Montreux Jazz Festival 2012 – Diary (Part IV)

Hello again! Although the festival is now officially over I’d like to share some of my experiences of the last few days with you…

Monday, 07/09: Labrinth and Pitbull at Stravinski. During the soundcheck I did a backstage tour with some guests (dealers, PA rentals) from Germany and we could catch a glimpse of the band doing the soundcheck. Only for a few minutes, but better than nothing. And although Hip Hop is normally not my kind of music it became quite an entertaining evening. Pitbull showed up with a whole bunch of instruments – drums, percussions, bass, keyboards, sax… Plus a DJ, of course 🙂 I spent some time at the FOH place watching our PSM 1000 systems. As before during the soundcheck, all transmitters were close to the clipping – Pitbull prefers to perform a little bit louder.

When Pitbull was over, I went to the Miles Davis Hall. After “Dr. House” Hugh Laurie and Dr. John, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue entered the stage. Amazing performance. For the first concerts the hall was furnished with chairs but when Trombone Shorty started no one was sitting anymore. It seemed as if Trombone Shorty didn’t want to finish, he and his musicians played and played and even changed their instruments among each other. This was definitely one of the highlights!

Tuesday, 07/10: Today: Nick Waterhouse and Anastacia at Stravinski, Gilberto Gil’s Viramundo and Melody Gardot at Miles. During the souncheck, the crew of Anastacia as well as the monitor engineer seemed to be very nervous. Anastacia brought only parts of their backline, including wireless mics and 3-4 in-ear channels of another well-known manufacturer. Futhermore the band management requested another 14 in-ear channels of this manufacturer. Because of these additional channels I’ve had a chat with the responsible sound coordinator as he’s in charge to tell the band management, that we do have 14 more channels – but from Shure. Wasn’t a problem at all and they “only” needed 8 channels in the end. The concert of Anastacia was scheduled to begin at 21:30 but then Butterscotch (www.butterscotchmusic.com) made it to the lineup on a very short notice. She played about half an hour but obviously Anastacia’s management wasn’t involved in that and was not very happy about this. So, how do I describe the show? First the positive: Her voice was very impressive and transparent as we all now it from her recordings. She played the songs everyone knows. Other than that there were some glitches – the band didn’t really look as if they had fun playing plus they had some issues with the timing, Anastacia missed the start of one song and told the band to start with the chorus. Maybe she had just a bad day.

After Anastacia I went down to see Melody Gardot at Miles Davis. When I ran into the hall I had the feeling of having a sauna as the singer wished that the air condition was switched off. It was barely to stand.

Wednesday, 07/11: Fourplay (Bob James, Nathan East, Harvey Mason and Chuck Loeb), Herbie Hancock (for the 28th time at Montreux!), and Sergio Mendes at Stravinski. The soundcheck was very relaxed. No comparison to the day before. Fourplay and Herbie Hancock brought parts of the backline plus some wireless and IEM systems. I already knew the tour and production manager of Fourplay and it was cool to meet them again. I watched both concerts at the FOH place. Great musicians, great sound. After the concert I joined the soundcrew of Herbie Hancock for a few drinks 🙂

Thursday, 07/12: Two soundchecks in parallel. Jessie J at Miles Davis and Nightwish at Stravinski. Pop at Miles, Symphonic Metal at Stravinksi. Both bands arrvied with their own backline and lots of wireless, of course… I was in touch with the bands’ monitor guys to coordinate the frequencies. As expected the Wireless Workbench Software shows some interference alerts from Stravinski. Ok, apparently Nightwish has powered their wireless systems on. When I came to the monitor place about the half of the 16 Axient channels blinked red due to the interferences. These could be solved with the Spectrum Manager’s back-up frequencies.

Axient Interference Alert @ Nighwish soundcheck

Afterwards Jessie J soundcheck at Miles. Just wanted to see if there are also any interferences around when the production manager asked all technicians who do not belong to the Jessie J crew to leave the stage. Just watched our receivers on stage, were looking fine. Then the Miles Davis stage crew and I left the hall. Around 18:00 I went to the Fourplay workshop at the Montreux Palace where I met Nathan East. After the workshop I enjoyed a few beers with the Fourplay sound and production crew at the Palace. Cool 🙂

Nathan East and I

Friday, 07/13: The Nightwish performance yesterday was simply incredible. I’ve never seen them live before and was blown away. This concert could have lasted longer, 90 minutes were much too short.

Today Freak Out! party at Stravinski. All 16 channels Axient and 14 channels PSM 1000 in action. The concert was planned to last from 20:00 until 04:00 in the morning! Or longer!

Whatever. Something that is certain is that Saturday is the last day and the soundcheck of Herbert Grönemeyer is scheduled for 11:00.

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