Joel and Luke Smallbone know how to spin a cocoon of sound that envelopes the listener, lace words of truth and use their voices to lift and inspire. For FOR KING + COUNTRY – the quadruple GRAMMY®-winning progressive pop artist-songwriters – what music can do, as a positive and emotional force in people’s lives, is what drives the Sydney, Australia-born, Nashville-based duo.
The duo is currently on tour with A Drummer Boy’s Christmas through the end of December followed by a select-city tour through 2024, all supported by North Carolina-based Special Events Services (SES) with a d&b audiotechnik GSL loudspeaker system.
“My Audio Team, Ralph Rivera, FOH Engineer and Tony Incitti, Monitor Engineer and I were talking about changing audio vendors for this upcoming tour,” states Ross Touchette, Production Manager. “I have a very long and great relationship with Special Event Services (SES), and they have always provided incredible support and quality gear. Deciding to go with a d&b GSL system was easy. It is an amazing sounding PA with 80- and 120-degree boxes that help us accurately cover the various size and shape arenas we’re playing this Christmas.”
Touchette said their design is very wide with a thrust that comes off both downstage corners at 60’ wide, so there is not much space for subs. The GSL box has an incredible low-end response that helps us when we can’t deploy as many subs as planned due to a lack of space on either side of the thrust. Our average attendance for this tour is currently 8,200 a night. We just played a 9,000-cap arena with 4 SL-SUBs per side without missing any low end thanks to the GSL’s extended LF capabilities and the SL SUB’s power. We are playing our versions of different Christmas classics and some of our originals, with 86 input channels and a lot of that is percussion instruments with a lot of open mics on stage. The rejection off the backside of the GSL is incredibly helpful to keep everything clean and clear, and the GSL has incredible clarity for everything to find its place in the mix”.
“Having this system be all ArrayProcessed helps us in many different ways,” states Grant Robinson, Systems Engineer for SES. “The first and biggest of which is being able to provide consistent coverage from the front seat to the farthest back seat every day and knowing that every person is getting very close to the same show. We are also able to monitor the atmospheric conditions within the arenas with ArraySight as people fill the seats and raise the humidity and temperature, and make adjustments as needed. This really helps for big changes, especially in some of the northern states where when we first get into the arena it could be 65° with 30% humidity when we tune the PA in the empty arena. With non-ArrayProcessing rigs, you hear the difference by show time when it eventually gets to 70° with 55% humidity. I believe ArrayProcessing really helps us get across what the artist would like the audience to experience and enables us to mitigate the variables faced with non-ArrayProcessing systems.
Michael Brammer, CFO for SES said he was excited to take on For King + Country this year. “We have been a long-time fan of the band and the entire Smallbone family, and I have a long-standing relationship with the band’s PM, Ross Touchette. When I was called and asked to do the tour, especially since it is one of the most anticipated Christmas tours every year, it was a no-brainer! The entire crew has been an absolute pleasure to work with, and the tour’s engineers Ralph and Tony do a great job of making SES look great night after night.”
The system consists of 32 x GSL8/12 mains (16 per side) with 8 x KSL8 and 4 x KSL12s per side for outfills, 12 x SL-SUBs in left and right end fire arrays, 6 x V12 as a center hang (no front fills); all tops are ArrayProcessed, being powered by 41 x D80 amps. “I am very pleased with the seamless combination of d&b GSL, KSL, SL-SUBs, and Grant Robinson, our Systems Engineer.”