Manchester, UK (January 9, 2006)–Gorillaz, a UK band currently nominated for five Grammy awards, may not actually physically exist, but that didn’t stop it from taking the stage recently at the Machester Opera House. Gorillaz LiveThe cartoon band–a modern, hip take on fake/real cartoon acts like The Archies–sold out five shows at the venue, appearing on video screens above a stage filled by the (ahem) “guest musicians” that appear on the group’s current album, Demon Days, including Shaun Ryder, Bootie Brown (Pharcyde), Roots Manuva, Nenah Cherry and Gorillaz co-creator/Blur frontman Damon Albarn. Sound for the shows was provided by Wigwam Acoustics, with DiGiCo D5 Live consoles at both front of house and monitors.
The loudspeaker system featured a combination of flown and ground stacked d&b enclosures. A huge amount of input sources, including an eight-piece band, 15-piece string section and two choirs, was poured into each of the D5s. “Even at the first meetings, we were looking at over 70 channels,” said Wigwam’s Geoff Muir. “At that point, with a sold out event and space considerations in both positions, we realized that the D5 was the only realistic way to go.”
On the D5, one can reconfigure the 32 internal processing channels to provide extra input channels, which came in handy when Gorillaz FOH engineer Matt Butcher and Wigwam’s Basil Ferneley realized that the desk’s 96 inputs ultimately weren’t going to be enough. “It’s a very useful feature and a doddle to do,” said Ferneley. “We ditched the processing channels, which means you can have 128 input channels. We ended up using around 110.”
The number of available input channels on the D5 meant that the mixing was a lot more flexible; no sub mixers, as you’d need with a console with less inputs. This, combined with the D5’s small footprint was very useful in a venue with a capacity of just 2,000. “The biggest problem we had was that there were a lot of people and a lot going on, much of it in a relatively small space,” said Basil. “It’s not a big theatre. You would have needed to put two analogue boards in there, which would have been impractical in an auditorium of that size.”