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Following the success of his first album Without Fear in 2019 that included the hit singles Outnumbered, Power Over Me and Giants the Dublin born artist released Sonder in 2022. The latest tour took in 19 theatres and concert venues across Europe before a one day re-prep in Redditch, followed by a run of 11 arena shows in the UK.
System Tech and Crew Chief for the tour was Richard Kemp: ‘We only had a small window to convert the European PA system into the UK spec. We flew back from the last date in France and had one day in Redditch for prep. We then jumped on the tour bus up to Glasgow for a load in the following morning at the OVO Hydro. Fortunately it was mainly the PA we were upgrading and the team working on the project brought it all together without a hitch.”
The European leg of the tour featured main L-R hangs of L-Acoustics K2 and side-hangs of L-Acoustics K3. K1 was also available to supplement the main hangs when required. Sub bass was 16 L-Acoustics KS28, while KARA II provide infill across the stage apron.
For the larger UK Arenas Solotech changed the specification of the PA, opting for main hangs of 12 x L-Acoustics K1 and 6 x K2 with 8 x L-Acoustics K1SB flown directly behind to provide enhanced sub coverage. Sidehangs were L-Acoustics K2 and 24 x KS28s were ground stacked in cardioid configuration in front of the stage.
FOH engineer Will Donbavand commented, “I requested Rich Kemp to be my System Engineer long before dates were even finalised. Rich has been my first choice for a while. He gets the best out of the system no matter if it’s K1 or K2, and he knows my tastes. I rarely need to add system EQ myself or ask for any changes.”
Richard Kemp added, “I’m a huge fan of the L-Acoustics system. Through the whole design and engineering process, there are tools at your disposal: Modelling in Soundvision, Array Morphing in Network manager and M1 measurement on the P1 processors to ensure you can deliver consistently good results day in day out. On this tour we utilised the P1 Processor which allowed us to run the system on AVB directly to the LA12X amplifiers. Built into the P1 is also the M1 Measurement system which I love though I still find it hard to let go of the Smaart measurement software.”
The control package remained largely unchanged for both legs of the tour. At the heart of the PA drive rack was a Prodigy MP for managing DSP, and I/O routing, with the L-Acoustics P1 looking after the PA distribution and measurement.
At FOH and monitors both Will Donbavand and Simon Lawson opted for DiGiCo SD5 consoles for their respective mixes. Will explained, “This latest European and UK tour marks a step up to Arena size venues. The show has grown a lot since I started in 2017 and the control package has followed suit. It’s grown from 2 DiGiCo SD11i’s with one SD Rack to a pair of Quantum 5s with two SD racks and an SD Mini Rack. We’re still gain sharing as there’s been no need to change. We have around 108 inputs from stage, plus a few more for FOH Ambients.”
Will continued, “We’ve been using SSE, now Solotech, since we first took out a control package in 2018. We’ve had a fantastic crew on this tour. As well as Rich (Kemp), we were lucky enough to have two great techs looking after control, Ben Byford and Will Lucas, who focused more on the RF side of things. Jake Gardner who flew SR PA has been on a fair few Dermot shows and is a great person to have on tour. Morgan Beecher who joined us for the bigger shows in the UK, was new to the camp, but fitted in straight away.”
Solotech Project Manager for the tour was Tom Pickett: “Dermot Kennedy been a great journey to be on as a supplier, especially working with the same core group since 2018. The audio team I built around Will and Si is made up of mutual friends and people who have worked together on the shows before, so it’s a very tight knit group on Team Audio.”
“For Will and me, our friendship stretches back to 2006. Will was the first person I ever met in halls at Birmingham City University where we both studied Sound Engineering & Production. We were flat mates in our first year and have been friends ever since. We’ve worked together on a few things over the years, but this is by far the biggest project.”
“I’ve watched Will mix Dermot many times over the years, but to see him mix a show at the O2 Arena, the most prestigious arena we have in the country, was a proud moment for me personally. Working with your mate doesn’t happen often but it’s certainly a perk of the job.“
The final word can go to Will Donbavand, “We’re now shipping our control package for our upcoming North American leg. Hopefully, next time we can take all of the Solotech crew too!”