Electro-Voice Takes SXSW 2008 By Storm! Venues and Performers Prefer EV!
Electro-Voice recently proved its #1 pro audio brand status in Austin, Texas, the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World“. Found onstage at the most talked about SXSW venues and showcases, the EV brand rubbed elbows (and lips) with the likes of rock god Lemmy (Motorhead), critic darlings Vampire Weekend, Sons & Daughters, as well as uber-cool-kids, The Black Keys. And that’s just for starters…
From March 7 - 16th Austin was inundated with the hippest of the hip, including producer Daniel Lanois, festival keynote speaker Pete Townshend, Billy Bob Thornton, and culinary celebrity Rachel Rae, the latter of whom hosted her own rock showcase. More than 13,000 music enthusiasts attended the official SXSW conference and over 2,000 bands performed throughout the city’s labyrinth of music venues. From cult legend Jandek to Athens, Georgia’s favorite sons, R.E.M., performers poured in from all corners of the globe to see and be seen, to play, and carve a niche in the ever-changing music industry landscape. According to the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, the 2008 conference had a $110 million dollar economic impact on the city of Austin.
The logistics that go into SXSW are mind-numbing. There are parking issues, hotels are booked full months in advance, restaurants operate round-the-clock, police staffing is increased, amongst other contingencies put in effect to successfully manage over 50,000 non-natives who converge on the city. Given that over 200 clubs and stages must operate simultaneously, it’s a great time of year for Austin-based and neighboring Texan sound companies. For one week in March every sound engineer is busy 24 hours a day, having been hired sometimes as far as a year in advance. The same goes for the rental business; try to find a mobile P.A. in Austin during SXSW. Rental company warehouses are empty, often with 100% of their stock out on jobs. Sub-rentals skyrocket.
With so many venues operating simultaneously and a proliferation of talented acts from around the world performing, the quality of a venue’s sound system becomes paramount. If a patron doesn’t like the quality of sound they’ll simply walk next door. And venue owners can’t afford that; if they lose bodies to bad sound, they don’t sell alcohol, which negatively affects their bottom line.
That being the case, Austin venue owners and operators are very particular about the quality of sound. Thus, it’s only fitting that Austin is an Electro-Voice town, and has become steadily more so from year to year.
Although following a bit behind the cultural zeitgeist noticed by countless other industries, in 2004 Electro-Voice recognized the indisputable SXSW cultural phenomenon and took an active role in making sure that Electro-Voice became the premiere pro audio brand in Austin, Texas. Offering limited sponsorships to a handful of clubs, in 2004 Electro-Voice began its campaign to make the EV logo ubiquitous in Austin. Now, in 2008, Electro-Voice marks its fifth year of activity at SXSW - and with it the addition of Monte Wise to the coordination and implementation of all things EV in Austin.
Monte Wise, Director of Special Projects, Electro-Voice, who now lives and works in Austin, was involved in the sale and installation of two very high profile systems in Austin: ME TV’s soundstage (used for ME live tapings) and the legendary club Antone’s. Wise remarks: “I see these installations as just the beginning of developing an even higher profile EV presence in Austin and at SXSW.“
Susan Antone (of Antone’s) points out: “Having EV at Antone’s is like a whole new world! The quality and reliability of our Electro-Voice sound system has had great acclaim from bands and music fans alike, especially during SXSW 08. Everyone from Billy Bob Thornton to Vampire Weekend raved about our sound. Antone’s is so excited and proud to have EV in our venue.“
Wise comments: “Austin is such a great music city and it has been exciting to be involved with the artists and club owners in my first year here in Texas. I know that EV will continue to gain ground and increase its already growing presence in Austin and at SXSW.“
Wise was also involved as a participant in the “Live Sound Quickie Session“ at SXSW 2008, interacting with over fifty attendees. Wise remarks: “I met some great people, from musicians to lawyers, all of whom had passion for music and wanted to learn all they could. I received numerous emails from attendees thanking me for helping demystify live sound. I look forward to participating in future SXSW events.“
Like Monte Wise, EV artist endorser/street team organizer Dave Wolfe was instrumental in making EV’s presence known at this year’s SXSW. Since moving to Austin in late 2003 to pursue his own career as musician and luthier, Dave Wolfe has flown the EV flag throughout town, turning musicians and engineers on to EV products. This year Wolfe placed banners, demo’d mics for engineers and performers (incl. showing them how clean microphone ball screens, yuck), and cruised the city on his custom chopper and documented the real world use of the company’s products “in the trenches“ with the likes of Lemmy (Motorhead), X, Lonesome Spurs, and countless others. Without doubt, Dave is the Truman Capote of Austin, Texas. But Dave does more than take photos and take quotes - and hob knob with celebs. EV endorser Dave plays over 150 shows a year as a highly sought after upright bassist and guitarist in Midwest Monster, The Vibro Champs, Reverse Cowgirl, and half a dozen other pick-up ensembles.
What follows is a glimpse into the world of SXSW rock “n’ roll venues. Without a doubt, the EV brand is pervasive!
Located just off 6th Street on Red River, on any given night you will find some of the best bands and the most colorful staff and patrons in all of Austin at this bar.
Emo’s sports two stages, one inside and one outside, as well as a beer garden. Both stages feature either EV T Series or Zx Series speakers as well as all EV microphones. More than just about any club in Austin, for one week in March Emo’s becomes home to the coolest record label parties during SXSW: Kill Rock Stars, 4AD, Yep Roc 1, and Daptone. Names like Doyle Bramhall, Jim Lauderdale, John Doe, Los Straightjackets, Jello Biafra, Mojo Nixon, Meat Puppets, The Walkmen, The Gossip, Youth Brigade, and the Buzzcocks have all played through the EV system here. In 2007 vocalist/guitarist Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks was so impressed with the EV N/D967 vocal microphone that he signed an artist endorsement, something the band has historically been quite opposed to.
Bill Corsello, manager of Emo’s remarks: “We work on the fly and the EV N/D468 is the perfect tom mic for quick placement and it delivers optimal frequency response. The 868 works great on bass cabs… It captures heaping loads of thumping lows and ice pick stabbing transients. Really, no matter what the application EV’s N/DYM microphone series has a mic that is road worthy and sounds great.“
Headhunters, a Tiki/Polynesian-themed rock club, kept crowds partying like fiends into the wee hours with a total EV/Dynacord sound system. Comprised of (2) EV Zx5 loudspeakers, Eliminator kW sub, Sx100+ powered monitors, a Dynacord PowerMate 1000 mixer, EV N/D967, Cobalt, and EV Raven mics, the relatively small system was more than accurate in terms of coverage and intelligibility. From EV endorsers Lonesome Spurs to the Hillbilly Hellcats and a Eugene Records and Rockabilly Magazine/Pabst Blue Ribbon showcase, Headhunters featured a number of no-holds-barred bands throughout the week. A favorite of celebrities including Quentin Tarrantino, the bar has also become “Home to the Texas Roller Derby“. At any point of the day - from noon to 3 a.m. - lines formed in front of both the front room and patio entrance, as the club was consistently packed to capacity. The bar’s FOH engineer Billy Milano (also lead singer of S.O.D. and M.O.D.) remarks: “The EV and Dynacord stuff sounds really great. And the mics take a real beating. It’s the perfect gear for our stages; there’s nothing better.“
Another infamous music venue in Austin, The Continental Club, rated “Critic’s Choice“ for “Best Bars in America“ by Playboy in 2000, once again relied on EV products during SXSW 2008. From N/D967 vocal mics, EV RE510 vocal mics, as well as N/D468s, N/D478s, N/D868s, and assorted other EV mics on drums, guitar, and bass, the Continental Club rocked hard with EV. Of course, Electro-Voice Cobalt mics were also a huge hit! From Detroit’s Gore Gore Girls to southern troubadour Scott H. Biram to guitar-slinger Ian Moore, there was much to talk about at the Continental during SXSW. Note: The album art for Junior Brown’s new The Austin Experience: Live at the Continental Club was photographed at the Continental. If features Junior singing into an EV N/D967. The N/D967 was also used as the primary mic for the main vocals on the recording!
Kevin Lemoine at the Continental Club (Main sound engineer with Green Day, Black Crowes, Reverend Horton Heat, Sum 41, Warped Tour, etc.) is duly impressed with EV microphones, finding the Co9/Co7 easier to handle, for some vocal applications than the N/D967. Kevin remarks: “I’m from the old school of less is more. The less a microphone is colored, the more you can work with it from a drive position. If you have a female vocal of someone with a deep voice like Red Volkart, it highlights both styles equally. Good mics.“ The Continental Club uses the N/D967 exclusively for vocals when Kevin is not at the helm. When Kevin is at FOH, suffice to say that he’s got his EV Cobalts out!
When talking Austin clubs, who doesn’t think of the great American roadhouse home of the austere star-in-oval logo reminiscent of Lone Star Beer and Jerry Jeff Walker - and trademark defenders Lukenbach? That’s right, we’re talking the legendary watering hole Beerland, one of Austin’s most renowned clubs. Also featuring a complete selection of EV microphones, Beerland kept crowds happy with great EV sound, lots of cold suds, and performers like Deerhoof, Harlan T. Bobo and the Goodnight Loving.
Randall Stockton, owner of Beerland remarks: “EV microphones provide the performance and durability that Beerland requires. The Cobalt mics stand up to the abuse punk bands dish out better than any of their competitors, even the more expensive ones. And they sound great. Thanks EV!“
Billy Hankey, soundman for Beerland: “The mics really withstand the punishment of a punk rock venue. When the Reatrards played at Beerland, the singer proceeded to throw the mic stand with mic still attached against a brick wall on the back of the stage and to tell the truth, EV mics withstand that kind of treatment. He then picked up the same mic, put it in his mouth and sang. These mic really hold up to the test of punk rock insanity. My mics get thrown against the brick wall, wood wall, and concrete floors on a continual basis and they continue to work. Way to go EV! You have created a durable mic that doesn’t sound like you’re running everything through a megaphone. Now, if only you could install an anti-suck switch on my console, my life would be that much easier! “
We give our shout out to all-around-good-guys, music lovers, and civil disobedients Randall Stockton and Billy Hankey! Keep the EV freak flag flying!
RedGorilla Music Fest: Chuggin’ Monkey, Darwin’s Pub and Touche
The Chuggin’ Monkey was created by three guys (two brothers and one friend) united by their love of the “good life“. After extensive research in the Virgin Islands, many different entertainments districts, and countless New Year’s Eve and Mardi Gras celebrations, the three came up with the Chuggin’ Monkey.
As the headquarters for this year’s RedGorilla Music Fest during SXSW, Chuggin’ Monkey relies heavily on its audio quality to retain customers. Comprised of a mezzanine, a two-level courtyard in the back, and booths in the front, the club is designed to make the most of its premium location for walk-in traffic. The club’s sound system is definitely at the top of the pack for all the systems on 6th street. The system comprises a Dynacord COBRA 2 system (3 tops, 2 subs, and an Xa4000 amp), (4) Px1122M Electro-Voice Phoenix monitors, and (2) Electro-Voice CP4000 power amplifiers. Electro-Voice microphones are employed top-to-bottom on the stage and Klark Teknik DN100 DI boxes handle all direct stage inputs. During SXSW 2008 RedGorilla’s Kevin Sinclair ran FOH.
Likewise, next door at Darwin’s Pub, also home to the RedGorilla music fest, a similar system is employed. The Darwin’s Pub system features all Electro-Voice Phoenix full-range and subwoofer speakers: (2) Px1122 monitors, (1) Px2152, (2) Px2122, and (2) Px2182. Electro-Voice CP Series power amplifiers provide more than enough headroom as (4) CP4000 and (1) CP2200 amps are put to task. Electro-Voice microphones and Klark Teknik DI’s handle all instrumentation and vocals. A Midas Venice 320 and Klark Teknik Square One Graphics and Dynamics are employed for all FOH duties.
Over the years, some of the hottest up-and-coming acts in the world have been showcased by RedGorilla Music Fest. As a result, RedGorilla Music Fest has received international media attention and a reputation for being the showcase for new music. Showcasing acts have included: Family Force 5 (Maverick), Dropping Daylight (Octone), Luna Halo (American), Bang Bang Bang (Warner Bros.), The Colour (EMI/Rethink), The Silent Years (No Alternative), Ligion (Maple Jam/ICON), Red Monroe (3 Concentric), The Muckrakers (Label X/Toucan Cove/Universal), FLOREZ, The Parlour Boys, Year Long Disaster, Radiant, Absent Star, The Hero Factor, The Gaskets and many more…
Also on 6th Street, Touche is a bit more glamorous than the clubs that immediately surround it. Known for their flair bartenders and the kind of histrionics made popular by Tom Cruise in Cocktail, audio plays a special part in an experience steeped in glitz, fashion, attitude, and bling.
The Touche system comprises (2) Electro-Voice Force i full-range loudspeakers, (2) Force i subs, (2) Force i 25, (3) Force i monitors, a Midas Venice 320 and Klark Teknik Square One Graphics and Dynamics. Electro-Voice microphones, as usual, are employed throughout.
As sister venue of the world-famous Viper Room in Los Angeles, Austin’s Viper Room is no less impressive. Like the L.A. venue, Austin’s Viper Room is EV top-to-bottom. FOH and monitors are Electro-Voice QRx loudspeakers and the venerable Midas Venice 320 can be found at FOH. Patrons are rarely surprised to find such musical celebrities as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Lenny Kravitz, Pearl Jam, Iggy Pop, Sheryl Crow, as well as an array of other internationally established artists and the cult favorites of America’s underground at the venue.
For video footage of EV products being used by bands like Sons & Daughters, The Donnas, and others at 2008 SXSW venues like Emo’s, please visit the following You Tube links:
RE-1 Receiver Dual
RE-2 PRO Bodypack
RE-2 PRO Handheld
RE-2 PRO Receiver