Church of Sound - Everything's backwards!!!
Church of Sound takes place in Hackneys St James the Great Church as is unusual as it takes place "in the round" with the PA setup in the central Nave of the church with the band and audience surrounding it. This creates a unique atmosphere for the audience alongside some challenges for the Sound Engineer! With the band facing the sound system and only 5 feet away from the Subs there is no way this is going to be a loud gig. Extra speakers are also positioned in the four corners facing out from the Nave into the Transcepts but the vast majority of people are within the central area.
The music was supplied by mostly Americans, the first being trumpeter Jamie Branch and her band of drums, cello and double bass followed by a Jam by Junius Paul with Makaya McCravon on drums and some guy called Shabaka Hutchings on Sax. My experience of Americans is that they can be picky when it comes to sound (which is great - they give a shit) but meant I was full of trepidation working with this strange arrangement. Oh, and it was freezing cold.
I through everyone a bit of a wobbly by putting the drums in a different place to how they normally have it but it made more sense to me and everyone settled into it fine. I went very bottom up and just used the system to augment the natural sound as I didn't want to excite the room more than necessary. As I suspected, the sound changed considerably once folk were in but the band monitoring seemed fine so I just walked about and adjusted the main mix as I felt fit and all was good. The music was SO good especially Jamie Branch. Amazing vibe in there and very appreciative audience. Also, props to John Evans who designed the sound system for the show with custom made speaker stands that work a treat!