With Finland allowing live events within government restrictions, one of the nation’s top country artists, Steve ‘N’ Seagulls, continues to tour the country with its bluegrass reworkings of rock and metal anthems, all mixed from a compact Allen & Heath dLive Wings system.
As on previous tours, engineer Antti Laitila has created a front of house and monitor mixing rig for the five-piece band of multi-instrumentalists based on a dLive CDM32 MixRack and a 19-inch C1500 surface. Careful planning allows Antti to keep the size and weight of the system to a minimum, so the band benefits from a consistent, self-contained setup wherever they play.
A new addition for this run of shows is a portable DX168 I/O expander, giving Laitila a dedicated drum snake and future-proofing the setup in anticipation of a full 2021 European tour to mark the release of the band’s fourth studio album in late November. The DX168 has already proved valuable for accommodating guest performers and for splitting I/O to different locations when recording live videos. Housed in a Peli Air case, it can fly in the cabin with him on future fly-dates, allowing him to up the channel count without increasing the number of checked bags.
Working with a compact surface and musicians that can play up to five instruments apiece, Laitila has refined his showfile for maximum efficiency. “I use a lot of DCAs and audio groups,” he explains. “I love the DCA Spill function and I’m particularly happy with the addition of MCA (Mix Control Association). I’m moving away from DCA groups based on instruments and changing to a musician-based approach. It makes more sense, because each artist only plays one instrument at a time, and it saves me a couple of faders for something else.”
He’s also employing an IP8 remote controller that provides an extra eight faders in six layers. He keeps his FX sends and returns on the top layers and uses the rest for aux masters and utility channels. The IP8 is also an “insurance policy” in case the C1500 has an accident on tour, allowing him to keep the show running from the remote controller and a laptop running dLive Director.
The current Steve ‘N’ Seagulls tour runs until the end of September, with the European tour kicking off in late January 2021. Public events for up to 500 people are currently permitted in Finland, with larger audiences possible at outdoor events where there are several sections or demarcated areas intended for audiences. Indoor events with more than 500 persons may also be permitted in the country from the 1st of August onwards with special arrangements.