Tame Impala Headline Coachella
by Cat Strom.
Photos – ER Productions / Dina Douglass – Andrena Photography
For their fourth Coachella, local legends Tame Impala wrapped up Day Two of the festival on the main stage.
Australian band Tame Impala headlined night two of Coachella’s opening weekend in Indio, California. They’ve played three Coachella shows in the past but never thought they’d be on the main stage as the headlining act! Despite the surprising pick for headliner, they certainly held their own, delivering their customary mix of dreamy vibes and mesmerizing anthems.
FOH Engineer Adam Round has mixed the band for several years, enjoying their ride to fame, and was stoked upon hearing they were headlining Coachella.
“We had played a few years before and I thoroughly enjoyed mixing on that PA,” he remarked. “It still blows my mind that we have been able to play and even headline some of these major festivals. I am very lucky.”
In previous years the band shared backstage with other bands, an experience Adam describes as nice and chilled, but this year they had their own ’compound’. Soundcheck was a virtual experience with Adam currently using a 2014 MacBook Pro running Waves Tracks Live with a G-Technology Thunderbolt SSD Raid Drive.
“It’s connected to two MGB which gives me up to 128 channels to the record system,” he added.
“It’s quite happy recording the full track count at 96k (the recording is only for virtual soundcheck purposes), and Macs Fan Control allows the computer’s CPU to run at its full potential without throttling, which is the key to it all running smoothly.”
According to Adam the festival’s production team were awesome, particularly the RAT Sound team who have got the system really dialed in. Rat Sound have been looking after Coachella’s audio for 19 years now.
“They have also been our system provider for a number of years,” said Adam. “I have had the pleasure of having Tom Worley from RAT out on the road with us many times as my systems tech and he still designs many systems for us now.”
The PA for the Main Stage was all L-Acoustics, with two main hangs of eight K1SB, 12 K1, and four K2 each, two side hangs of four K1SB, 12 K1, and two K2 each, 12 Kara and six Arcs for front fill, 36 KS28 subwoofers and LA8/LA12 amplification to suit.
“The audio reinforcement is good everywhere,” commented Adam. “Not including the Main PA there are 168 K2 across 15 sets of delays and VIP fill. It is really impressive coverage. Fortunately we have toured L-Acoustics K series extensively throughout the US and Europe for years and are very familiar with it.”
Adam tours a brand new DiGiCo SD7 Quantum mixing console plus double SD Racks with 32 Bit mic pres. Additionally he runs quite a lot of Waves and for that he has four Waves Servers, Luminex Switches, two MacBook Pros, and a Dell 2418HT touchscreen.
“There are many effects, and also a lot of things we like to keep a bit mysterious,” elaborated Adam. “I have hundreds of snapshots including fader moves, EQ changes, effects, filter sweeps on certain elements in and out of sections, side chain feeds, just to name a few. I also like to mute anything that isn’t being used at that moment in time to get things super clean.”
Rafael Lazzaro does monitors for the band using a Digico SD10, with double SD Racks with 32 Bit mic pres.
The main difficulty with playing Coachella is the wind, with Adam commenting that when it picks up it gets a bit hairy. It’s also the desert so you get a bit dusty. “The first weekend was perfect conditions but the second week we had to land the Main PA due to high-speed winds,” he said.
“You’d think that would be a major issue but in fact the RAT team have had to do this so many times over the years that in the changeover we landed the PA, switched off the bottom six boxes, recalled the preset in the event this had to happen and we were away. It still threw evenly all the way to FOH and the delays start there.”
Adam admits that with an all-new setup for them, including new backline, and an audience of millions thanks to live streaming, he was very nervous!
“It was definitely up there with the biggest crowds I’ve mixed in front of,” he commented. “When we made it out the other side without any major issues I think everyone was extremely happy.
“All departments worked very hard to pull off this show and think it went extremely well. The crowd loved it. There were definitely a few beers drunk that night!”
Tame Impala are in the midst of a full-on year of shows around the world. They are heading to Mexico after the rest of the US dates, and then to Europe.
CX Magazine – June 2019 Entertainment technology news and issues for Australia and New Zealand – in print and free online www.cxnetwork.com.au
© CX Media
Published monthly since 1991, our famous AV industry magazine is free for download or pay for print. Subscribers also receive CX News, our free weekly email with the latest industry news and jobs.