Something thats been bugging me about PRR live is why the sound at their gigs can be so varied in quality? I have only seen them twice, but after reading dozens of reviews it seems I am not alone in my thoughts.
I first saw them only last month when they supported Blackfield @ the Mean Fiddler in london, and the vocal mix in particular was very poor. I could not hear a single word they were singing as they were totally buried in the mix of other instruments. I then read reviews all over the net after their subsequent spots supporting Blackfield, backing the same opinion up.
I saw them again @ The Cooler in Bristol a couple of weeks ago and the sound seemed fine. After the gig I (drunkenly) commented to Jamie that the sound was really bad @ the London gig and he seemed pretty surprised.
I realise this post may seem a bit negative, but its something on my mind so I thought i'd share it.
The sound definitely got better over the three times we saw them (Mean Fiddler, The Loft in Cambridge, Camden Barfly).
All of those were better than the sound the first time we saw them, which was at The Marquee in Hertford last year - I seem to remember the sound guy gave up and went home before the band had finished playing!
Post by blondeambassador on Mar 25, 2007 19:50:57 GMT
It's a very good point and one which, without understanding all the sound malarkey, I can only really say 'yes, I agree' to! It's been an ongoing problem with PRR, for as long as I've been following them at least (just over a year or so...)
As for the last tour though, they had the same soundman with them for both the Blackfield dates and their headline ones and I thought it improved the more dates he did with them, but I don't think they've used him before the Mean Fiddler date so maybe it was him getting used to doing it for PRR, I'd imagine they aren't easy to mix...hopefully if they stick with him, it'll become less of a problem.
This is a bit of a hot topic in the pub before and after PRR gigs I've been to with my mates; the general consensus (amongst us) is that they've got a nigh on impossible job of recreating the gorgeous sound on The Dark Third live.
The best I've seen them was at the freebie Islington Academy gig in April last year; they really nailed it there. The Blackfield support was.. OK, but not great, but the Barfly gig was an improvement. However, Jamie was pretty inaudiable for a lot of the gig from where I was stood (dead centre, about 15 feet back), Jon fine, but Chloe up and down all over the place.
It'd be really nice to see them do a gig where some or all of them weren't frantically gesturing to the sound desk.
I thought the sound at the Mean Fiddler gig was pretty decent, but I was standing right behind the sound board so maybe that had something to do with it. As it's my only experience of the band live so far I don't have anything to compare it with.
Post by blondeambassador on Mar 26, 2007 16:28:12 GMT
If I'm honest, I'm not sure how much at the Barfly was that Jamie's mic wasn't loud enough and how much was that he was ill and not actually making an awful lot of noise! At least, that's how it seemed from the front row, I could be totally wrong of course.
I think one of the problems they have is that their FOH guy is also doing their monitors at the same time, hence the band gesturing to him a lot of the time. I guess being on an almost non-existant budget they can't afford their own monitor guy but when that day comes we should see better FOH sound and the band being able to hear themselves better.
I thought the sound at the Barfly gig was pretty good though, although the Paris gig on the Blackfield tour was excellent.
I'm no sound guy myself, but I sometimes get the feeling that the sound could be improved by hauling in the bass a little and turning the vocals up... at all their shows! The vocals are what propels the band into awesomeness, in my opinion, and I like to hear them!
PRR have had problems with sound since time immemorial. Re Jamie's surprise, I have heard them when they sounded absolutely awful and Jamie has posted that it was 'a great gig, well, we enjoyed it anyway'. Problem is that what they hear in their in-ear monitors is not what the punters hear is not what the sound desk hears. Sophie was really getting their sound together before they parted company, and it is a pity that they did, as she had the knack (IMO) of predicting what it sounded like at various spots in the room. I think sometimes they are a bit naiive about soundchecks, preferring to adjust 'on the fly' during a performance, hence the gesturing. Trouble with that is it becomes a competition and ends up a cacophony. The best I ever heard them was at V last year, so maybe big venues go down the best.
I've only seen the band twice, and that was at the Summers End festival last year and Leeds recently. I thought the sound at Summer's End was exceptional, as was the performance, but Leeds slightly flat in places in comparison. At the time, I put this down to the drop down from a five-piece to four...
I saw them supporting Porcupine Tree in The Netherlands several weeks ago, and the sound was crap. PRR was the reason why i went to the gig. First there was guitar problems, then it seemed that one speaker wasn't working. I don't know. Very unfortunate, but i'm glad i saw them live.
Progpadrone, you really couldn't be more wrong, the band take their soundchecks very seriously. however, sometimes they might not get a sufficient time to soundcheck, thus meaning they will have to do things 'on the fly'. millions of factors go into the bands live sound. maybe the band on before's sound person made changes on the desk? maybe there are other factors, i don't know, but don't just blame the sound guy. James does a good job, and sophie was amazing.