Rigged: Periphery Guitarist Jake Bowen and Front-Of-House Engineer Alex Markides
MetalSucks is sponsoring the current U.S. tour of Protest the Hero, Periphery, Jeff Loomis, The Safety Fire and Today I Caught the Plague (dates here). We’ll be featuring a “Rigged” column from one member of each band, taking you through their live gear setups piece by piece. Ex-Nevermore shredder Jeff Loomis took us on a tour of his gear to kick things off, and last week Protest the Hero’s Luke Hoskin did the same. Today’s we’ve got Periphery guitarist Jake Bowen and Front-of-House engineer / tour manager Alex Markides in a double-team Rigged attack:
Greetings! My name is Jake and I play guitar in Periphery. Helping me write this article is Periphery’s Front-of-House engineer and tour manager Alex Markides; without Alex and his experience none of our current setup would be possible. We are currently on tour with Protest the Hero, Jeff Loomis, The Safety Fire, and Today I Caught The Plague — we’re having a great time so far and touring with these bands is a real treat. If you’re reading this you probably know what to expect but I would like to shine some light on the specifics of our live rigs. We have a lot more going on than it initially seems.
Jake: For the guitar racks, each of our three guitar players uses an Axe FX Ultra with a Line 6 G90 wireless system. The Axe FX provides all of the guitar tones we need including all of the effects; we each have a large set of patches programmed for specific parts of each song and those patch changes are automated by our laptop… but I’ll get into that a little later. The bass is being run through an Axe FX II with a Darkglass B7K in the fx loop.
Jake and Mark’s Axe FX rack:
Misha and Jeff’s (our fill-in bass player) Axe FX rack:
Alex: The next aspect of our live rig is a fully self contained in-ear monitor rack housed in a 20-space ATA rack case. It starts off with a Crest XRM20 rack-mountable analog console that was specifically designed for stereo in-ear mixes. It has 12 mono channels and 4 stereo channels along with 12 separate auxiliary sends or 6 stereo mixes. We are currently using the Sennheiser EW300G3 Wireless Stereo In Ear Monitoring system. This system is also networked using an 8-port ethernet switch that is connected to our main computer. We are using Sennheiser’s own proprietary program called Sennheiser WSM. With this program we can search for open frequencies on a daily basis in each city, which is crucial to find the best frequencies for the wireless system so that the transmitters and receivers can operate cleanly.
We are using Pro Tools 9 to run our midi patch changes for the Fractal Axe FX units, and it’s also controlling the playback of our backing tracks. To output the playback of the tracks we are using an RME Fireface UFX. On this tour we have a stereo set of backing tracks and click output. To control the midi patch changes we are using a Motu Midi Express 128. To cable this whole rig, Planet Waves has been gracious enough to provide us with their Modular Snake System. This modular system has made a world of difference when connecting everything on stage.
Wireless in-ear packs:
RME digital interface control:
Crest monitor rack:
Jake: Arguably the most crucial piece of our production is the MacBook Pro, 2.0GHz quad-core Intel i7. This computer coupled with the RME UFX and the Motu Midi interface controls our automated Axe FX patch changes, our light show, the click track for each song, and our samples using Pro Tools 9. The automated Axe FX patch changes are controlled by creating midi lanes in Pro Tools, then marking precisely where you want your patch change on the grid using program change midi messages. This eliminates the need for pedal boards so we can focus on playing. When we have our light rig on tour we also use midi to control all the lighting cues, which eliminates the need to have an independent lighting crew.
MacBook Pro with wireless antenna:
Since we bring a healthy amount of guitars on the road with us it usually means having a lot of guitar cases, but we now use these special three-guitar coffins that are made by Scott Dixon in the UK. These are great because you can bring these cases as checked baggage on most airlines thus reducing the amount of guitar cases we have to bring overseas.
Scott Dixon cases with Ibanez (Jake) and Ernie Ball (Mark) guitars:
Thanks for checking out our stuff! Come hang with us on our tour with Protest the Hero!
– Jake and Alex / Periphery