'It's ear-splitting up there': Mixing the live sound on Liam Gallagher's world tour

On stage, Gallagher opts for wedges over in-ears, all with vocal, slap delay, and a bit of reverb pumping through them
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In October 2017, former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher released his debut solo album, As You Were. The record went straight in at No.1 in the UK, and went gold in its first week, outselling the rest of the top 10 of the UK Albums Chart combined. Though the record has received much critical acclaim, Gallagher is in his element in the live arena. The guys responsible for helping make that happen are FOH engineer Shan Hira and monitor man Jon Simcox, both of whom are dependent on their Digico mixing consoles.

Over the course of working with Gallagher, Hira has used the compact SD11 to the flagship SD7 and everything in between. On this arena tour, he was using an SD5 supplied by Skan PA running at 96kHz.

“I have been using Digico desks for a few years now, so I know my way around them pretty well,” Hira said. “It’s a very flexible surface and enables me to put all my ins and outs exactly where I want them. I find it a quick surface to get around.”

Hira is running Snapshots for his mutes and faders and uses the console’s internal FX with just a few old favourites by his side.

“There are some very decent effects in there, but I do also like to bring some familiar outboard with me: I am using an Avalon 737sp, and two engines of a Lexicon 480L on Liam’s vocal, plus an SPX 2000 on the snare,” he added.

At the monitor position, Simcox is running an SD10, again at 96kHz.

“The desk was recommended to me by a friend who’s used one for a while (Dan Speed, monitor engineer for Biffy Clyro, also a Skan client), and I'd heard great things about the functionality and the macros, how good the stereo imaging is for IEMs and how transparent the pre-amps are. I was sold after our first day in rehearsals.”

Like Hira, Simcox uses the internal FX from within his Digico. “I’m using around 10 internal FX and with a bit of tweaking, EQing and side chain compression, they sound great. No outboard needed at all for me. It’s not a particularly complicated gig, so I use macros for specific fader/send/mute changes in seven or eight songs.”

On stage, Gallagher opts for wedges over in-ears, all with vocal, slap delay, and a bit of reverb pumping through them. 

“It's ear-splitting up there,” said Simcox. “But the fact we carry our desk, band in-ears, and mics everywhere means their mixes are very consistent from show to show, so that helps. We spent a lot of time rehearsing before the campaign started - around 12 weeks - so they got pretty true representations of the songs. And live, the sound definitely comes across a lot rawer and punkier than the record. That's probably down to Liam's maniacal aura on stage, though!"

“The Digico consoles were a solid choice for Liam Gallagher, as they are on so many of our tours,” says Skan’s Chris Fitch. “Despite owning 19 SD Reries consoles, we rarely see them, such is their popularity. The only downside of using a Digico at FOH on this tour is their seemingly magic ability to attract beer being thrown by the enthusiastic crowds!

“It’s been a real privilege for Skan to work with such an iconic performer and to support his fantastic engineers, Shan and Jon.”

Gallagher is currently out in South America, playing shows in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Peru, and will be returning to the UK for a string of festivals in the summer.

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