Rick Johnson has been mixing and tour-managing genre-bending rock act Streetlight Manifesto for the last three years. The band doesn’t carry production — in fact, Johnson says sound checks are often done first with the house PA system off, so they can hear themselves in the room before it fills up (which their gigs tend to do).
As a result, Johnson, who is intimately familiar with the band’s sound, has to find a way to wrestle it through the different PA systems he faces in every venue the band plays in. “Sometimes it takes more work than others,” says Johnson, who also mixes live sound for punk artist Jeff Rosenstock. “It’s an interesting gig.”
A recently installed ShowMatch DeltaQ line array system from Bose Professional was waiting for them at one recent show. “It was great,” says Johnson, a Grand Rapids, MI native. “ShowMatch covered the room perfectly, it had what seemed like unlimited power, and it just sounded incredible.”
Johnson says that Streetlight Manifesto’s rowdy performances are undergirded by their tight horn section and expert musicianship. “It’s actually a complicated mix, with a lot of elements in it,” he explains. “That’s why it can be a challenge in some cases to get the sound of the show where it needs to be. Sometimes it seems like you’re literally pulling the band through a PA system. But with the ShowMatch system, it was incredibly easy.
“They tend to be a midrange-forward band in terms of frequency characteristics, and things can get lost in there, or else certain elements might start to poke out too much. But the Bose ShowMatch system barely needed any EQ to get the sound where I wanted it. It was great right out of the gate. For that show, ShowMatch and I were on the same side. Anytime I don’t have to fight the PA system is a good night.”