On her recent North American “Hundred More Years” tour, Christian singer/songwriter Francesca Battistelli and supporting act The Afters played venues of all shapes and sizes. Big Thrill Productions of Weatherford, TX and Athens, GA provided a Meyer Sound system based on M’elodie line array loudspeakers and 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements, chosen in part for their ability to adapt to varying room configurations.
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According to the tour’s production manager and FOH mixer Anthony Martinez, the system easily adapted to any challenges that were presented. “I love the versatility,” he says. “We often play wide churches with wrap-around seating, and for those I can take two M’elodies from each side hang and reposition them as outfill. I can also use them for front fills. I don’t have to run a lot of extra cable or rework a rack. I simply tap into the Galileo [loudspeaker management system] and, with a couple of clicks, I can do everything I need to do.”
The tour’s entire system comprised 20 M’elodie and four 1100-LFC loudspeakers. With the self-powered system’s exceptional power-to-size ratio, the crew could easily pack all of the tour production into limited trailer space. The system easily supplied ample power for the high-impact, youth-oriented production in venues ranging from 1,300 to 2,500 in capacity.
“This tour is a dynamic mix,” says Martinez. “We open with a solo vocal and acoustic guitar, move to a largely acoustic duo, and then straight into heavier electric pop-rock with The Afters. Francesca closes with everything from an acoustic set to energetic up-tempo gospel. The Meyer Sound rig handles it all beautifully.”
Martinez admits he was pleasantly surprised that bringing four low-frequency loudspeakers on the tour proved to be more than adequate, and worked well in any stage configuration. “There hasn’t been a show yet where I’ve thought, ‘Boy, I wish I had some more low end.’”
The Big Thrill-supplied audio system for the Battistelli tour also included an Avid VENUE Profile console, a Radial splitter system, and six channels of Sennheiser EW G3 wireless for IEMs. Four Shure ULX-D Digital Wireless Systems were also used along with RFVenue Diversity Fin Antennas. Big Thrill also provided all lighting gear and stage trusses.
Impressed by their M’elodie and 1100-LFC system, Big Thrill’s owners Shaun Bennett and Dustan Barker soon invested in a rig for smaller tours: 16 MINA line array loudspeakers and four 700-HP subwoofers. They also expanded their Galileo loudspeaker management capabilities with a new Galileo Callisto 616 processor.
“We chose Meyer for a few reasons,” explains Bennett, who also serves as Big Thrill’s vice president and COO. “The fact that it’s all self-powered makes a big difference, particularly for many Christian music tours where everything has to go into a trailer towed by the bus. There’s also a family atmosphere at Meyer, which provides incredible support. I know I can make a phone call and get an answer, usually within minutes. You don’t always get that from other companies.”