On tour since January to promote their latest album, LooseScrew, The Pretenders rocked through the San Francisco Bay Area inearly March. Fronted by the charismatic Chrissie Hynde, the seasonedband played two sold-out nights at the Warfield Theatre; theirwell-received set featured fan favorites from an impressive 25-yearrecording history.
New at FOH was Chris “Privet” Hedge, whose previouscredits include such diverse acts as Genesis, Gary Moore, TangerineDream and Irish boy-band Westlife. Hedge’s FOH console of choice is aMidas XL4. “It’s the best desk ever made,” he says.“The solid-state EQ and mic preamp are fantastic, the faders arebeautiful, and the MIDI/automation is more than sufficient.” Thesound system, consisting of self-powered Meyer cabinets, was suppliedby Solotech (Montreal, Quebec), which also provided monitor and controlsystems.
Hedge uses only moderate compression on the vocals, with a TLA 100Afollowed by a dbx 160A on Hynde’s lead vocal. “A band of thisquality should be allowed to breathe and create their owndynamic,” Hedge explains. “The dbx is just to make up thegain, because you don’t want to drive the TLA too hard: They’re quitenoisy machines. The 160A also goes into compression now and again as asort of goalkeeper if Chrissie screams. But it’s only on a 2:1 or 3:1ratio; it’s all soft compression.” For total control of hisgates, Hedge places D-Drum triggers on each of Martin Chambers’ drums.“If you use normal gating methods and rely on the mic to open thegate, you’ll struggle,” Hedge says. “Martin is a verydynamic player. So, in order to have enough accuracy with the gates,the triggers are crucial: to be able to set the threshold sensitivitylow enough for a grace note to open the gate, yet still avoid otherdrums breaking through. The clarity this helps produce isstriking.”