Martin Audio brings MLA to sold-out War on Drugs show at Alexandra Palace

The band's FOH engineer was "convinced" the system would be perfect for the reverberant venue
By Tara Lepore,

Martin Audio’s MLA system was put to the test in London last week, when indie rockers The War on Drugs played to a sold-out crowd at Alexandra Palace.

Supplied by partners Capital Sound, FOH engineer Bob Strakele was “convinced” MLA would be the right tool to tame the heavily glazed venue notorious for its reverberation.

He said: “I have mixed at Ally Pally before, so when I heard that we would be doing a show there, I immediately asked our production manager [David Scheid] to get in touch with Capital Sound about getting an MLA system.”

Capital Sound’s operations and development director Paul Timmins said: “We have worked with Bob on a number of shows over the past 10 years, including Billy Talent, Erasure and James. So he contacted me and said he wanted us to do the PA for a band he’d not worked with before, primarily because of the Ally Pally show; then he looped me in with the production manager.”

FOH engineer Bob Strakele

Initially the PA was meant only for the Alexandra Palace tour date, but was subsequently added to two more dates at the Manchester Apollo as part of the band’s European tour.

For the main hangs, Capital flew nine MLA and an MLD Downfill enclosure, left and right, and two delay hangs of nine MLA Compact per side. “These were set just behind the PA to keep the sound as evenly distributed as we could and focus the sound on the floor area,” Timmins explained.

In addition, since there are limited options to where the PA can be flown at this venue, they added two ground stacks of three MLA Compact per side for infill, with a further six Martin Audio DD12 for front fill.

Subwoofers comprised six stacks of three Martin Audio WS218X, with the bottom enclosure in each stack reversed for a cardioid response.

Strakele added: “What I love about this system is its ability to throw extremely long distances and still remain relatively flat in the frequency spectrum. You don't get that HF roll-off over long distances that most other PAs suffer from.”