UK rental and production specialist Adlib maintined its working relationship with Irish singer-songwriter/musician Hozier on his recent UK and European tour, with a Coda sound system specified by FOH sound engineer Steve ‘Patto’ Pattison

HozierWith a production team led by Duchess (Sue Iredale), the Liverpool based company supplied sound and lighting equipment plus, and an eye-catching and inventive lighting design created by Steven Douglas. Pattison joined the Hozier team mid-way through 2018 shortly after completing the Freedom Child world tour with Irish trio The Script. Hozier’s Nina Cried Power EP dropped almost immediately and with a new (second) studio album anticipated in the spring, the touring schedule started apace and continues worldwide throughout 2019.

Pattison chose a Coda AiRay system for the UK and Europe sections, after having an ‘amazing’ experience with it on The Script tour: ‘It is an incredibly powerful and highly versatile speaker system for its compact size, that can be flown or ground stacked in different configurations sounding equally good and bringing a continuity to the wide range of venues on the itinerary,’ he says.

‘It sounds great in a 1,200-seat theatre and a 15,000-capacity arena – one box covers all applications. The flexibility of going with Coda meant they could use the same box and have the same rich sound with all its luscious detail – dealing with the daily variations by using different quantities and rigging set-ups.

The largest format used 16 boxes a-side, with a ‘signature technique’ – 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.’

For standard stage fills Pattison used Coda APS (arrayable point source) speakers sat above the subs to fill out the corners, and Hops (high output point source) as the lip fills along the front of the stage.

Steve Pattison

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. These were not always needed in some rooms simply because the low-end response of the AiRay is so good.

Pattison clearly enjoys mixing the band and with 54 channels of ‘real’ input – eight people onstage who all sing and play instruments and not even a whiff of a backing track coming into his A&H dLive S7000 console. Because it’s all totally live, it’s a sound that he can make really big and spacious yet unique every day. He has been using the dLive S7000 for the last couple of years, since it was launched, and also mixed The Script with one. (audio for that tour was also supplied by Adlib). He likes it for its adaptability and because he doesn’t need any add-ons.

He uses 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 – so all his nuances and subtleties are right there at his fingertips on the console. ‘It sounds great and I’m completely self-contained, you wouldn’t believe the number of engineers who come up to me after the show asking what outboard and plug-ins I’m using … and then there’s the look on their face when I tell them none, it’s all onboard.’

Working alongside him on this leg of the tour were a ‘fantastic’ 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, also free of external plug,ins, and another desk that sounds very good, is highly flexible and offers excellent reverbs.

The band were all on IEMs. Adlib supplied a Shure PSM system, with a thumper seat for the drummer, so it was a nice clean stage. Hozier switched from a wired to wireless mic half way through the American leg so he could move around more freely, migrating from a standard Beta 58 to a Shure Axient Digital, which proved to be solid. ‘It’s one of the best radio systems I’ve heard at relaying detail, it’s all there even the small print,’ Pattison says.

‘We do feel very lucky in that we are back working with Hozier again,’ says Client Manager, Phil Kielty. ‘His live show is hard to beat for pure passion and musicianship and his fans are so loyal. It really does feel like a unique personal experience being at one of his gigs. Patto’s mix through the Coda system sounded awesome and Steven’s lighting design was clever and artful. A massive thank you to Duchess for bringing us back into the camp.’

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