Live Sound

The Von Bondies

Fusing raw garage and true punk with a smattering of soul, the Von Bondies are currently hitting small- and large-capacity clubs as they make their way 6/01/2004 8:00 AM Eastern

Fusing raw garage and true punk with a smattering of soul, the Von Bondies are currently hitting small- and large-capacity clubs as they make their way through the States and then to the UK in support of their latest release, Pawn Shoppe Heart. Nabbing Jerry Harrison to produce their first major-label effort helped the band catapult themselves into continual radio play and appearances on MTV. However, the band's front-of-house engineer, Steve Small, hasn't had the same luck: He must contend with the equipment that the venue offers. Mix caught up with Small the night before the band's Chicago gig in mid-March; photos were taken at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall later that month.

Front-of-house engineer Steve Small

“With smaller venues, you have to work around the sound that's coming off the stage,” Small says. “I use the P.A. to compensate for that. If the P.A. is really weak, we'll try to get them to turn down the volume — especially in a small room. Sometimes, you just have to go with it.”

While Small compensates for venue-provided gear, he does carry a tech rider. “At front of house, I use the house system — anything from a 24-channel Mackie up to a Crest.” For effects, the band carries its own backline and Small lugs around a few compressors with him such as a dbx 1066 and a Behringer Composer. Off the board, he employs a digital delay and two reverbs to create a retro effect on the vocals, which are miked with a Shure Beta 58. Guitars get treatment from 57s and the rest is dependent on what the venue offers, including the band's wedges. Small also serves as monitor engineer when the venue doesn't provide one; he sets monitors up on the FOH console's auxes.