Entec Live brings flexibility to Soul II Soul tour
Tuesday, 31 May 2022
entec-souliisoul-rahSoul to Soul at the Royal Albert Hall (photo: Gavin Mills)
UK - When the collective of musicians known as Soul II Soul set out on their long 2022 tour of clubs, theatres and pavilions in January, leading up to the summer outdoor season, their technical director Ben Emissah chose Entec Live for all audio and visual technical requirements.
The support and show reinforcement element formed something of a collective of its own, since Manchester-based Emissah had known Entec head of sound Dan Scantlebury from time working with his previous hire company in the city, while the tour’s experienced lighting designer Dave Ross’s relationship with Entec CEO and head of lighting Noreen O’Riordan spans over two decades, the two parties having worked together on Scissor Sisters along the way.
With such a variety of band configurations, permutations and venue shapes and sizes, both the sound and lighting rigs needed to be scalable. Sound was largely restricted to a control package, based around Ben Emissah’s favoured DiGiCo SD12 digital mixing desks at both FOH and monitors, and various d&b stage-fills and wedge monitors for consistency on stage, specifically when Jazzie’s singing downstage (the remainder are on in-ears). “The drum subs are like a kidney punch!” says the technical director. For shows where they are not performing through the house PA, Entec has provided either d&b J-Series or V-Series.
As for lighting, it was largely left to Ross to respect the band’s heritage by replicating the look of a ‘90s club. “We tried to avoid too much technology on staging,” he added, although that said, the 40 individually mappable Astera NYX 10W LED bulbs form an imaginative backdrop. “They have a kind of retro feel to them - a nod to the warehouse parties at that time,” notes the LD, of an imaginative structure that was purchased by the band at the outset.
To protect these sensitive effects, Entec’s Patch Cleaver designed and built a custom flightcase, incorporating the band logo. This houses all the components necessary for the NYX bulbs and can be used by the band for their upcoming festival dates.
Such creativity is where Entec really shows its mettle, believes Dave Ross. “They were great at ordering the bulbs and stands for us and building the wiring looms, which needed inbuilt flexibility due to varying stage sizes. The holders also needed to fit into the mic clips, and the fact that Entec were handling both sound and lighting meant that they could figure out the requirement really quickly.”
The result satisfied Jazzie’s desire for a strong central image. “The classic backdrop has a lo-fi look about it, and Rockdrops did a great job in turning round the artwork in a tight timeframe.”
As for the other lighting effects GLP’s popular X4 Bar 20s proved “great for lighting the band and backdrop, but functional as a strong back light look when needed”. The Elation Dartz 360 were new to the LD but stood up well “both from small club use to the Royal Albert Hall”.
“When I started it was mostly playback shows as the live band hadn’t been put together.” Now it can feature as many as 15 members, with BVs, violins, keys, rhythm section and guitar, under the direction of founder Jazzie B. Warm-up DJ on the tour has been Andy Clift.”
Tasked with coordinating a tour which Ben Emissah describes as “a classic Soul II Soul Friday and Saturday show” is Andy Lewis. And with venues ranging in size and culture from Rock City Nottingham to the Royal Albert Hall, the rental company has needed to remain nimble and accommodating to change, with Entec’s Alex Chapman providing active support on several of the shows.

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