Foo Fighters rely on Brit Row remote mixing for #SOSFest gig

On October 18, Foo Fighters performed a live streamed gig from Hollywood’s legendary Troubadour venue as part of #SOSFest with a virtual remote mixing solution from Britannia Row.

The #SOSFest was a three-day virtually music festival created in support of the Save Our Stages initiative and America’s National Independent Venues Association (NIVA) Emergency Relief Fund. The festival was streamed on NIVA’s YouTube channel and also featured sets from the likes of Miley Cyrus, The Roots, Major Lazer and Leon Bridges.

Foo Fighters – who are long-time Brit Row clients – and their production team had just five days to produce the show. Monitor engineer Ian Beverage – the band’s longest serving crew member – was unable to travel from his home in Canada to LA for the show, meaning the audio team had to find a new way of working and quickly.

Brit Row sales director Lez Dwight suggested implementing a virtual remote mixing (VRM) solution. Clair Global chief audio systems engineer, Dave Skaff, headed up the technical delivery from the US. 

“Ian told us that a recent postal delivery took four weeks to arrive to him due to boarder restrictions in North America, so we decided not to send any physical equipment,” said Dwight. “Luckily, he had a couple of laptops at home and was able to source a suitable audio interface.” 

A monitor rig was set up at the venue, including a Yamaha PM10 console. VRM add-ons comprised two computers running a combination of Team Viewer, PM10 Offline Editor, Unity Connect and Webex for comms. At Bevarage’s home studio, he used two Apple MacBook Air laptops that were remotely configured by the Clair Global team, allowing to see and hear everything required to mix the band as if he was at side of stage. 

“As this concept was a first for both us and Foos, we sent junior techs Anthony King and Jimmy Nicholson to the venue to help patch the stage,” Dwight explained. “All of the feedback during setup, testing and from the gig itself has been amazing. Ian, our techs and, most importantly, Dave Grohl and the band were happy.”

Having worked onsite for #SOSFest, King was also pleasantly surprised: “Seeing Ian create this mix was like watching one of those pianos playing itself in a hotel lobby – bizarre, but I loved it.” 

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According to Dwight, the VRM solution could be utilised at more gigs, not only during the pandemic, but as a more environmentally-friendly and budget-conscious approach in the future: “I can see this service becoming common place right now and it could catch on even more when we do get back to doing what we all love.”

Foos’ frontman Grohl was also quick to sing the praises of his monitor engineer, stating: “Ian Beverage is the best monitor engineer in the world, and he’s now available online!”  

Earlier this month, Brit Row director Bryan Grant penned an open letter to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson demanding financial support for the live events industry. The sector has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a new report suggesting the up to 170,000 jobs across the industry will have been lost by the end of 2020.