The Strokes and longtime sound engineer James Gebhard recently trekked through the UK for a theater/arena tour. For this tour, Gebhard was paired with Capital Sound’s systems tech Al Woods and the company's Martin Audio line array.
“The W8L/LC is my preferred system of choice,” says Gebhard. “Martin is always the first name on my spec, which is why I use Capital, apart from the great working relationship I have with them.”
With The Strokes since the beginning five years ago, Gebhard still masterminds their live sound with a largely transparent approach, keeping processing to a minimum. “I use a bit of reverb and delay, largely because the new album has it, and I use the Avalon preamps on Julian [Casablancas'] vocals for distortion on the older songs, but that’s it.”
The band played a variety of theaters and arenas, but the extra lighting carried by the production—a mother grid and separate triangular truss—restricted the crew’s ability to fly the system. “It’s a relatively heavy lighting rig for some of the venues,” says Woods, “which can eat into the weight available to hang P.A. However, the W8LC is a very light, powerful box and is a great choice for a flown system in these situations.”
Throughout the tour, production used both the W8L and W8LC as the main hangs, adding outfills and sidehangs and, wherever necessary, Martin’s dedicated W8LD downfill box.
Onstage, monitor engineer Jamie Landy provides eight monitor mixes via the 12 Martin LE700Cs. A W8C/S218 sidefill stack keeps the sound focused onstage. “Nicolai [Fraiture] has a lot of kick to his bass,” says Landy, “and so the S218s were recommended, and he’s not kicked his wedges off the stage yet.” Another stage mix is sent to the W2/W2SA drum fill combo for drummer Fab Moretti.