Steve Lagudi, FOH Engineer for Machine Head

Photo: Paul Michael Hughes Photography

“An Evening With Machine Head”

My typical day begins around 9am, climbing out from the bunk on the tour bus. I sit with a cup of tea for a while, because I am so NOT a coffee person! I read through my emails, messages and try to catch up on all the social media outlets to somehow feel connected to, dare I say, the ‘normal world’ outside of touring.

For Machine Head, I am the only audio person on the crew, which means not only do I have to set up everything myself, but it’s the same with breaking it all down too. Many people might think that this is a hassle, but it’s an audio system I designed, so for me it’s fairly easy and painless.

I start with monitors, which take up a very small footprint. Since I don’t have a monitor engineer, I can tuck my stuff nicely out of the way, giving more space on stage. First thing positioned is my FOH I/O Rack, which contains the Midas Neutron Engine for the Midas PRO X console, three Midas DL151 Input boxes, a Midas DL152 Output box, four Audio-Technica wireless mics and on the back, is a custom three-way transformer isolated analogue splitter snake with sub snake inputs. Next to that is a 16 space rack that has all of the in-ear transmitters. On top of that rack is where our Behringer X32 console sits. With just two power cables, one mass connector and a few XLR connections, monitors is set up and ready to go in less than five minutes. While I’m doing that, I put the local crew to work by having them run out fiber optic cables that will connect the Neutron on stage to the PRO X surface out at FOH.

Heading out to FOH, once again, it’s a very small set up, just my Midas PRO X control surface and a 16-space rack. Once I am powered up, which takes just a few minutes, I transfer the previously recorded show to my back up hard drive which takes about 45-50 minutes.

If everything is going smoothly with the rest of the production set up, I can get about 10-15 minutes to start listening to the PA, getting it all tuned and ready for line check, adding drum, guitar and vocal mics. At this point in the day, I usually get a little time to break away and grab some lunch before the band make their way on stage. With these An Evening with Machine Head shows, we play for between two and a half to three hours a night. We change the set list every day and the band use sound check to rehearse the new songs that are being added to the set. I tend not to go too crazy with my sound checks; if we plan on adding some songs I’ll create a new snapshot for my automation, which is where I just set up the layout of the desk and tweak effects for that song.

Upon completion of the show, I cue up the outro and walk out music. I use the local crew for removing all the mic stands and downstage cables, as well as unplugging all the drum looms and wrapping up the five sub lines. At this point I have broken down everything at FOH with the exception of putting the lid on the console. I head up to the stage and pack down all my mics, save the scene on the X32, both on the desk and the back up USB stick. Placing all the lids on the racks, the entire monitor set up is packed down, staged in order and ready for load out in less than 10 minutes. The local crew is winding up the fiber optic lines and by the time they are done with that, they assist me with putting the lid on the PRO X at FOH.

And just like that, another show is in the books. Time to grab a shower, have an after-show meal and go to bed… only to do it all over again the next day.

Steve Lagudi