required him to quickly and repeatedly switch bands over from stage to stage for 14 hours each day. With little time to spare between performances, reliability of the audio consoles was as important as sound quality. “The attendance at Rusty Spurs was higher than it's ever been,” Jaurigui says. “It was packed all the way through and while it was overwhelming at times, we didn't have a single instance where either console went down.”
Moreover, Jaurigui notes that the Vi4 is not only easy to use, but also ideal for high-impact, high-volume performances. “The Vi4 is so intuitive where even if you're only used to analog consoles you can pick it up quickly,” Jaurigui adds. “The sound is so clean and it's very powerful and very punchy—you can really get that aggressive sound out of it that you need with rock acts.”
In addition, because the Vi4 packs so many features into a reasonably sized chassis, the transformation of Rusty Spurs into the Roxy was even more seamless. “There are so many built-in effects that sound great and it doesn't take up much space for a fairly big console,” Jaurigui says. “Even in a small bar like Rusty Spurs, it fits comfortably. It looks great, too. All week, people were walking up to the console and were fascinated by it.”
For more information on Swing House Productions, please visit www.swinghouse.com