by Cat Strom.
Photo Credits: Troy Constable
Jimmy Barnes embarked on his biggest headlining tour of this century – Shutting Down Your Town – playing all his classic hits plus highlights from his new album My Criminal Record.
Tony Bryan has been mixing Jimmy’s FOH for a couple of years and when CX caught up with him at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion, he was suffering from a nasty chest infection. The doctor had told him to take a week off work and not to fly – like that can happen in our industry!!
“I must admit my ears have been blocking a bit so I just kept looking at the spectrum analyzer to make sure I wasn’t killing people and that worked fine!” said Tony.
“I can’t whinge though, as I’m just stoked to have a gig.”
The tour lasts a couple of months due to the fact the shows are only on Thursday to Sunday, a trend for Australian bands that makes the crew weekend warriors. This scheduling keeps Tony happy as when he’s not on the road, he works as an Account Manager at Perth’s Audio Technik ….. plus he gets to see his family!
Tony toured a JPJ control package for the entire run as well as an audio truck full of d&b audiotechnik J-Series speakers. In fact the only shows where they used the in-house system were the Hordern Pavilion and Wollongong’s WIN Entertainment Centre where L-Acoustics K2 systems were deployed.
“It was a bit of a transition for me to go from the black boxes to the brown boxes but I think I pulled a solid mix!” commented Tony.
The d&b set up varied slightly from gig to gig but a typical configuration comprised of ten J8 and two J12 for main hangs, out hangs were normally eight J8s plus eight Q10s across the front lip.
Sixteen J-SUBs were used on the Queensland shows and for some of the other shows they changed to 16 B22s with 12 flown J-SUBs.
“Each room is different so we just have a truck full of gear and then per day, we bring in what we actually need depending on what ArrayCalc tells us to bring in,” added Tony.
“Anything d&b is my preferred PA and it’s great for Jimmy as it’s a very solid rock box. It allows me to produce my rock sound for Jimmy at ease with lots of power and headroom.
“I can get a loud, but very controlled sound, with d&b which is essential with Jimmy. We still run lots of amplifiers onstage so it can get quite loud.”
Tony was mixing on an Avid S6L which is pretty much the only console he will mix on, saying the easy work flow of the channel strips is a big factor for him. “It has a great layout for my work flow in a live situation,” he elaborated.
“There aren’t too many button pushes to get where I need to go to operate. Also, it runs at 96K so the top end has a much better and sweeter sound to it. The console has a nice analogue warmth to it even though it’s digital.”
Tony describes a Jimmy Barnes show as very intense with a lot of instruments and six backup singers, so getting it to all fit into a space has been quite difficult. Fortunately, there was a full week of rehearsals in early September where he was able to finalise his mix and get all of the instruments into the areas where they need to be heard.
“It can be tricky making Jimmy’s voice clear above everything else,” said Tony. “I use a multiband compressor on him as well as a single compressor plus I’m also using a Distressor – all of which help me to poke him out of the mix.
“I have a couple of Distressors as outboard gear and everything else is onboard.”
The microphone selection is quite varied from Neumanns for the overheads to Shure and Sennheiser for the toms. Jimmy uses a Shure Beta 58 with Tony saying it works best for his vocals. As it’s a Shure UR radio mic with a Beta 58 capsule, he has the freedom to run around the stage.
Tony said that they had tried KSM8s and KSM9s but the Beta 58 still worked the best. Everyone uses Shure PSM1000 IEMs with monitor engineer Phillip Kez Kesby dealing with 41 outputs from his DiGiCo D5 console plus there are wedges, side fills and drum subs.
Crew photos by James Kilpatrick.