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All Access: Snow Patrol and Plain White T’s

Pop-rockers Snow Patrol and openers the Plain White T's warmed up the San Francisco Bay Area in early November to the delight of their increasing fan

Snow Patrol’s vocalist Gary Lightbody

Photo: Steve Jennings

Pop-rockers Snow Patrol and openers the Plain White T’s warmed up the San Francisco Bay Area in early November to the delight of their increasing fan bases. Playing favorites from recently released
Up to Now
(Snow Patrol) and
Big Bad World
(Plain White T’s), the two bands rocked the house at Oakland, Calif.’s Fox Theatre; all gear except P.A. is provided by Eighth Day Sound.

Snow Patrol FOH engineer Suneil Pusari is mixing on a Digidesign Profile for a number of reasons, including joining the band mid-tour. He says the Profile “offered the solution of running a Pro Tools recording of their set through the board. This allowed me to sit in a studio in London with a small P.A. and have my own virtual rehearsal. I could put a show together from this, storing snapshots, building FX and getting comfortable with the songs. Also, this board is very intuitive: Both the layout and screen display are very important to me when mixing on-the-fly; changes must be immediate and fluid.

“Although I have a digital board, I’m a big fan of valves, so in my rack I have some Summits to warm things up, a Tube-Tech to keep the bottom end tight yet warm, a Focusrite Producer Pack [that] helps with the main vocals and dbx 160SLs for things that need to shine without being toppy or thin. I love Distressor EL8s — they are brilliant for vocals and on drums.”

Snow Patrol monitor engineer Tristan Farrow is mixing on a Yamaha PM5D using the updated FX library onboard. All bandmembers are on IEMs: “[Vocalist] Gary Lightbody uses Sensaphonics as he prefers the soft silicon fit along with the warm tone,” Farrow says. “The keyboardist also uses them as he finds they suit his key tone. The rest of the band is on UE11s. For me, mixing on the UE11s is like putting on your favorite pair of old slippers.”

Plain White T’s FOH engineer Adam Robinson (below) is sharing a Digidesign Profile board with Snow Patrol FOH engineer Suneil Pusari. The system is running five DSP cards and they are currently using the FWx card to record board mixes every once in while.

Robinson uses such onboard plug-ins as Smack! comps, a few Focusrite EQs, McDSP multiband comps (“my ‘never mix on a VENUE system without’ plug-in,” Robinson describes) and the reverbs ported from a TC 6000 system. “I have an Eventide Eclipse I use for some special FX and spend the rest of the time drooling at the rack of top-notch outboard gear Suneil spec’d for his show,” Robinson adds. “Suneil and I have a computer set up next to the console running Smaart, which we use to tune the [house-provided] system and do time alignments with. Typically, each day we start by listening to the systems ‘as-is’ and then do the time alignment. Suneil will then walk the room with the Lake tablet, tuning the system. I then add an overlay to his EQ and make the few modifications to get my mix to where I want it.

“For our changeovers, we were completely offstage in an average of six minutes, leaving the Snow Patrol crew the remainder of the 30-minute changeover to get ready.”

Gino Scarim, Plain White T’s monitor engineer (above), mixes on a DiGiCo SD8, touting the board’s great sound and user-friendliness. The band recently upgraded to the Sennheiser Evolution Wireless G3 300 IEM Series. “The Sync function was a great new feature. Tom, Tim, Dave, Mike and I are using Ultimate Ears UE7 ears, with De’Mar using Ultimate Ears UE7, UE10 and UE11. We’re not using any wedges, though we are talking about adding a pair for Mike Retondo in the future. We both really like the d&b [M2] wedges Snow Patrol is using.”