Ward Thomas and The Shires tour

In multiple band scenarios at most festivals, the front of house engineer doesn’t leave the console for much other than food and toilet breaks. I love the environment of swift turnarounds and quick decisions, where often only the headlining acts will have a scheduled soundcheck, so for everyone else throughout the day we plug in and check everything works (linecheck), get monitoring settled and then launch into a show. There is little more satisfying than pulling together a great mix in those first few bars…

Although I’d met Lizzy and Catherine Ward Thomas at Hurtwood House (where we provide lighting, video and set design), I hadn’t quite clocked that they were part of the packed lineup at Chagstock Festival last year. As I looked up from labelling the console I spotted them walking out to set up, along with guitarist Dan Gordon. (While working with Show of Hands I’d met Dan on numerous occasions, but didn’t know that he worked with WT or was such a talented musician!) After brief hellos, a line check full of smiles and giggles and a fantastic performance I managed to catch up with the band backstage.

I was pleased to hear they’d had a great time and flattered a few weeks later when asked if I was interested in working with them for upcoming dates in the UK and Ireland.

In the run up to the tour the band specification was refreshed, and we sourced in ear monitoring along with custom moulded drivers for the band members. In rehearsals a JoeCo Blackbox recorder was used so mixes could be fine tuned, and the band could listen back immediately to arrangements and tweak IEM settings. This was used to create scenes per song, recalling processing or effects settings.

By touring a console, mics package and IEM systems I had a stable basis to fine tune venue systems while ensuring the band had consistent monitor mixes night after night.

For the last 5 dates of the tour we again supplied multitrack recording equipment (JoeCo Blackbox recorder), and those tracks are currently being mixed for release early in 2015.

Looking forward to working with them again in March

Chris Puxley

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