Corporate Event 2015 – Capula Awards Dinner
This evening we’re playing a Corporate Event Awards ceremony in the largest venue we’ve ever played at ‘Stoke Town Kings Hall’ for an Automation Control company called Capula who have a £6 billion turnover that make control panels for nuclear power stations. The venue is capable of holding 1300 theatre style, 450 diners (27.5 metres long by 21m wide). We’re taking a 4.5Kw PA system with us tonight which is over double what we would normally use for a wedding or smaller sized event.
3.25pm – I loaded the van up with some last minute extras earlier on today and now I’m off to pick up my good friend/sound engineer Brendan who very nicely just happens to live around the corner from me.
3.30pm – He’s on board now and we set off for the corporate event, west towards Stoke (Bare with me we need to go west to get on the M6 before we head up North). There’s a 50mph speed limit all over the M6 still but at least we’re doing a constant 50mph. ‘Todd Terje’ keeps us amused on the radio with his brilliant new release ‘Its Album Time’ while dusk appears in the distance.
4.20pm – 40 minutes ahead of schedule already we pull up out the front of Stoke Town Hall. I’m not exactly sure where we’re supposed to load into and park, so I pop my head into the hall and WOW…..My jaw drops and I’m instantly blown away by the size and beauty of the room and the lighting rig (Supplied by Hilton Studios). The room looks absolutely incredible washed in blues and reds with huge beams of light coming off the massive stage pointing at a mirror ball which intern splits the light shining it back onto the walls and ceiling. For a moment I consider loading in through the front but decide to head off in the van and find the service yard entrance to hopefully gain access to the back of the stage area.
4.45pm – We’re still driving around the crazy one way system of Stoke trying to find the service entrance, but eventually we find a small little entrance road and wait patently at the gate for someone to walk over and let us in.
4.55pm – We start to load in through the back of the venue up a few steps past the back of the stage area directly onto the stage itself. Its much quicker having a fourth set of hands this evening and we’re in in less than 10 minutes with the van parked nice and near for a quick load out later on this evening.
5:06pm – Brendan starts to set up the PA system leaving me to set up my own gear, the mixer, mics etc. James calls….he’s been driving around trying to find the service entrance and now he’s lost. I direct him to the front of the venue then I get in his car and show him the way. He waits around again for someone to come and let him through the barrier while I head back in to continue setting up.
5.20pm – I’m still in awe of the venue and lighting and take a snap of how it all looks from our on-stage point of view. Set up is going smooth as silk, we wonder if there’s going to be enough leads, but we’re OK (Note to self, order EVEN MORE leads).
5.45pm – Stuarts drum kit is ready, the amps are all up, the guitars are all tuned, the mics are all set up and we’re ready to sound check.
5.55pm – Its a good job we’ve got a larger PA this evening and its being run at nearly full volume. Brendan walks around the venue with iPad in hand mixing the sound. There are no feedback issues at all due to us all using in ear monitor systems and theres not much need for any digital reverb from the desk as there’s so much natural reverb in the hall already.
6.05pm – We blast through a few tracks of different volumes and styles just to make sure everythings level sounding, Brendan gives us the nod and we’re done soundchecking.
6.10pm – We’re 20 minutes ahead of schedule and one of my corporate event contacts for the evening (A very pretty and smiley young lady) comes over introducing herself saying how brilliant we sound…..ah bless.
6.15pm – We start to pull all the excess cases etc off the front of the stage to store them at the rear where they wont be seen, then we head on upstairs to the dressing room. Its a very funny old 1970s looking room which is very cold, but there’s plenty of room for us and we even each get our own desk and mirror. (No one ever said this would be glamorous). We all get changed into our ‘Punch The Air’ uniforms and try to decide what to do next as there’s a lot of time to kill before we’re on stage this evening.
6.40pm – We head down to the main hall to grab a drink and have our pictures taken. I speak with the photographer Paul Briscoe whose a really, really nice guy. We laugh about how he’s covered in specks of white paint as he’s spent the day painting his studio for a big photoshoot tomorrow. He asks where our other band members are, I reply confused “Thats it, we’re a three piece”, he tells me that we’ve got one heck of a massive sound for a three piece.
7.20pm – I wonder around the venue taking various photographs and video and even head up into the stalls for better views and photos. My other corporate event contact for the event introduces himself and we chat for a while. He’s really buzzing and can’t wait for the live music to start. We pop out a few promotional flyers while mingling with other guests. The mighty Phil Upton (BBC Radio DJ) is the compere for this evening, and a damn entertaining job he does throughout the event.
7.55pm – We’re seated and being served our fancy three course meal for the night. It would seem that things are already running about 30 minutes late and I doubt that will improve as the evening continues, but hey, this is Rock N Roll. The client brings us some soft drinks vouchers for the bar and she says if we need anymore to just ask.
9.15pm – We’re on pudding (But it should be the Awards ceremony) and we laugh about a few recent gigs we’ve played together and whats due in the next couple of weeks.
9.45pm – I head on stage and set up some video cameras to capture the bands performance.
9.55pm – I chat with Photographer Paul again about the kind of shots I like featuring the band at these types of corporate events. He says he’ll probably be around until about 11pm, so he should at least be able to get a few shots of us in.
10.10pm – The Awards start, there’s lots of big-beat dance tunes played while people are accepting their awards.
10:40pm – It sounds like the Awards Ceremony is coming to an end so we start to warm up our voices and get ready to re-tune guitars etc.
10:50pm – We’re all ready to go, but due to how late the night is now running we have to cut the first set short by a few numbers which is a shame, but that’s how it goes sometimes at corporate events. We start the set with ‘I Fought The Law’ followed by a few more 1960s numbers just to warm everyone up. People are up and dancing from the off set enjoying themselves and singing along to ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ with us. The lighting really is phenomenal, complementing the music wonderfully. Brendan wonders around the room tweaking the sound, boosting the volume for solos while also taking pictures and recording some video himself (He’s earning his money this evening)
11:15pm – The first set is finished and we head off stage and take a quick 5 minute break. I pop on some tunes over the PA…….that was short and sharp. Its a fantastic stage with plenty of space for crazy antics.
11:20pm – The second set starts with the lighter side of punk, followed by some big 1970s singalong hits and massive Britpop numbers. Most of the guests are up on the dancefloor dancing and singing their little hearts out. I spot photographer Paul doing his stuff (Ahhhhh, he stopped later than 11pm – Good man). There’s so much room on stage that we have the chance to really ham it up tonight, so of course we do. James appears through my legs at one point and we throw out some classic rock moves much to the crowds enjoyment. Everyone’s got their hands in the air for ‘Place Your Hands’ by Reef and there’s a massive arms around each other moment for ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis. We end the evening with ‘You Really Got Me” by The Kinks with an excellent extra long gratuitous solo by James while the crowd throw up some air guitar of their own.
12:10pm – A few announcements about the bar closing/taxis/buses etc and we’re done. A little bit of DJ material goes on while we head off to the dressing room to get changed back into civilian clothing before we start to pack everything away. Some guests come up to congratulate us asking for business cards and contact details. Phew, what an amazing night at this splendid corporate event.
12:40pm – Packing down is always a LOT quicker than setting up and we’re ready to load the gear back into the van again.
12:50pm – We wait patiently by the barrier (Again) waiting to get the vehicles out.
1:00pm – We’re now on the road heading back home. Brendan and I discuss how mysteriously smoothly the evenings events went.
1:40pm – I drop Brendan off at his house and wish him well then head back to mine just down the road.
1:50pm – I’m home and earlier than I suspected which is always great. I’m so glad we bought the extra PA system with us tonight and also Brendan was a massive help. I look at my phone and see we’ve had a text at 1am from the client (see testimonials below) . What a lovely end to the evening and what an amazing corporate event.
Mike Fawcett – Capula Finance Director “Thanks a million for tonight it was truly awesome” (By text at 1am)
Jade Hughes – Capula Senior Project Administrator – “We’re getting fantastic comments back from everyone who attended on how good you guys were so a massive thank you”
Venue – Kings Hall, Stoke Town Hall, Kingsway, Stoke ST4 1JH
Photography – Paul Briscoe
Lighting – Hilton Studios
Compere – Phil Upton