Try to name current recording artists who have had the kind of meteoric rise that Post Malone has achieved, and you’ll likely come up wanting. Coming seemingly out of nowhere (but actually out of Grapevine, Texas) in 2015 with the track “White Iverson,” the genre-bending Malone is currently nominated for four 2019 Grammy Awards and has two of the top five most streamed tracks on Spotify for 2018, not to mention the second most streamed album. Furthermore, his video for “Rockstar” has racked up nearly half a billion views on YouTube alone.
Riding the huge wave of momentum around his multi-platinum 2018 release, beerbongs & bentleys, Post Malone hosted and headlined his own inaugural musical festival, dubbed Posty Fest, on October 28 at the 20,000-capcacity Dos Equis Pavilion in Dallas. With numerous other top hip-hop and rap artists on the bill—including Tyler, The Creator and Travis Scott—Detroit-based touring sound company Thunder Audio was tapped to supply an L-Acoustics K1/K2-based loudspeaker system for the event.
Front of House Engineer Joseph Hellow knew going in that L-Acoustics would be an excellent choice for reproducing the melding of rap, emo, and R&B that are staples of Malone’s music. “We have a very theatrical, intimate show, and a massive dynamic range with tracks that wrap around his vocals,” Hellow describes, comparing Malone’s passion and stage presence to no less a light than the late Kurt Cobain. “Sonically, we needed something that hit the low end hard without interfering with an overall clean output. That’s L-Acoustics.”
Hellow, who has been working with the artist and his production team since Coachella 2018, has a solid hip-hop pedigree. Having worked with artists like Big Sean and Tyga, he also has a background that includes a number of Broadway productions. “I was kind of born into sound, growing up in a recording studio with my father, who owned one of Canada’s first A-level studios,” he explains.
That studio training and experience informs his current work with Malone. “L-Acoustics is one of the top two PA systems that we spec on our concert rider because of its sheer power while still being very smooth. This is a high-SPL show, but clarity is just as important as power, and most systems that have been presented to us have yet to be able to produce our sound, which includes multi-stage studio compression.”
The system that Thunder supplied for Posty Fest comprised two hangs of 14 K1 over four K2 per side with an additional two hangs of eight K1-SB flown upstage of the main left and right arrays. An additional eight K1 were flown per side as outfills with a total of three hangs of six K2 doing duty as center fills and delay fills. Low end was provided by a dozen SB28 ground-stacked in groups of four per side, and an additional 15 newly-purchased KS28 ground-stacked in groups of three in the center position. Another pair of SB28 was stacked under a pair of K2 as side fills, with two SB18 under three Kara upstage as DJ fills. Everything went through four P1 AVB processors feeding the LA8 and LA12X amplified controllers that powered the huge system and control was provided by DiGiCo SD10 consoles at FOH and monitors.
“We bought into the L-Acoustics product line after following it for many years,” adds Thunder Audio’s Greg Snyder. “And then K2 came out. Finally, a box that supported K1 sonically and mechanically! We immediately started investing into the product line. It quickly occupied the number one slot on riders and it has stayed number one for a long time.”
Snyder called out the K Series’ dynamic acoustic response, bulletproof deployment, and amazing headroom with true predictability as a few of the reasons that Thunder Audio and its clients are so happy with the L-Acoustics product line. “As Thunder is entering its 40th year in business, it continues to grow because of product lines like this. Our client list is very specific in asking for L-Acoustics,” he notes.