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Entec Live contributes towards 20th successful Teenage Cancer Trust season

Entec Live contributes towards 20th successful Teenage Cancer Trust season

UK - Ever since The Who reformed for the first Teenage Cancer Trust show at the Royal Albert Hall in the year 2000 under the patronage of Roger Daltrey CBE, this seven-day event – a highlight in the spring calendar – has thrown up some outstanding performances. This year it returned for its 20th edition following a three-year break.

A constant throughout has been the event’s exclusive sound production company, Entec Live. Two decades later, they continue to provide fresh, cutting-edge sound reinforcement, based around d&b audiotechnik’s new KSL system for the wide selection of artists supporting it. These included Paul Weller, who had also played at the inaugural event.

Entec worked alongside show producer Des Murphy and production manager Julie Chennells (of Ginger Owl), the latter having been ever present since the first event in 2000, so it was a familiar team.

Once again, the experienced Entec crew, under freelance project manager Matt Grounds, were equal to the challenges thrown up by the venue’s acoustic quirks, and varied line-up.

Reflecting on the event, Grounds, who took on PM duties back in 2016, having earlier mixed monitors on the show, stated: “We constantly review our spec to ensure it best fulfils the production’s needs, and this was the first year we’ve done the event with KSL.”

d&b’s new line array, aimed at superior directivity control, fully justified Entec’s investment. The main PA hangs comprised 16 KSL a side with 14 d&b V series side arrays, and Y-series enclosures providing front and balcony fills. “It’s a natural continuation of the J-series,” says the project manager.

But the big step forward this year, he said, was with the 14 SL subs which replaced the previous J-subs. “SL is a cardioid box by nature and a punchier sub than the J,” he assessed. “We opted for a centre column to maximise vertical coverage, with an additional horizontal array on the ground to give energy in the stalls. With the two working together we could achieve even coverage across the majority of the arena, with significant rear cancellation.”

Grounds, who also took on system tech duties, went on to say: “The room itself is far from straightforward – high and reverberant – and you realise the many little things there are to learn each time you play here. While KSL was a like-for-like replacement, it was important to make tweaks to get the best from it.”

The sound architecture was a typical, generic festival-type set-up. “System-wise, what tended to change on a daily basis was sub levels. We could tailor the pattern to fit everyone’s needs, for more energy at the front, or more even coverage, or to reduce levels on stage.”

In this set-up desks were able to flip flop, as Matt Grounds explained. “We had an [DiGiCo] SD10 out front and Madness and Paul Weller’s engineers plugged their show files into that as well as the support acts. That was linked to an SD11 so we could patch in both guest and our console, and have two people working at the same time.”

JoeCo again supplied two Blackbox MADI multitrack recorders, as they do each year. “We would take a MADI stream from ours or incoming control racks, where available, or an analogue split into a Ferrofish digital interface to convert to MADI. With this setup we were able to record anything.”

The project manager was full of praise for his team, some of whom had worked on the event previously. These included FOH engineer, Colin Woodward and monitor engineer, James Kerridge, the latter onboard a DiGiCo SD12, mixing to a stage system comprising d&b M2, d&b V-Sub and various side fills.

He also administered high praise for patch tech Rob Humphries and stage / RF tech, Barny Peplow, in charge of the Shure AD4Q radio mics and Shure PSM1000 IEMs.

As for the shows themselves Don Broco opened proceedings prior to the comedy night, before a complete transformation of the mood saw Yungblud making his Royal Albert Hall debut. The fourth night fell to Paul Weller and Madness before The Who and The Wild Things arrived on stage. The week built to a crescendo with Liam Gallagher, Kid Kapichi and RATS before Ed Sheeran and Dylan closed proceedings, with Sheeran, playing his third Teenage Cancer Trust gig.

Julie Chennells confirmed that production had worked alongside all artists to ensure they could bring in their own elements of production like pyro, kabuki or video screens. "I work closely with Des Murphy who is the producer of the show and organises all artist booking alongside patron Roger Daltrey CBE and promoter SJM Concerts," she noted.

Murphy himself first became involved in Teenage Cancer Trust back in 2003, moving to a more official role as co-producer with Roger Daltrey in 2008. And since 2007, when they started recording the shows he has become increasingly involved in the production element, alongside Julie Chennells.

“The only thing that was a concern for me this year was the possibility of having to cancel a show because of Covid. We implemented a sterile backstage for the entire week, everybody was extremely cooperative and thankfully this didn’t happen.”

“Entec have worked on the shows since the beginning and always offer a fantastic level of services,” Chennells observed. “Our crew chief Matt Grounds is brilliant with amazing attention to detail. The system they provide is high spec so all the artists are happy to use our house rig.

“From a production perspective we have got it to where it needs to be although we are always exploring new products, as technology changes. Our technical team is absolutely top notch and all are completely invested in the charity and what they do.”

Des Murphy agreed. “Having been with us from the very first show in 2000 Entec are committed to supporting the work of Teenage Cancer Trust. We have had a very eclectic line up at the Royal Albert Hall over the years, from some of the biggest rock bands in the world to orchestras, pop, EDM, spoken word and stand-up comedy.

Entec always handle each night with the same level of professionalism and quality of service.”

Grounds, Murphy and Chennells all agreed it was great to be back, the latter stating, “With the same team back across all departments, it actually felt like we hadn’t been away.”

But the final word came from Des Murphy. “As an event producer I am immensely proud of the consistently positive feedback we get from artists, management and crew about the standards of production and professionalism at this annual event for Teenage Cancer Trust.”

13th April 2022

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