Skan PA Hire tours with Liam Gallagher
Tuesday, 17 October 2023
skanLiam Gallagher sings into a Shure Beta 57a at Knebworth (photo: Finlay Watt)
UK - Twenty-six years after Oasis’ legendary Knebworth gig, Liam Gallagher drew in audiences as a solo performer in front of 80,000 fans at the same outdoor British venue, a monumental return to form which gave us Gallagher’s third live album, Knebworth 22 (Live).
Gallagher then embarked on an intimate, eight-show UK tour which included London haunt, KOKO, a venue production manager Davey Murphy knows well. “I worked in-house between 2008 and 2014, so I have a lot of experience with the venue. I’ve seen a whole array of artists come through, so I really looked forward to this show,” he begins.
Murphy has worked with Skan since joining the Gallagher camp five years ago, citing the company's dedication and quality service as just two of the reasons their relationship continues to grow.
“The support directors Chris Fitch and Abby Llewellyn offered me when I came in as Liam’s PM was amazing. You don’t get many company directors taking such an active role, but that's just the way they work at Skan.
“When we were prepping for two of Liam’s stadium shows in 2022, the support was unbelievable. With widespread shortages across the industry, Skan really went above and beyond to make the shows happen by devising a whole series of plans to get us enough PA and crew. Just knowing you have the best people such as Matt Vickers, Tom Tunney, Nick Ellins-Stagg, and Alvin Russ working in the office and warehouse takes a lot of the pressure off.”
FOH engineer Sam Parker agrees: “I’ve worked with Skan since 2011, they’ve always been a leader in innovation and have set the standard in terms of crewing, preparation and dependability.”
For these highly anticipated gigs, Parker is mixing on a DiGiCo SD5Q, with an SD Mini Rack for local AES and analogue I/O, and a shared SD-Rack and SD-Mini Rack on stage.
He continues: “If you separate the mix into music and vocals, I owe it to the songs to see that the music content stays faithful and familiar to the fans. Obviously, I try to give the audience a dynamic and powerful live sound experience.”
One facet of the FOH mix that makes the set sound both exciting and authentic to Liam’s roots, is Parker's vintage TC Electronic M6000 which has four engines connected via AES. He also opts for a vintage digital delay line - in this case, a Bel BD80S.
“The TC has been my go-to quality reverb for some time. I like that it has a lot of great algorithms onboard, it's a four-engine unit, and the remote is quick to navigate. My TC isn’t really negotiable; I like the way 80s-90s digital delays deal with feedback.”
The onstage fold-back volume can, at times, be detrimental to a clean front of house sound, so Parker creates a vocal sound that is able to withstand or combine well with the spill from stage. “I like effects that add dimensionality without sounding obvious,” he explains. “Liam does favour a lot of delay, and so I use tempo-based delays in 60-70% of the songs.”
Liam sings into a Shure Beta 57a and has d&b audiotechnik M2 wedges on stage, as does new band member, guitarist Barrie ‘Little Barrie’ Codogan.
“Everyone else is on in-ears, Shure PSM 1000 IEMs,” monitor engineer, Bertie Hunter, explains. “Given the immense stage volume, the d&b M2 wedges are the only wedge I know of that can produce the amount of energy and SPL without exploding.”
d&b V-Series line array speakers are used for side-fills, powered by D80 amps to provide sound to the rest of the stage, while a Porter & Davies BC2rm amplifier and thumper are utilised for both drum kits.
The live line-up fluctuates between seven and 12 musicians on stage - including Liam’s son Gene - plus four separate tech mixes, a guest mix and a reference mix for visitors.
“It’s a busy show; sometimes there are three guitarists and two drummers on stage. Thankfully, we upgraded to the DiGiCo Quantum7 desk a few years ago, and it’s made so much difference to the quality of the mixes,” Hunter continues. "Having nodal processing available on channels per mix changes everything and keeps the in-ear mixes sounding both clean and personal to each musician.”
He describes this gig as “high pressure” but wouldn’t have it any other way. “There’s never a dull moment! It really is one big family here. The band is hugely talented, and it’s such a joy to mix songs that span three decades.
“I only have the capacity to focus on what’s happening on stage. Our super techs, Finlay Watt on Monitors and Tim Miller at FOH, take care of everything else, and I have 100% trust in their service.”
“The Skan crews are always amazing!” production manager Davey Murphy concludes: “I’ve dropped so many last-minute requests onto Skan over the years, and at times, I knew it would be a tough ask. Yet somehow, my requests have always been well received and promptly dealt with. Now that Skan is part of the Clair Global family, their capacity will go further than ever before.”

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