ADLIB Audio's Richy Nicholson once again applied his mixing talents as he took up his role as front-of-house engineer for popular New York EMO band Brand New.
The band played a recent high profile, one-off UK show at London's Wembley Arena to great critical acclaim. Nicholson has also engineered the band for their last two UK and European tours.
ADLIB supplied equipment to meet Nicholson's spec and audio design for Wembley. The FOH system was tech'd by Tony Szabo and monitors were looked after by Marc Peers who was also ADLIB's crew chief, and they were joined by 2 additional ADLIB crew - Kenny Perrin and Michael Flaherty.
Creatively, Nicholson needed to produce an edgy, loud sound but with enough finesse for the words to crawl clearly above the mix which includes 3 screeching guitars and plenty of dynamics and attitude. His other challenge was to fill the cavernous interior of Wembley.
He chose an L-Acoustics system, with 12 x V-DOSC speakers a side for the main hangs complete with 3 dv underhangs, and 10 of ADLIB's newly purchased KUDO elements per side for the side hangs.
“You're under massive pressure doing a large one off like this,” explains Nicholson. “There's only the one chance to get it right, and I knew that V-DOSC was right to get the sound that both I and the band wanted throughout the space”.
For subs, Nicholson chose 11 arc delayed L-Acoustics SB28s per side which were ground stacked to produce a nice bottom-end glow, perfectly for fattening out that very distinctive raw Brand New sound that has been developed and helped gain them such a cult live following.
Four L-Acoustics ARCS cabinets per side were carefully positioned for front fills, together with 2 dV-DOSCs on the front lip of the stage.
The rig was driven throughout by LA8 amplifiers, and processed by Lake DLPs and the new Lab.gruppen LM26. As usual, Szabo used his Meyer SIM3 acoustic analyzer for all the measurements and time alignment.
Nicholson's console of choice was a DigiDesign Profile, the same as he used for Brand New the last time he mixed them 6 months ago. He uploaded his show files from that tour which accelerated the process of establishing some of the settings and proved an invaluable time-saver on the extremely tight schedule. This time around, Richy also used an ADLIB DigiDesign ProTools system to record the band on multitrack which will prove useful in fine tuning his mix for the upcoming shows.
While the band's set was dramatically different to the last tour, Nicholson's familiarity with the console enabled him to programme very quickly and efficiently.
He primarily used the Profile's onboard effects, with the addition of 2 x BSS 901 frequency conscious compressors. One was used to help control lead singer Jesse Lacey's vocal - he has a penchant for screaming loudly right into the mic - and the other for a distorted vocal that's produced using a guitar pedal.
He also used a D2 tap delay for some specific â€˜specials', and an old Yamaha SPX gated reverb for a particular moment during “At The Bottom” to vary Lacey's pitch.
Nicholson describes it as an “active” mix! It certainly keeps him on his toes in anticipation and he needs maximum concentration to follow the assorted quirky leads from all of them and the eclectic dynamics of the set, which ranges from soft bitter acoustic element to full-on screeching guitars. There is also a certain amount of improvisation in each show, which ensures that the Brand New experience is authentically â€˜live' in every sense.
At the other end of the multi in monitor world, band engineer and production manager Mike Babcock was looked after by ADLIB's Marc Peers. He chose a Yamaha PM5D as the console, which ADLIB supplied together with 9 d&b m2 wedges and a dV-SUB for the drum fill.
The monitor system was driven by d&b D12 amps, with LA8s for the side fills which consisted of a combination of L-Acoustics ARCs and dV-SUBs.
Brand New mostly supplied their own Sennheiser mics, with ADLIB pitching in with 2 x Sennheiser G2 in-ear sets for Lacey and drummer Brian Lane.
Ari Martin from Nettwerk Management, the bands manager commented “A great crew is important for this band & we are so lucky to have that in every way. This was their biggest UK show and I was confident that Richard Nicholson would do the great job at FOH and he didn't let us down”.