- Kenny Sellars
Audio Crew Chief/System Engineer, VER
Twenty One Pilots puts on the kind of live show you have to see to believe. Singer Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun emerge from backstage in ski masks. They crowdsurf on a platform while playing drums. Joseph crawls through the crowd inside a giant red hamster ball. Dun does a backflip off of Joseph's piano. Joseph climbs the stage to nerve-wracking heights, singing all the while.
The difficult to define duo – with music falling somewhere between the genres of alternative rock, electropop, hip hop, and indie – has captured worldwide attention since its wildly successful 2015 release Blurryface. Inevitably, this has led to playing bigger shows than the band has ever seen before.
Right now, Twenty One Pilots is in the midst of a massive 11-month tour dubbed the "Emotional Roadshow World Tour." The band performs at venues ranging from amphitheaters the size of Berkeley, California's 8,500-capacity Greek Theatre to Pennsylvania's 30,000-capacity Hersheypark Stadium.
This poses some challenges for the audio crew. But with a 72-box Meyer Sound LYON linear line array rig, VER Tour Sound has been able to provide flexible live sound for the tour's varying scale of venues.
Audio crew chief/system engineer Kenny Sellars of VER spoke a little about the setup at the Greek Theatre shows in Berkeley. "We have 12 LYON per side on the main hangs, and 12 LYON per side on the side hangs," he explained. However, the system expands effortlessly to a full 72-box rig for the tour's larger venues, where their main hangs are 20-deep LYON and side hangs are 16-deep LYON.
Throughout the tour, Sellars has been constantly impressed with the Meyer Sound system. "The scalability has been super solid for me. That's what I planned on, but the fact that it's worked flawlessly and easily has been the key," he said.
Shane Bardiau, Twenty One Pilots' FOH engineer, has also been very satisfied with LYON's versatility. Initially, the tour was considering using the larger dual 15-inch Meyer LEO line arrays. But Sellars' suggestion to Bardiau to use LYON to better accommodate the varying size of venues on the tour appealed to him. "I was skeptical at first because it is a smaller box," recalled Bardiau. "But wow, I was blown away. And to be honest, this 12-inch (LYON) driver is perfect for our music."
Independent engineer Adam Stroop runs monitors on the Emotional Roadshow World Tour. For the monitor setup, the band occasionally relies on side fills from LEOPARD cabinets on each side of the stage. He likes having loudspeakers that are "very controllable, very smooth. That's really hard to beat."
For Twenty One Pilots' biggest shows, the crew will use up to six LEOPARD boxes per side for greater horizontal coverage. "They're very easy to set up and sound excellent," said Stroop.
As Twenty One Pilots continues to traverse the globe, LYON and LEOPARD will ensure its energetic music and powerful message roar at every venue, great and small.