Adlib in Overdrive

Photo: Steve Sroka

Adlib supplied lighting, audio production and crew for the highly festive Christmas with the Overtones tour, renewing a long term working relationship with the 5-piece harmony group.

Mario Leal led Adlib’s audio team, and was tasked with utilising a Coda Audio PA for the band’s FOH Sound Engineer, Mark Clements. Paul Allen, Tour and Production Manager, steered the ship; specifying Clements and Monitor Engineer Cristiano Vuolo, alongside Account Handler Dave Jones, to work on the event.

Leal explained: “It’s the best sounding system I’ve ever heard,” he commented on the ViRAY which was chosen for the main arrays, particularly because of its suitability for theatre and academy type venues, where its power and expedient size make it an excellent touring option. They also played some large concert halls, where they had the flexibility to cover the extra space.

A typical set up was 12 Coda Audio ViRAY left and right with 3 sensor-controlled SCP subs a side on the floor (6 in total), together with 6 Coda Audio TiRAY front fills, which as the smaller version of the Coda Audio line array, worked perfectly to fill any sonic gaps. Leal also covered the balconies with extra Coda Audio C712 loudspeakers in some of the bigger halls. This approach was especially useful when audiences were sitting behind the PA when the balconies curved all the way round to the sides of stage. The whole system was driven by 20 of Coda Audio’s proprietary Linus 10 amps, which, were set up and aligned utilising LINUS Live software which gives full networked control over the amps and the arrays, with the EQ and zoning taken care of in Leal’s Lab.gruppen Lake control rack.

“The mid-range is simply amazing – I have never heard clarity like this before – you can hear absolutely ALL of the details,” Lead commented. When he knew they would be touring ViRAY on the Overtones, he was delighted. The big challenge – for both audio and lighting -was that they had only 1 truck for everything including backline, so extra care was taken to pack the truck tightly and safely. The small dimensions and light weight of the Coda Audio speakers were critical in this scenario, enabling them to take an appropriate PA without monopolising truck space.

Leal was the only audio tech on the tour, so he again he really appreciated the smaller, lighter philosophy of Coda Audio, together with its straightforward rigging. “I have no issues at all building the arrays on my own or with the assistance of one of the stage crew,” he said. Adlib supplied 2 Avid Profile consoles for the tour – for FOH and monitors. The Overtones used an 8-way Sennheiser SR2000 IEM system from Adlib, there were no side fills, keeping the stage clean and clear, and for atmosphere they added 4 of Adlib’s new MP5 wedges across the front. There were 2 Adlib MP4 subs allocated to the drummer and the bassist, with the third shared between the guitarist and keyboardist, who were positioned adjacent to one another onstage. The Overtones’ mics were 6 (5 and a spare) Shure UR4D hand helds with a Beta 87A mic capsule for Timmy Matley.

They didn’t tour a specific monitor tech, so Leal was kept busy, but he concluded: “We had a couple of days production rehearsals at Capital Studios in London and that was enough time for us to start the tour in really good shape.”

Lighting Designer Neil Holloway has worked for The Overtones for around 6 years, and on this run collaborated closely with Touring Operator and Lighting Director, Tess Minor. Holloway had to spec a rig that would fit in a tight allocation of truck space so this was the galvanising aspect, as the brief was – as always – to create something special. He chose fixtures that were multi-purpose, offered many options and would give them plenty of latitude for all of the different sized venues and stages on the itinerary.

The decision was made to go with a single back truss and utilise the house rigs for front and key lighting, available at 95% of the shows. Hung on the back truss were 5 Martin by Harman MAC Viper profiles and 6 Martin by Harman MAC Aura LED washes which provided lots of variety. They also had 2 ProLight Solar 36 LED washes, used in conjunction with another 2 on the floor, to illuminate a series of custom gauze banners at the back created by Back2Front. Holloway likes to light from the floor for the dramatic angles and dynamics, so another 4 Vipers were on the deck, a fixture Neil loves for the size-to-weight ratio and ability to go from “massive wide zoomed out looks to tightly tapered super-bright beam scenes.”

Another 8 Martin by Harman Auras were deployed upstage / downstage stage left and right for low angled side washes, and 6 MAC Quantum Washes on different height Manfrotto stands were set up in an arc around the back of the set risers, nicely filling the space between the back truss and the floor fixtures. Being a festive tour, there was a load of festoon and 6 Christmas trees with integral lights positioned in a similar arc to the Quantums on stands. Far upstage – behind the gauze banners – the visual picture was finished with a black wool serge drape. An MA Lighting grandMA2 light with an onPC as backup were utilised for control.

Adlib also supplied the risers, a set of mid-stage steps and all the relevant dressing to make it look chic onstage. Adlib’s lighting account handler was Dave Eldridge, who ensured that everything ran smoothly from the office / warehouse end. Holloway concluded: “Adlib’s people are all absolutely impeccable! They do an incredible job, have great personalities and I am very happy to work with them whenever possible.”