The Keyclub Hollywood, which has hosted the likes of Aerosmith, Marilyn Manson and Black Eyed Peas, has just opened up its sister venue at the Morongo Casino and Spa with a state-of-the-art-sound system install provided by Rat Sound Systems.
“I have worked with Rat several times before in the past, and I had zero time to squander with this particular installation,” says Brad Kemp, Keyclub production and install supervisor. “I can trust Dave Rat and his crew to entertain any unorthodox idea or challenge that I’m faced with, and Rat’s Jon Monson will not only put it all together, but answer my calls near anytime of the day! I’m the first to admit that I am not an easy client; I can be perpetually fastidious and obsessive over the smallest of things, but I have found that Rat was most important to me because of the long-term support. I have rooms that have changed hands since my install and are way past a ‘warranty’ period, yet I know I could still rely on the Rat gang for help anytime.”
The previous tenants at the Morongo were strictly dance club–oriented, whereas the Keyclub’s philosophy is to remain as diverse as possible. The Keyclub production workload is slightly aggressive as it is not uncommon to expect a film shoot in the morning, a multiple-band show, followed by a disco load out. It was essential to prepare the venue for anything and choose the right gear for the job.
The venue was originally set up as a round room with random speakers along the perimeter, hard reflective surfaces everywhere and a vague focal point representing a stage. The big question was how do make the room as accommodating, yet as flexible as possible for live shows.
“We started with recessing the snakes and drive lines and multi-breakouts on everything,” Kemp continues. “I need FOH or monitor world to be set up or struck within 10 minutes ideally, so everything is condensed and on casters. FOH was chosen to comprise the desk, PSU and EQ/FX rack, and that was it—clean and simple. I secretly agonized over my choice of desks for this room, but after considering all the aspects and needs of the venue, the logical choice was two Yamaha PM5Ds. We are in an era of transition in the audio world where digital desks are in some cases becoming the practical choice. I get engineers now who simply want to show up with a card, load it and get right down to the final tweaking. The Keyclub also has residencies and weekly shows that can be saved and hence cut my set up and labor costs by a considerable amount.
“To keep things fun,” he continues, “I have a K-T DN6000RTA at the FOH rack, as well as Yamaha SPX-2000, Lexicon PCM 91 and a TC Electronic D2 Delay because everyone loves a tap delay. The main drive rack comprises two XTA DP 428s, and we have incorporated the old P.A. as a supplement system by throwing a Midas XL88 Matrix mixer. I have been drooling over the Radian micro wedges for a while now and finally had a chance to install them. I have 14 of the 12-inch and I’m working on a few of the 15-inch for good measure!”