ZZ still on Top at Bluetone 201513 August 2015
There’s never any surprise as to who is going to supply the PA for Bluetone – The Festival on the Danube (Das Festival an der Donau). Formerly ‘Jazz on the Danube’, the festival site is a stone’s throw from the EV/Dynacord factory (part of Bosch Security Systems) in the Bavarian town of Straubing.
While the Swiss have resisted any calls to remove the somewhat misleading ‘jazz’ descriptive from their annual music festival in Montreux, the Germans have proved to be more progressive by dropping the word, as Bluetone has hosted Seal, Carlos Santana, Chaka Khan and Mousse T among other ‘pop’ acts since 2002.
The 2015 edition was arguably the biggest edition so far, in fact, for both the audience and the Electro-Voice team. Ahead of five days of Helles-swigging in the sunshine, EV deployed its brand new X-Line Advance high-performance compact line array, launched at PL+S earlier this year. Flying either side of the stage were 12 pieces of X-Line Advance EV X2-212/90, with 26 X12-128 subs out front. Power and DSP came from six System Racks (comprising TG7 amps, RCM-28 processors and a distribution panel), with three N8000 NetMax digital controllers binding it altogether.
Further X2-212/90s provided delay for fans in the rear. Fills and monitors also came from the Electro-Voice and Dynacord catalogue, while freelance sound engineer Rüdiger Nürnberg, like last year, put the system together.
The show’s opening night saw Lionel Richie topping the bill; star-in-the-ascendant Gregory Porter and Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club kept the international presence high the next day. But it was down to the legendary ZZ Top to headline the final day, with a scorching 90 minutes of fuzzed-up blues-rock from the fuzzy-faced Texans. Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard (yes, the one without facial furniture) may have a combined age of over 195 years – the band formed in 1969 – but they can still put on a blistering, full-throttle live show. The X-Line Advance gave Give Me All Your Lovin’ all the bandwidth the audience needed; Legs was outstanding; Sharp Dressed Man was immaculate.
The show was ballsy and badass and proved that the ‘Top’ are still up there.
This article originally appeared in the 2015 edition of PSNLive, PSNEurope‘s 10th annual report for the European live sound industry.