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38 l August 2012

livefeature On the road 30TH JUNE


Sophie’s first show since she had her third child – I hopped on the Eurostar with her and her hubby (Richard Jones of The Feeling).

Basically this was an orbital stage outside, and VERY disorganised. Now get this: a show for more than 10,000 people and they put a [Yamaha] LS9 on stage right in the middle of the performance area, not only stupidly exposed, but it was impossible to hear FOH! Utterly stupid!

The gig was fine – nearly got kicked in the head by a flying dancer, but apart from that, another day in the office, if a little weird. Oh, and a nice romantic meal for three in the hotel with cocktails and all the usual freebies.



I cover this all-girl trio for my good friend John Delf. EARLY start today, after a restless night in an unnamed Kings Cross hotel.

I only had to do monitors here as the vocals were live to track. We had an LS9 powering the floor mixes,

but luckily it was well out of sight of the band – round the corner, up the hall and tucked away! It wasn’t a loud affair, and I had an iPad running the software to assist my mixes and parametric EQs. Easy, to be honest; and actually, the software worked well.

After the 9am soundcheck it was a waiting game until 12.30pm – and in a flash it’s all done and I find myself dashing for the train home (for one night!)

Some dB problems, and typical of the British summer, it was pouring with rain.

At FOH I loaded my file onto the Yamaha PM5D while admiring the immense stage that had been built for the 77,000 people in ‘Madchester’. 1ST JULY




The maddest day of my year so far! part two

PSNEurope is currently keeping tabs on the diaries of several internationally-renowned sound engineers. This month, Paul Watsonwelcomes back acclaimed FOH engineer Jon Sword, and introduces you to fellow mix maestro John Delf

I took on two shows today as it seemed timings would work out – just. First stop was the Park Plaza Hotel – Noisettes closed the Commercial Radio Awards, so we needed to soundcheck early on. Typical corporate event – changes, time and space are all tight and never as you plan it.

It was a [Yamaha] PM5D today – does anyone actually operate a file for this desk? Why USB hasn’t been properly integrated, I will never understand.

A revolving stage meant all the backline had to fit onto a small water biscuit, but it was easy; soundcheck came together on time, and I was soon inside my favourite venue, Shepherds Bush Empire, for soundcheck two!

I walked in JUST as the last mic cable was plugged in… Talk about close! Sadly, the venue ditched its HUGE 72-input Midas H3000 a few years back, in favour of the Midas PRO-something… which is a shame, as it’s now a soulless experience, because each in-house engineer tries to convince me (as if convincing himself) that it was such a good move and it’s an amazing desk… NAH, still not convinced!

So, a half-hour to ram down some dodgy food, and showtime. As the last cymbals die away, I’m dashing back to Westminster for the Noisettes show. I made it with 15 minutes to spare. And... breathe.



After such a full-on week it was nice to finish up at the beautiful town of Montreux.

This gig rocked – and I worked on a DiGiCo SD7. I like the SD range, although the screen layout can be a little confusing to read with pop-ups all over the place – but this is only my opinion and I MUST add that all these options are controllable on and off. It’s probably the most customisable of all consoles – if you can be bothered. Personally, I want to get stuck into mixing, not configuring!

JON SWORD’S MONTH For those who don’t know, Sword is arguably ‘the sixth member’ of UK pop act The Feeling. As well as being their FOH engineer for the past seven years, he’s also the band’s tour manager, and he undertakes a plethora of freelance work.

Jon Sword

Taking in the Montreux scenery

Sophie Ellis-Bextor in Paris

JOHN DELF’S MONTH John Delf currently works FOH for Plan B and Stooshe, and has worked with plenty more major artists including The Script, Lily Allen and Lana Del Rey. In his 22 years in the business, he’s travelled around the world a staggering 25 times!

John Delf with Lilly Allen

An easy gig with Stooshe

The Heaton Park crowd for The Stone Roses gig

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