It was incredibly transparent and it was effortless in what it was doing.”
James "Pugsley" McDermottFOH engineer
Current four-time CMA nominee Dierks Bentley is known for hosting sold-out crowd and amphitheaters throughout the country on his 2016 SOMEWHERE ON A BEACH TOUR. The “notorious road warrior” (Rolling Stone) has been crowd-pleasing everywhere from Dublin to Kentucky, in support of his critically acclaimed album BLACK (Capitol Records Nashville). His current tour, named after the Platinum multi-week No. One summer anthem has been an outstanding success, not only due to the entertaining stage presence and musicality of Bentley, but also due to the talent backstage.
James “Pugsley” McDermott, FOH engineer for Bentley and system engineer for VER, spoke about the sound on tour at Bentley’s recent show at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. McDermott has been doing sound professionally for almost 27 years, and has been with Bentley for 11 years. On this tour, he chose to outfit Bentley’s show with a Meyer Sound LEO and LYON system.
During one of Bentley’s annual “Miles & Music For Kids” celebrity motorcycle ride and concerts, McDermott was exposed to Meyer for the first time. He was skeptical at first, “but immediately at the down beat I sat there and saw through everything I had been doing,” he said. “I heard things I’d never heard before on my rig, on my console that I had been using for two and a half years.”
He thought at first that perhaps it was just a fluke, but upon further use, he was continuously blown away. “It was incredibly transparent and it was effortless in what it was doing,” he said. McDermott was also impressed by the horizontal sub coverage. The system has given him the versatility to cover arenas ranging from 5,000 seats to over 17,000.
At the Shoreline Amphitheatre show, McDermott was particularly satisfied with the rig’s reach. “I could very easily leave the long delays off because it has that reach that I can throw it 500 feet plus without really losing a whole lot of gain,” he explained.
Building “a rapport with his fans as a live performer that artists possessing 10 times as much headlining experience can’t boast,” (Charlotte Observer) the LEO and LYON system is essential to translating that energy into the crowd. “People shouldn’t just hear the show or see the lights. They should be experiencing the show for what it is,” explained McDermott. The LEO and LYON sound system allows him to capture and amplify that energy flawlessly.
The system includes a main hang of 12 LEO-Ms with four LYON-Ms underhung and six flown subs in cardioid. There are two stacks of two on the ground per side, 1100‑LFCs in cardioid, and then a dozen LYON-M’s for side hangs. Eight UPA’s and eight UPJ’s round out the package.
“I’m able to accomplish dynamically much more effectively than I have with previous rigs,” he continued. With its consistency and range, the rig is a perfect marriage with Bentley’s show – a reliable counterpart to the singer’s vivacious country spirit.
Known for “traveling his own path…Country music’s most relatable star” (Esquire) shows his depth and diversity as an artist with four CMA nominations in the Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of The Year, Vocal Event of the Year and Video of the Year categories. “The bluegrass picker, the love song singer and the stadium rocker all packaged together” (Associated Press) has been a Grand Ole Opry member for over a decade and is starting the second leg of his headlining 2016 SOMEWHERE ON A BEACH TOUR on October 13. Recently announced, Bentley will embark on his 2017 WHAT THE HELL WORLD TOUR launching Jan. 19 in Dayton, OH, with Cole Swindell and Jon Pardi. For more information and a full list of tour dates, visit www.dierks.com.