Adlib has continued its working relationship with the Irish singer-songwriter and musician Hozier, and the production team led by ‘Duchess’ (Sue Iredale), supplying the sound and light equipment, plus crew, for the band’s recent Europe tour.
A CODA sound system was selected by FOH sound engineer Steve “Patto” Pattison, who joined the Hozier team mid-way through 2018, shortly after completing Irish trio The Script’s world tour. After Hozier’s Nina Cried Power EP was released, the touring schedule started rolling and is continuing worldwide throughout 2019.
Pattison chose a CODA AiRAY system after having an “amazing” experience with it on The Script tour, which Adlib also supplied for. The CODA system can be flown or ground stacked in different configurations, bringing continuity to the wide range of venues on the itinerary. “It sounds great in a 1200-seat theatre and a 15000-capacity arena – one box covers all applications,” enthused Pattison.
For Pattison, the ‘devil is in the detail’ of the fill coverage, and to this end, he used one of his signature techniques: a small centre hang of between three and six CODA TiRAYs hung from the front lighting truss to cover the area around three rows back from the front. “Those standing in that area, the little ‘D’ shaped section just back from the front, always get a raw deal. In most venues, any PA system will struggle to hit them depending on rigging points, sightlines, etc., while the lip fills will only ever hit the front row. Their ticket cost the same so we should give them the same experience as everyone else.” He also remarked that the TiRAY speaker, a favourite for corporate and commercial Applications is “so tiny and light that it was completely unobtrusive on the truss… but had a huge impact in terms of enhancing the audience experience.”
For standard stage fills, Pattison used CODA APS (arrayable point source) speakers placed above the subs to fill out the corners, and HOPS (high output point source) as the lip fills along the front of the stage. They toured both SC2-Fs (dual 15 inch) and SCP-F subs, with two or three of each per side in the standard set up and several variations according to the shape and size of the room. The SC2-Fs were often used when the AiRAY was ground stacked as they provided a solid and secure platform on which to rig the AiRAY cabinets at the correct height as well as reinforcing the low end.
Hozier’s production is completely live: there are 54 channels of ‘real’ input and eight people onstage who all sing and play instruments with not even a hint of a backing track. In the set, the song ‘To Be Alone’ starts with a guitar riff and Hozier (Andrew Hozier-Byrne) engaging in a call-and-response routine with the audience. When the drums kick in, Pattison sneaks in the console’s onboard subharmonic synth, which produces a shock reaction from the audience by the physical impact of it through the CODA. Directly after that, they went into the acoustic section of the set, which Pattison explained “was handy for keeping within the noise restrictions of some venues where the measurements are averaged out over time. It gave me a chance to really see what I could get out of such a small box, stretching its legs whilst being nowhere near to pushing its limits.”
Pattison has been using the dLive S7000 for the last couple of years, since it was launched, and also mixed The Script with one. He utilises plenty of vocal FX at strategic points and reverb treatments, plus more radical effects such as Leslie cabinets and distortion – all of which are onboard the S7000. “It sounds great and is completely self-contained, you wouldn’t believe the number of engineers who come up to me after the show asking what outboard and plugins I’m using, and then there’s the look on their face when I tell them none, it’s all on board.”
Working alongside him on were the Adlib crew of Alan Harrison, a veteran of many arena tours who fine-tuned the system each day, and Max Taylor, who took care of all things onstage. Hozier’s monitor engineer is Darren Dunphy, who used a PM7D console.
The band was all on IEMs. Adlib supplied a Shure PSM system, with a thumper seat for the drummer. Hozier switched from a wired to wireless mic halfway through the American leg so he could move around more freely, migrating from a standard Beta 58 to a Shure Axient Digital. “It’s one of the best radio systems I’ve heard at relaying detail, it’s all there even the small print” stated Pattison. “And it was a fantastic team of people – there’s a great vibe on the tour and a massive buzz surrounding it – what more can you ask for?”