All Access: Florence and the Machine

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, Photos and Text By Steve Jennings

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Florence sings through a Sennheiser GT5200 with a Neumann 105 capsule.

Florence sings through a Sennheiser GT5200 with a Neumann 105 capsule.

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Florence & The Machine Gallery

Florence Welch is having a good run, basking in the critically acclaimed success of her debut, Lungs. As for “The Machine,” it can be Welch and a drum kit or a piano, but right now it’s a seven-piece band including long-term collaborators Rob Ackroyd (guitar), Chris Hayden (drums), Isabella Summers (keyboards) and Tom Monger (harp). “I’ve worked with most of them for a long time and they know my style, know the way I write, they know what I want,” says Welch. And she’s bringing them out onstage for her current run of dates. Mix caught the first show of the tour at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, Calif.

Front-of-house engineer Ian Laughton

Front-of-house engineer Ian Laughton

Front-of-house engineer Ian Laughton is manning a Yamaha PM5D, using the onboard reverbs (hall for Florence’s voice and two for drums) and delay. In his outboard rack are a Furman PL-8, a Portico II and an Avalon Vt737sp. “I’ve always been a fan of valve/tube, and I’ve carried my Avalon around the world,” Laughton says. “We have a great crew who make the touring side of it really easy.”

Keyboardist Isabella Summers plays a Roland Juno-Stage Synth and a Yamaha CP300.

Sound On Stage provided the P.A. system (pictured) for the Berkeley show. General manager Wes Norwood explains the hang: L-Acoustics V-DOSC (nine per side), with three dV-DOSCs underhung on each array. Outfill arrays are three ARCs each, frontfills are four JBL MS-28s and subs are L-Acoustics SB218 (six per side).

Guitarist Robert Ackroyd has two Fender Hot Rod DeVille 212 amps. “They have a great drive sound without getting the levels too loud,” says guitar/bass tech Djamir “Penguin” Filho. “Added to the amps are two THD Hot Plates. I can control the levels and have the tubes always ‘full-on’ while keeping the volume correct for the show. We mike each amp with a Shure SM57.” Ackroyd’s footpedals comprise a H.O.G. (harmonic octave-generator guitar synth); Boss Loop Station RC-2, TU-3 chromatic tuner, FZ-5 fuzz, TR-2 tremolo and DD-7 digital delay; DigiTech X Series digital reverb; and Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer.

According to drum tech Michael Noon, Christopher Lloyd Hayden’s drum kit is miked with Shure Beta 91A (kick), Beta 52 (kick), SM57 (snare top) and SM81 (overheads); Neumann KSM32 (snare bottom) and KM184 (hi-hat); Sennheiser 904 (rack, floor toms); and AKG 414s (overheads). Meanwhile, Welch’s floor tom is miked with Sennheiser 904.

Pictured (L-R) at monitor world, from left: guitar/bass tech Djamir “Penguin” Filho, monitor engineer Phil McDaniel, systems tech Eddie “Flash” Valencia and drum tech Michael Noonan.

Pictured (L-R) at monitor world, from left: guitar/bass tech Djamir “Penguin” Filho, monitor engineer Phil McDaniel, systems tech Eddie “Flash” Valencia and drum tech Michael Noonan.

Monitor engineer Phil McDaniel mixes on a Yamaha M7CL-48 using Apogee Big Ben external word clock; onboard, he employs mostly Rev-X programs. Outboard-wise, he’s carrying an Avalon 737SP inline with Florence’s vocal; inline with her IEM mix is an Avalon 747SP mastering EQ/comp. “Consistency is the most important thing for me when it comes to monitor mixing, as we move between tiny club gigs, large theaters, arenas, and even stadiums, where we’ve had some dates with U2,” says McDaniel. “The crew is also ‘all diamonds,’ with a good sense of humor and professionalism.”

Harpist Tom Monger has an Akai MPC 2500 drum/phase sampler, along with a Roland FC-300 MIDI foot controller.

Bassist Mark Saunders has two Mark Bass Classic 300 bass heads; one is a spare. The Mark Bass CL108 Closed Neo cab is miked with Sennheiser MD421s. His foot pedals comprise a Moog Moogerfooger lowpass filter; Boss line selector, TU-3 chromatic tuner and PS-5 Super-Shifter; Markbass Super Booster and Super Synth; MXR Blow Torch; and Electro-Harmonix Big Muff. His snare drum and floor tom are each miked with a Sennheiser 904, and his tambourine and block take AKG 414s.






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