ADLIB Audio and sister company ADLITE are supplying full sound and lighting production to the current UK Embrace tour.
Audio includes a Nexo Alpha system and one of ADLIB’s new Yamaha PM5D digital consoles and lighting includes Martin MAC 550 and High End Studio Beam PC moving lights and a WholeHog II desk.
The tour is seeing Embrace enjoying a phoenix-like revival with their number one platinum album “Out of Nothing” heralded as one of the most remarkable comebacks of the year.
FOH engineer Mark Jones and monitor engineer Graham Lees are working closely with ADLIB’s Steve Cole and Marc Peers. There’s a massive variety of venues on the itinerary, so the typical stack of Nexo is 8 M3 mid-highs 8 B1 bass boxes and 6 SB2 subs, which the larger venues expanding to eight mid-highs and bass cabinets a side with a total of 8 subs. The system is powered with two types of Camco amps – Tectons for the mid-highs and Vortex for the subs. The PA is zoned via BSS 366s which are used for time alignment when they’re running infills, outfills or delays in some of the more idiosyncratic rooms.
Jones mixes with a Midas H3000 FOH. For system processing, he’s using 10 dbx 160A compressors and a stereo dbx 160S on guitars, plus some of his own XTA processing on the vocals, in particular a D2 frequency conscious compressor.
His effects rack contains plenty of favourites – a Lexicon PCM 70, a TC M2000, two Yamaha SPX 990s and a TC D2 delay. In creative terms, he makes the band sound large, rocky and raw, keeping it straightforward with minimal interference.
Vocalist Danny McNamara is currently using an Audio Technica 6100 mic, there’s AT 4050s on the guitars and all other mics either Shure or AKG.
Graham Lees joined the Embrace crew in September, and is using the PM5D for the first time. He likes it a lot, fundamentally because it “Sounds excellent and works well with IEMs.” Out of the five band members, Danny McNamara has an IEM/radio mike combination, the keyboardist has IEMs and a hardwired mike while drummer Mike Heaton is on IEMs plus a thumper seat. Guitarist Richard McNamara and bassist Steven Firth use wedges – ADLIB’s new MP3 design – and ear plugs.
Lees is using all the PM5D’s onboard gates and compressors, and the only effects used are a reverb for each vocalist.
Lighting designer Jonny Gaskell is enjoying working with Embrace. Their extremely down-to-earth attitude suits him and everyone else on the tour. He gets some input from McNamara about how he thinks the show should look live, and is also left to his own imaginative devices.
Budget has been expedient for this section of the tour. Gaskell wanted to a achieve big classy looks, so he opted for plenty of dramatic silhouetting and back lighting, arranged at different levels between a rear truss and six onstage vertical towers.
Moving lights are 12 Martin MAC 550s and 12 High End PC beams. Then there’s an eclectic collection of other fixtures including 8 James Thomas Pixelline battens, 8 strobes, 8 Moles, 6 Source Four Profiles, 3 Codas to up-light the back cloth and 8 bars of ACLs. Four floor cans downstage of the mic line catch Danny when he comes forward to the edge of the stage
He squeezes a massive amount of looks out of a minimal amount of lights. The rig is also designed to make the physical focus as fast as possible, and most fixtures needing manual focus can be reached from a flight case onstage. The upstage drape featuring the album artwork onto a white trevira was made by J C Joels.
Gaskell also injects randomism, asymmetry and weirdness into the show at times, as well as doing standard looks with the moving lights and ACLs. He’s using a WholeHog II and a wing for control, and for running the PixelLines with PixelDrive, carefully limiting the PixelLines to one colour at a time to avoid ‘fairground attraction’ syndrome!