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rucksack. This must have triggered a thousand or more images in his head of having to work under pressure without ideal equipment because, for the following anecdotes, young Savage is, in some way, to thank…

SETBACKS AT THE CHARLOTTE “No matter what equipment you’re working with, or not, as the case may be, the show has to go on,” says Rampton. “You have to find a way to make it happen. And where there’s a will there’s a way. As an engineer, this situation is particularly common when you start off small and build up to bigger things. You start off doing the ‘toilet circuit’, so you’re inevitably going to find yourself in places that don’t have all the right kit. Sometimes they don’t have any of the kit that you’d expect, but you have to make do with what’s there. “There was a favourite venue of mine on the toilet circuit – in Leicester, called the Princess Charlotte. It finally closed its doors last year, but for a long time it was a regular gig for a lot of bands and a big part of the indie scene in the city. But it was hard work – you had a stone flagged floor, a small aperture of a stage with a low ceiling, the system was caned to pieces, there wasn’t one microphone stand that wasn’t held together with gaffer tape. But once you’d been there a few times, you learnt the best way of making the most of the venue; you learnt how to deal with the acoustics and how to make the stands stand up. You quickly learnt that you needed to tape them to the stage as well because that began to give way over the years and it had a bit of a slant to it. I wouldn’t wish the Charlotte on anyone, but it was important to the scene and to the bands that played there so we had to do our best with it. “I did a gig there with a punk band called Compulsion, around about 1993 or 94 with Shed Seven on as support. Our LD had hired some gear from Bryan Leitch who had a company

called Art of Darkness, which had recently taken delivery of a brand new digital lighting system. Unfortunately, the house power supply was totally inadequate and when we tried to switch it on it didn’t work at all. But we noticed that underneath the stair well was an old generator, so we took it out the back, ran the cables inside and fired it up. “We found out that we could run four lights with it, so we decided to give it a go. The show started and the first thing that happened was all the petrol fumes started coming through the door, so we had to tape the door up. Then the generator started getting louder and louder until it sounded like it was going to explode. I looked up and the lighting designer had got eight lamps on the go. This was great, until it ran out of petrol halfway through the show. When all the lamps went out the LD marched through the punters, switched the house lights on and went straight to the bar and ordered a pint. We finished the show with the house lights.”

A DISTRO DILEMMA “These Heath Robinson approaches are actually sometimes the best.

“Back when I started working with Dirty Pretty Things, after my last gigs with the Libertines, the tour started in Mexico City and the first show was at a sort of festival come A-list party.

audioPRO October 2010 27

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