The Cure at BottleRock Napa Valley 2014Despite what we read in the American media, The Cure actually do tour pretty regularly, with 31 festival headlining dates, a stadium tour of South America and a number of one-offs over the past 18 mo 7/01/2014 5:00 AM Eastern
Despite what we read in the American media, The Cure actually do tour pretty regularly, with 31 festival headlining dates, a stadium tour of South America and a number of one-offs over the past 18 months. But it was still a big deal when the band stopped in at BottleRock, the late-May Napa Valley music festival, and played to their fans in Northern California.
Paul Corkett (Björk, Nick Cave, Placebo, others) has been mixing FOH for The Cure the past two years, though he has worked off and on with the band since co-producing Bloodflowers in 1998. Though the band is typically supported worldwide by Britannia Row Productions out of the UK, for the BottleRock date, gear was supplied by Delicate Productions out of the Bay Area. (Delicate’s George Edwards, system tech Luke Chadwick, advance man Chris Campbell, and stage tech Steve Walsh received kudos from The Cure crew.)
“My desk of choice is an Avid Profile, and we’re running 72 inputs, including timecode and audience mics,” Corkett says, adding that there are two Pro Tools rigs, with a feed split to one for recording/archiving by Keith Uddin. “Robert’s vocal chain comprises a Shure SM58A with a rolloff at 90 Hz. I use the Waves H compressor very gently at 3:1 and add a little H delay. The songs are well-written, and the vocal always cuts through the mix naturally. The H delay is the only effect on the desk. All effects and dynamics come from the band onstage. I aim for an exciting and powerful mix in which everyone can be heard clearly.”
Ben Phillips has been working off and on with The Cure since 2004 as stage tech, FOH system tech, and FOH and monitor engineer. For the BottleRock show, he sat in for Rob “Brains” Elliot, who was on the road at the time with The Black Keys. He mixes the stage on a Yamaha PM5D console.
“We should really upgrade to a larger console,” he says. “Squeezing in 72 inputs and 36 outputs has required a bit of creative patching, but we get there. There are a few cues and changes to make throughout the set, but the band are really good at controlling their dynamics so more often than not, the levels are fairly similar from day to day.
“Robert [Smith, guitar and vocals] has both front and rear wedges,” he continues. “The front is predominantly vocals, with the rear providing most of the musical elements. Reeves [Gabrels, guitar] and Simon [Gallup, bass] have a good mix of the band, with Simon also having a rear wedge. Roger [O'Donnell, keys] is on wireless IEM, leaving Jason [Cooper, drums] on a wired IEM— sometimes with a sub or thumper, too. Jason has a 16-channel mixer with him to mix his own IEMs. Various stems and feeds are sent to the drum riser to give him maximum flexibility. There are several tech mixes, too, with the SR guitar techs (Chris Boyle and Jeremy Hayward) having a wedge, and another 3 IEM for the Keys (Mike Lord), Drums (Paul Ricky Welton) and Logic (Keith Uddin) techs. All wedges are d&b M2. IEM are Sennheiser 2000 Series and Shure P6HW.”