The reunited Stray Cats have been touring as both a headlining tour and on dates opening for ZZ Top. We spoke with Jake Mann, the band's front-of-house engineer (as well as monitors for ZZ Top), and monitor engineer Tim Engwall.
Mann is using a Digidesign D-Show Profile for the Stray Cats and a VENUE for ZZ Top, using onboard plug-ins that include the Eventide bundle at FOH and Crane Song's Phoenix for both positions. “I can't live without the Phoenix,” Mann says. “It is an amazing plug-in and I use it in more places than I would have originally thought. I spent some time talking with Scott Lillo from Crane Song, which was enlightening. The Phoenix will do wonders for your low-end instruments, and the overall effect of it on in-ear mixes is pretty amazing, too!”
Tim Engwall (background, monitors) and Jake Mann (FOH)
The tour is carrying a Clair Bros. rig: 28 i4s (main hang), 12 i3s (side hang), T2 subs and FF-2 front-fill, with Crown/QSC power.
“It's been a roller coaster of fun working both ends of the snake for two of the acts,” Mann continues. “The Stray Cats are an amazing bunch of musicians, and working for them has been fun from day one.”
Over in monitor world, Engwall mans a Digidesign D-Show console using just 16 inputs and five monitor outputs, including a center pair of Clair Bros. 12 AMs, a single wedge for Slim Jim Phantom on stage-right, another pair of wedges for Lee Rocker (stage-left) and three-way Clair stereo sidefills.
Vocals are Shure SM58s, with all Audio-Technica mics on Phantom's drum kit. “The band doesn't do soundchecks,” Engwall says. “They put trust in the fact that we will have everything dialed in before they get onstage. If anything needs adjusting during the show, they know I'll be right there to handle it.”