Fangtastic Weekend for Ally Pally

Alexandra Palace is back to its best as popular US rockers Vampire Weekend perform two sell-out shows, writes Paul Watson
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Undeterred by the snow, fans came in droves to see New York rock band Vampire Weekend help put Alexandra Palace firmly back on the touring map with two sell-out shows on 2nd and 3rd December. It’s fair to say that the re-launch of the iconic north London venue has been a major success. The remarkable Peoples’ Palace is now quite a place to watch live music: boasting a huge 10,400 standing capacity, significantly improved acoustics (thanks to some expert sound modelling treatment from Vanguardia); and an amazing glass roof, it feels like an outdoor gig indoors – and perhaps even more remarkably, there are no queues at any of the bars or the toilets. You don’t get that at a festival. SSE supplied the L-Acoustics PA system, which was configured L/R and consisted of a hang of 16 V-DOSC per side; and 12 SB28s ground stacked per side, all powered by LA8 amplifiers. At FOH position, engineer Neil Heal worked from a Soundcraft Vi6 console; and Chris Moon operated an Avid Venue desk at monitor position. A number of d&b M2 wedges were deployed for stage monitoring. Just before the band took to the stage on the Friday night, Ally Pally’s managing director Rebecca Kane explained that although it’s been a learning curve for all involved, she couldn’t have wished for a better start. “Last night’s gig was fantastic – and the sound was just amazing. I have their album in my car; and it sounded just like the CD live,” insists Kane. “Thanks to Vanguardia, we are now able to help engineers get the best out of our room; and as long as we carry on doing what we’re doing, we’ll win.” Vampire Weekend’s ninety-minute set went down a storm with the punters and featured hits from both their albums: their 2008 energetic debut release Vampire Weekend; and the slightly more mature and mellow Contra, which was released this year. Kane and her team hope to build upon their early successes next year; Portishead and The Specials are already booked in for 2011.



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