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Britrow and Leicester City celebrate with Kasabian

Britrow and Leicester City celebrate with Kasabian
Britrow and Leicester City celebrate with Kasabian

UK – A season’s climax that proved irresistible to band and club alike, the celebration of Leicester City FC’s winning performance in the Premier League saw a fitting tribute from home town band Kasabian when they played the club’s own King Power Stadium 28th and 29th May. But football is a fickle game at best, no matter how confident the fans, planning for such an event could only ever be a pencil booking right up to the end of season. Kasabian’s sound engineer Paul Ramsay saw it all. “I got the call just four weeks before the first stadium show. It was insane; a month of my life passed by in a flash filled with frantic phone calls.”

So how do you prepare? “Kasabian had not played a live show since last August. At least they were rested. But it is a busy time of year. When I first called Lez Dwight at Britrow and said, ‘Can you put a stadium rig together?’ he already had several arena tours and the BBC Radio Big Weekend booked for the same weekend! Bryan Grant joked to me that they had just purchased another L-Acoustics K1 system and he hadn’t even seen it, it had gone straight out.”

As applications for public licences were hurriedly submitted and logistical considerations addressed, Ramsay commenced rehearsals. “We had four days in Marshall, a day at Millennium, then four days’ full production at Lite Structures. It was tight when you consider we had just a few days rehearsals, then the special celebration event for 240,000 in Victoria Park, Leicester at the end of the open top bus parade. That was pretty amazing. Then full production rehearsals and two warm up shows before we did the two big full production shows at the stadium.”

Lez Dwight at Britrow shrugs off the pressures of assembling such a show at short notice. “We have a very high turnover of events at Britrow this time of year,” he began. “Typically, we might have 20 live events over a single summer weekend. Most are smaller of course, though on top of that we do currently have fourteen major acts out with control and monitors for festivals, so it’s all full on. But we have the systems in place to manage that high turnover, so long as we have the gear.”

And Ramsay it seems, needed something special. “That was the other thing, finding the kit. We had a few extra channels added for these shows, the band brought in a string section and a choir, I had almost 100 inputs to the SD7. Britrow really did a brilliant job filling the gaps in their inventory. They sourced absolutely everything I asked for, mics, desks, everything. And I got to use their brand new L-Acoustics KS28 subs, straight out the box. They were phenomenal. First time I heard them was the warm up shows. I heard stuff in the Subs from the keyboards I’d not heard before. And I had to turn them down. That’s not like me.”

“Crew was another tricky thing for Britrow, a lot of their guys were out. My regular system tech’ Adam Smith was in the US with the Cure. Josh Lloyd did the advance with me and the system design for the stadium. He’s a safe pair of hands but was committed to a Robbie Williams show out in Jordan on the day, so I got Robbie Frater for the actual weekend of the shows and warm up shows. I knew him, he’d been a PA tech on a previous tour where I’d used Britrow and I knew he knew the K1 system inside out.”

“Across the crew there were a couple of unfamiliar faces but it all seemed good and felt no different from what I’m used to. They worked so hard: because of the tight schedule the stage was only just ready on the Thursday night so the Britrow crew loaded in at 6pm and worked all night. Not a simple rig either. Construction regulations dictated that some grandstands were only rated for a brief thump of jubilation from a soccer crowd, not for dancing rock fans; one stand was limited to just seventeen rows. That meant we had an asymmetric set of delays and a slight different arrangement to the mains Left/Right system but they did it perfectly.”

Ramsay’s summary of the shows was telling: “I’ll tell you how impressed I was with the way the system had been set-up. The off-site noise limit was set at 65dB on a 15-minute LEQ at first residential property. We never exceeded it and the crowd were unbelievably noisy. In the stadium it was as loud as I needed it to be. The band did what they knew the crowd would want: all the hits, lots of old songs, but they did squeeze in one of the new ones off the new album and it was well received. The shows were amazing. This was very special and everyone rose to the occasion. Well worth four stressful weeks in preparation.”

photos: Lez Dwight

Britrow and Leicester City celebrate with KasabianBritrow and Leicester City celebrate with Kasabian

22nd June 2016

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