Ah yes, driving into the city right at the start of a Cubs game is right at the top of a long list of things I’d rather not do ever, but today was the exception, new Shure endorsers Yeasayer were in town for a sold-out Metro show. I was notified ahead of time that I would have extra special parking right behind the Yeasayer mobile unit… I would typically refer to this as the band bus, but it wasn’t quite a bus nor an RV… It had a trailer attached, so it was a clear indicator that this must be the place.
I proceeded to unload the Shure product I brought along for the guys to try out and headed into the venue. The band was still loading in their equipment and setting up as well, so it gave us some time to meet and greet and check out the assortment of audio arsenal I entered the premises with. The big concern for Yeasayer during this tour, was the increasingly loud stage volume and concern for going deaf if this pace was to continue. Today I brought out the most sought after Shure product in recent years for the guys to sample, the PSM 900 personal in ear monitor system. Of course a few choice new mics made the stage set up for the evening as well. The SM27 served well on the drum overheads and the KSM 313 made for an exceptional guitar amp mic.
Once all the mics were in place and the PSM 900 was fired up and configured (which took just seconds to accomplish), I helped the band fit the earphones properly into their ears before beginning their soundcheck. From the moment guitarist Anand Wilder and bassist Ira Wolf Tuton turned their packs on, they were hooked. Their eyes got huge and they couldn’t believe how well they could hear themselves and the rest of the stage, all at a comfortable volume. They both immediately began working with the Metro’s monitor engineer to craft their own mix for the evening ahead. Once things were cued up, they began work on harmonizing some of the vocals from the band’s second album Odd Blood. I was amazed at how well they took to the technology having never used personal in ear monitors before. In my experience, it takes a little getting used to, but once you’re comfortable with it, you’ll never go without them again.
Touring members Jason Trammell on drums and Ahmed Gallab on percussion were using the PSM 600 Hard Wire packs and were as equally blown away by the difference it made on the stage. Everyone seemed to be comfortable and ready for soundcheck, so the band rolled through a few choice cuts from their latest release.
I took a spot next to front-of-house engineer Mark Creegan as he worked on crafting the perfect mix for the crowd eagerly waiting to get in on the outside. Once all elements of sound were carefully blended, Mark commented on how quiet the stage was, perhaps the quietest it’s been the whole tour. He marveled in the fact that he could experience some dynamics with the stage volume and the sound at front-of-house. I told him that the PSM systems were going to have a huge impact on the stage volume, but I don’t think he expected that much of a difference when we first started setting up.
I watched the band run through a few more tunes as Sleigh Bells began piling up their gear towards the front of the stage eagerly awaiting their chance to soundcheck. I went out to talk with the guys about their experience and they were admittedly blown away. Tour manager Adam Fisher was also on the stage at this time and commented that this was the quietest the stage had ever been since he’d been with the band. Cool. Shure saves the day yet again!
The guys sounded amazing in soundcheck and the show that followed garnered rave reviews by local press and loyal fans. Sleigh Bells melted a few faces and gained some new fans as well. If you haven’t heard Yeasayer yet, check out Odd Blood at the band’s MySpace page. See them live if you get a chance, it’s amazing how much is happening on that stage at any given moment, it’s like nothing else out there!