With two multi-Platinum albums and a Gold-certified single behind them, Sugar Ray have enough of a following to sell out most of the venues on their current U.S. tour of theaters, smaller arenas and sheds. Playing to a predominantly female audience at San Francisco's Warfield Theater, Orange County, Calif., natives Mark McGrath (vocals), Rodney Sheppard (guitar), Murphy Karges (bass), Stan Frazier (drums/guitar) and Craig “DJ Homicide” Bullock delivered an energetic and entertaining set drawn from their recently released fourth album, Sugar Ray, plus the hits “Fly,” “Someday” and “Every Morning” from the Floored and 14:59 albums.
Production manager and FOH engineer Bryan Clements (below) has been with the band for four years. Because drummer Stan Frazier also plays guitar and sings, an Akai DR16 sampler runs prerecorded drum tracks for about half the set. The Akai takes up about 12 inputs, leaving Clements with about 36 remaining for band and effects inputs.
At the top of the FOH outboard rack is a Summit TLA-100 compressor for singer Mark McGrath's vocal. “It's pretty transparent,” says Clements. “I use it on almost every show.” New in the effects rack for this tour is a TC Electronic D2, which Clements uses for long delays; a Harmonizer H3000 takes care of chorus and vocal effects. Unruly band dynamics are handled with dbx 160A compressors and Aphex gates, while overall system EQs are BSS ⅓-octave graphics. Assisting Bryan Clements at FOH is systems tech Neal Shelton; Arthur Porter rounds out the Schubert Systems sound crew.
Independent monitor engineer Scott Boculac is on his first tour with Sugar Ray — he has been mixing monitors for Creed since 1998 and was most recently out mixing in-ears for Peter Frampton. For this tour, Boculac specified a Midas Heritage 3000 mixing console, on which he creates both in-ear and wedge mixes. For singer Mark McGrath, Boculac creates stereo wedge mixes supplemented with proprietary Schubert Steridian full-range sidefills (all wedges are Clair Bros. 12AM models).
“The most challenging part of the gig for me is that Mark likes to hear a lot of effects onstage,” says Boculac. “He likes to hear Harmonizer as well as reverb, which is why his center monitor wedges are run in stereo. Getting it loud enough for him while still keeping tonal quality — that's the challenge.” In addition to a Harmonizer H3000, Boculac is using Yamaha SPX 990s for monitor mix reverbs.