In 2011, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds released their debut album and embarked on an understated tour of theatre sized venues. Since then the band hasn’t stopped and 2016 has seen it embark on a world tour, with an L-Acoustics audio system provided by Britannia Row Productions.
Unsurprisingly the size of the venues has increased, with the latest tour including six UK arena dates, the tour concluding with a final show at the Brixton O2 Academy in September. Front of House engineer, Dan Lewis, has enjoyed a long working relationship with Gallagher, having worked with him since 2002.
“My relationship with Noel started as system tech for Oasis, after which I became their Front of House engineer,” says Dan. “Since then I’ve been FOH engineer for both Noel’s High Flying Birds and Beady Eye. I started using L-Acoustics with Beady Eye in 2011 and have used it ever since.”
For the High Flying Birds arena shows Dan specified an L-Acoustics rig, comprising 14 K1 per side for the main system and four K2 as underhangs. Nine K1 and four K2 were flown outside the main system as side hangs.
“K1 is great for the top end, it’s ideal for good HF projection to the back of arenas,” he says. “I also specified it for the sides because we still needed cabinets that would really project the sound off-axis at 45 degrees into those hard to get top seats.”
The system also featured three ground stacks of three SB28 subs per side, with two Kara on top. “Noel’s not a great fan of sub-bass on stage, so we ran them in cardioid mode,” says Dan. “We were surprised how much rear rejection we got up close to the back of the stacks. Cardioid subs can sometimes have the unwanted side effect of giving the monitor department a hard time, as they are in the firing line of the rear facing divers, but this arrangement worked really well and the expected grumbling didn’t happen.”
One of the many advantages of using L-Acoustics systems is the seamless tonality within the company’s loudspeaker ranges. This is very apparent in the sometimes challenging acoustic environment of larger venues.
“The whole L-Acoustics range relates up and down the boxes,” says Dan. “In March last year we did London’s Rivoli Ballroom with Kara and it translated very nicely. We did the Royal Albert Hall with K2, which worked well, and we did Brixton with K2, as well. The Panflex system with the variable dispersion really helps to minimise the famous Brixton echo, keeping the mid and high energy off the walls upstairs. I would go as far to say it’s the best sounding thing I have heard in there yet! Working with Brit Row and their L-Acoustics system is always a pleasure.”