Britannia Row delivers for Royal Blood 2022 tour
Monday, 25 July 2022
royal-bloodRoyal Blood’s 2022 tour cycle continues (photo: Joeseth Carter)
UK - Rock duo Royal Blood have called on Britannia Row Productions to provide audio support for their 2022 tour cycle, which started in Swansea, UK, in March, carried on through Europe, across the US, and straight into a packed festival season this summer.
The band, consisting of bass player / vocalist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher, needed an appropriate audio setup to transmit their unapologetically bombastic sound – a requirement that was now well-known by their regular supplier, Brit Row.
“We moved to Brit Row at the beginning of 2015 when we needed to move into full production,” says the band’s FOH engineer, Phil Jones. “We needed the support of a firm that could deliver on a global scale, particularly in the States. It’s always reassuring that we can receive gear from Brit Row while we’re out there, as well as sourcing other essentials from Lititz, PA where parent company Clair Global is based.”
One of the cornerstones of Jones’ arsenal is his Yamaha PM5 Rivage console, a desk in relatively short supply outside of Brit Row’s well-stocked warehouse. It was secured by Brit Row director and Royal Blood account handler, Lez Dwight.
“We started using the Yamaha for recording in the autumn of 2020, but it was always the idea that we would eventually take it out on tour,” says Jones. “I've been really happy with it so far. I hardly use any outboard now and it's been really solid, so I’ve got no reservations about continuing to use it worldwide.
“The band’s sound has changed a lot since they added a keyboard player – a close friend of ours called Darren Watts – so the input list has expanded to include some samples, though there's still no track or click to be heard. The main change is that I’ve actively made everything quieter, as it was a little too loud before, in my opinion. I want it to have serious impact, like it always has, but refine everything and try to pick out the finer details a bit more.”
The choice of an L-Acoustics PA system was a key ingredient for Jones and his PA tech – Brit Row freelancer – James Collee.
Jones’ initial vision for the tour was that the PA setup should consist of an L-Acoustics K1 / K2 system, with flown subwoofers for the upper / side seats to mirror the bass impact that could be felt at the front of stage.
“I designed systems for all the venues, trying to fulfil Phil’s remit as closely as possible,” notes Collee. “I’ve had a long and happy working relationship with Phil and Royal Blood over nearly eight years and, during that time, I’ve come to understand what Phil wants from a system and how best to complement his mix and the guys on stage. Phil is great to work with as he has a genuine interest in the PA design and trying new ideas. He also accepts when it’s not possible or may not work, and throws out a decent mix too, which helps considerably!”
The choice of K1 was an easy one for the crew to make, considering the size of the venues that would be hosting them, while the K2 was a happy companion for the down-fills and side hangs required on most dates.
“The option to affect the dispersion with the louvres means some energy can be directed from where it’s not required, mitigating some reverberance issues and improving stereo imaging,” explains Collee. “We’ve always used a fair amount of sub energy in order to get the full impact of Mike’s bass. On this tour, due to the size of venues, we were able to make sure that the audience up in the furthest reaches of the arenas had a similar experience to those on the floor by utilising flown subs.”
In addition to the flown subs, the crew deployed a large arc of KS28 subs in front of stage for floor impact. This front line was complemented by a wrap of A15 speakers on each side of the stage as out-fills, and Kara speakers distributed across the front subs in pairs as front-fill. The system was entirely driven by LA12X amplifiers, while a P1 processor allowed the crew to run redundant AVB with analogue back up to every unit.
“As always, a PA design is only ever as good as the crew that deploy it,” says Collee. “To this end, I was very lucky to have Luca Serge and Megan Clements with me, who did an exceptional job every day and were an absolute pleasure to have out on the tour.”
Monitor engineer Darren Connor is a relatively new addition to the Royal Blood crew, initially joining in July 2021 as cover for long-term monitor engineer, Dave Bennet. Connor was already familiar with Brit Row from his position as FOH engineer for singer-songwriter Laura Marling.
“I’ve always been well looked after by the team at Brit Row,” says Connor. “The way the systems are packaged are always logical and as compact as they can be, and Tim Mole has been exceptional in going above and beyond to get things to us last minute when sudden changes occur.”
For this Royal Blood tour cycle, Connor switched from an Allen & Heath SL5000 to a Yamaha Rivage PM5.
Collee started his career loading trucks and painting speakers in Brit Row’s warehouse before going on to become an established freelancer in his own right.

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