Lab.gruppen and Lake power the largest rock tour in France

With over 10 million record sales, iconic French rock band Indochine have completed their Black City Tour with two mammoth consecutive shows at Stade de France. With a rigorous touring schedule, this complex production relied on the simple combination of Adamson, Lab.gruppen and Lake.

Formed in the 1980s, Indochine are heroes in their home country, the first French band ever to play the Stade de France to a crowd of 80,000 back in 2010. That they have endured for so long and so successfully is testament to the drive and vision of Nicolas Sirkis, singer and leader of the band. That vision has led to one of their most elaborate stage shows to date, one that blends sound, light and video in ways not normally seen at a rock show.

The Black City Tour started in February 2013 and took Indochine across Europe and the rest of the world, culminating in two consecutive shows at the Stade de France in June this year. Watching the show, you can see some people in the crowd standing in amazement, a thrilling combination of creative lighting and state of the art 360’ projection mapping, with retractable screens enveloping a section of the audience, producing an immersive and emotional spectacle that is matched by the quality of the sound.

PA system-tech Julien Poirot has worked on countless shows and tours in France and across the world, providing PA support to bands like Linkin Park, Metallica and events like Sonisphere, and having worked with the band before, was called upon to design the whole system for Black City Tour. With his companion, Wilfried Lasbleiz, they installed the full set-up each night, building in enough power and flexibility to cope with any venue’s limitations.

“This is one of the biggest bands in France, and it was an interesting job because of all the lighting and video screens, and we had to configure the PA around that. I’ve used many different PAs in my career, from Meyer Sound, JBL to L-Acoustics, but nowadays, I only use Adamson PA on shows. Since we have such a good relationship with the management and tour production team for Indochine, it was really easy to propose things.

Of the proposals put forward, sound engineer Philippe Dubich selected Adamson E15 and E12 line arrays and T-21 subs, provided by French rental company Lagoona. The system was powered by dedicated monster racks per side with Lab.gruppen’s PLM 20000Q and PLM 10000Q.

“What I like about the E15 is that it’s a very loud, powerful box, with a nice dynamic and crisp definition. For most of the shows, we had a main PA and delay hangs. We used a line array, but in this case we wanted to hit all of the top seats and make sure the whole audience got the same sound. We could separate the delay hangs out and tune and adjust them seperately from the main hangs. We used the T-21 subs, ground stacked, with ten subs each side. The main system was just in front of the subs, so the phase was very good because everything was in line. And powering that, we used Lab.gruppen PLM amplifiers on all the tops, 20k on the main PA, Adamson E15, and we used 10k for all the front fills, down fills, side fills and delays. On subs, we used only the FP 7000, with a Lake LM26 as crossover, and of course, everything is running on Dante. The Digico SD7 mixing console fed into the Dante network through a Lake LM44, meaning the whole system has full redundancy.”

With his chosen PA in place, it was Lab.gruppen power that ensured Poirot, and the band themselves, got the kind of sound they wanted from it, as he testifies: “I think using Lab.gruppen is just the best way to have dynamics on the lows, good attack on the subs. It’s the only amp I can use that gives me that. Comparing the LA8 for example, the Lab.gruppen just gives that strong, punchy sound that others can’t match. ”

But of course, with the PLM Series, it’s not just a world-beating amplifier you are buying, as each unit comes integrated with industry standard Lake Processing, something that every serious engineer and system tech uses on shows of this scale, and Julien was no different.

“Now with the PLMs, we have all the Lake Processing inside, which is amazing, as Lake is just the most powerful processing tool on the market. Now it’s compact, powerful, and we only need two racks on either side of the side to power the whole show. It makes it so easy to use on tour, as we just roll them off the truck, power them up, and we’re ready to go

“Lake makes it easy to tune the system to suit any venue. On other amps, you might only get 8 or 10 parametric EQ points, and sometimes it’s not enough as the venue might be really hard on the lows. With Lake you don’t get this problem, as there isn’t that kind of limitation. Having the PLMs means that we can do exactly what we want, when we want, and be confident that it’s going to work every time. Also the load monitoring on the PLMs is superb. Here, we had cable truss everywhere for audio, and you could check everything just by pressing the button on the amps and comparing the impedance. You have real time access to all the information, and when you are in show, you can know when a speakON – just a fucking speakON ! – is turned, so it’s a great tool to have at your disposal on any show. ”

Touring company for sound and light : Dushow

PA provided by : Lagoona
System : Adamson E15 and E12
Subs : Adamson T21
Amplification/Processing : Lab PLM20000Q, LAB PLM10000Q
Network : Dante by Audinate


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