Unforgettable sound for Simple Minds
They may have been around for over three decades, but Simple Minds is still on many a must go to gig list. And now, the band that scored over twenty Top 20 hits, is currently undertaking a major world tour. It kicked off in Dublin at the end of January 2006, marks the release of their album, Black & White 050505 , and is reported as ‘an astounding return to form'.
Still best known for their 1985 number one Don't You Forget About Me from the film The Breakfast Club, Simple Minds is playing all manner of venues, from the most intimate to the vast. The tour is predominantly one-niters, so the tight turnarounds and diversity in size of venues demand a flexible and easily programmed sound system.
Sub-hired from rental company Concert Sound to main supplier EML for the UK leg of the tour, FOH Engineer Patrick Demoustier is mixing both Simple Minds and the support band on a DiGiCo D1 Live. He says it can only be a DiGiCo console because he believes these are the most straightforward and intuitive digital consoles on the market. Having one of the first models off the production line, he took delivery without an instruction manual. “But I didn't need one, because it really is very simple,” he smiles.
Demoustier has been with the band since 1997 and knows better than most that Simple Minds does not necessarily equal simple sounds. “The band is well known for its imaginative ‘soundscapes' and effects,” he says. “On tour, they expect to sound as true to their original recordings as possible. This demands plenty of pre-programming for each song, which means I need a quick and easily programmable digital console. To manage that on an analogue desk would be impossible, but to set it up on the D1 is easy.”
Quite apart from its superb sound quality, for Demoustier the D1 has helped cut down on outboard by over fifty percent. “Some people say digital is very expensive,” he comments. “But, if you take into account the time it saves in setting up, the space it saves in the truck and the reduction in staff required to manage it, you'll find this just isn't so.”
The band's passion for presenting fresh, high-quality live performance is reflected in the choice of equipment. And they still feel they have plenty to give. To that end, lead vocalist Jim Kerr can often be found FOH keeping everyone on his or her toes, conferring with Demoustier and fine-tuning the audio.
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