Where To Hire The Things You Cant Afford To Buy
Where to hire the things too expensive to buy.
Atlantis Music Hire of (Contact Details), specialise in PA hire for tours or gigs. All their equipment is Midas, apart from the mikes which are Shure and AKG. Their basic rig is a 1400 watt system, and this is available for hire at £65 + VAT per night, including a two-man road crew and transport. They have provided PA systems for Snafu, Carl Douglas, Gonzales, East Of Eden and Be Bop Deluxe among others, as well as having organised PA's for various festivals in Germany.
Cabin are situated in Barnborough Gardens, Shepherds Bush, and have been in existence since the crazy days of 1968. They have a full range of backline equipment including a complete range of Acoustic amplification, and most makes of guitars, and keyboards. On the PA side, they have available anything from a 100 watt WEM system to their own 12,500 watt horn and bin system, which is a combination of Kelsey and Martin bins, Crown amps, JBL horns, and a 23 channel Hill mixing desk. Director Ian Howes explained "We have one road crew at the moment, but will soon have two crews on the road, each doing a 5,000 watt system, which is probably big enough for most British gigs. We're going to make other parts of our PA available as well, so it can be used as an add-on system, using an extra Crown amp, horn and bin."
They also have a rehearsal room for hire at a cost of £1.50 per hour, and equipment for rehearsal costs 10% of outside hire.
Clearsounds PA, who operate from the Old Kent Road, are experienced in both Europe and the States, having worked on four American tours last year. On the PA side, they offer up to 2,600 watts worth of Martin/Kelsey equipment, with a 16-channel Kelsey desk and Echoplex echo units. They can also handle transport and offer both road crews and tour managers. On the lighting side, they can provide up to 24,000 watts of Altman lighting. They have worked with many bands including Mike Heron's Reputation, Clancy, and Manfred Mann's Earth Band.
There're not many companies that can boast Rick Wakeman as one of their directors. In fact, there's only one. It's called Complex 7, and is in fact a group of companies who provide a complete service for the musician. Complex 7 Leasing Limited is a part of this vast organisation which is based in High Wycombe, Bucks. Paul Randall, manager of the hire section, explained "We have a lot of keyboards including Fender Rhodes, Mellotrons, Hammonds Clavinets and even a portable pipe-organ. Our amplification is mostly Fender and H/H, and we have a few guitars but I think most people have their own. On the drum side, we've got some small kits and will soon be doing things like tubular bells, vibes and timpani. As a company, we've only been in existence three months so we're building up as we go along.
"We do PA systems up to about 800 watts at the moment, but we eventually hope to do larger systems, as well as complete stage lighting. Most of our customers so far have been local people, and we actually do a special rate for local bands. We try to keep our prices to a minimum. In fact, we have a large storage area, which costs only one penny per cubic foot per week, and this includes insurance. We usually store equipment for Procol Harum, Ace and a few other bands."
"Our aim is to be able to provide a complete service — all the backline gear, PA, lights, transport and hotels — in other words, a whole tour service."
Electrosound of (Contact Details), can take care of most of your worries as they offer both PA and lighting equipment for hire. They can also provide a road crew and, if necessary, transport as well. Basically, all their gear is custom-built in their 15,000 sq.ft, factory. There is a choice of speakers which include Gauss, JBL and Altec, together with Altec and JBL horns. They have recently started assembly of their own mixing consoles — a 24 channel quadrophonic unit with twelve switchable EQ's, built to studio standards — which will also be available for hire. Their PA systems, which are all four or five-way, start from a four-bin rig rated at 1000 watts, and this can be added to and built up to 40,000 watts.
They are also well-versed in lighting, and in fact provided sound, lights and production for the recent Alice Cooper tour, as well as working with bands like the Baker-Gurvitz Army, Robin Trower, Uriah Heep, Traffic, Jack Bruce and George Harrison. In addition to the hire business, Electrosound also handle concert and festival promotions, through the auspices of chairman Ricki Farr, promoter of the Isle of Wight festivals and many more, and offer a repair service, storage facilities, and flight cases built to order.
Entec are one of the largest lighting companies in England. They have a very large stock of equipment, and therefore are able to undertake six or seven tours at the same time. "Our average rig is about forty lamps," Pat Chapman told I.M., "although we can hire the equipment separately. The biggest rig we've done so far was a 200 kilowatt system at the Reading Festival. We have all the Rank Strand and CCT range, Colortran PAR 64's, Genie towers, front, back and side trusses and a whole lot more. We also manufacture lighting control units — from a 6-channel to a 48-channel job — and our own dimmer racks housed in flight cases."
"We started off about five years ago as more or less a light-show, with slide projectors and things, and we still try and keep a very visual thing. If a band comes to us and asks us to make them look-superb, then we'll go all out to do it." Entec also do PA hire, their equipment consisting mainly of Midas Martin gear. As well as the lighting, they provided the PA for Reading which was a massive 20,000 watt system, and they are currently providing PA and lights for the Black Sabbath tour. They are also providing lights for the Temptations, Four Tops, Camel, Babe Ruth, Mud and the Carpenters, "We usually supply a road crew and transport with hire equipment, although we do hire gear out without crews to people we know" added Pat. "We have also got tour managers available, so one telephone call from a band to us will take care of all their headaches."
For those bands who just want to hire back-line instruments or amplification, E-Zee Hire Limited of (Contact Details), can supply all you need. Unlike most other hire companies they don't specialise in PA equipment, although it is possible to hire a small rehearsal PA. They are in fact keyboard specialists, and have resident tuners and repairers who are ready to deal with their stocks of Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzers and Clavinets. Big names in amplification include Fender, Ampeg, Acoustic, Marshall, Sunn, Sound City and Peavey, while the drum line-up includes Rogers and Ludwig. Although guitars are very much personalised instruments, E-Zee hold stocks of Gibson, Fender, Martin and Ovation axes. Again, road crews and transport are available if required, and there is also a rehearsal room for hire at a cost of £25 per day.
Funkshun Hire of Wellingborough Road, Northampton have PA equipment, back-line amplification and lighting for hire. They start from a basic 100 watt PA and progress to a 1200 watt bin and horn system. The larger bin rigs are designed by them and custom-built with a choice of mixer consoles. They also supply back-line amps and cabinets if required. They have lighting systems available including Tutor 2 projectors and various sound-to-light units, as well as hiring out complete disco and lighting set-ups which have been used by Radio 1 and Luxembourg DJ's.
HHB PA Hire are an Uxbridge-based organisation, who have been operating for eight months. HHB's Ian Jones explained "Basically, we concentrate on supplying three standard rigs — a 1000 watt, 1500 watt and a 2000 watt system, all with adequate monitoring systems. The desk we mainly use is a 12-channel PA:CE unit with a five-way stereo graphic equaliser. All the systems have an Amco three-way stereo electronic crossover. The mikes are all Shure and AKG, including SM58's and D12's. We always supply a two-man road crew and transport, and our charges are around £60 per gig. We can also provide specialised personnel such as Class 1 HGV drivers and excellent sound engineers if required."
In their relatively short existence, HHB have worked with bands like Country Gazette, Motorhead, East Of Eden, Gong and the Half Human Band.
International Entertainers Services are situated in Sharpleston Street, NW1, and offer PA systems of any size for hire. Most of their speaker and horn units are JBL, while the mixers are their own Mavis range, which includes mini-mixers and monitor mixers.
Their charges depend on the size of the system hired and the length of tour, and they can also supply transport and road crews if required, IES also have a comprehensive range of test equipment and are willing to undertake virtually any repairs within the entertainment field.
Julian Keyboard Hire Specialists are, as the name implies, specialists in the hiring of various electronic keyboard instruments. The main difference is that they deal exclusively with recording studios. Manager Gordon Graham told I.M. "We hold a large stock of Fender Rhodes pianos, Hammond and Yamaha organs, string ensembles, synthesizers, and we even have clavinets and harpsichords." Back-line amplification can also be supplied, if required, as they hold a stock of most of the Fender range. In the effects pedals line, they have wah-wahs fuzz boxes, treble boosters, Schaller Rotorsound and Binson Echo units.
"We try to keep up with what's happening," explained Gordon, "and so we've got to keep up to date with the musician's requirements. Everything is delivered to the studios in perfect condition. We pack all the gear with foam rubber so nothing is left loose and floating. Our charges depend on the value of the instrument or amp hired, and this is done on either a daily rate or a weekly rate."
Kelsey Acoustic Hire Limited of Alba Place, London W11, offer facilities for equipment hire. They specialise in custom PA systems, incorporating speakers, horns, monitors, mikes and three types of mixers. The mixers themselves are custom-built, as are the cabinets which are fitted with Gauss, JBL or Altec units. The amps are either Quad or Phase Linear, and they always send a technician along with whatever setup is hired. Dave Jacobson, who is in charge of the hire side, explained "We have a special monitor system, whereby you can have four or five mixes, and we also offer what is basically an effects rack, incorporating echo, phasing or any number of effects. Our main mixer is a 20 channel desk, and we are at the moment in the process of building sub-mixers which can be linked up to the main mixer if more channels are required. As far as I'm concerned, there are two types of bands — together or untogether bands. We would like to aim for the more together bands who know what they want." The Pink Floyd's massive 50,000 watt system was built by Kelsey, so if a particularly large PA is required, they just have to call on the 'Floyd.
Kwikhire of London W11 mainly concentrate on PA equipment hire and trucking. They have a 2000 watt system, consisting of RSD bins driven by Phase Linear amplifiers, Electrovoice horns and JBL tweeter units driven by H/H amplifiers and a 16 channel stereo desk with built-in echo and three-way crossover. Their second system is an 800 watt rig, incorporating Martin bass bins, Phase Linear amplifiers and Electrovoice horns, and used in conjunction with two WEM Audiomasters. Director Ray Clegg: "We also have a combination of different trucks including three Ford 3-tonners and a Mercedes, together with a couple of road crews. There's also a six-seater Peugeot for band members to travel in." In the past, Kwikhire's customers have included Savoy Brown and Mungo Jerry.
Liveware Audio and Lighting Limited are a young and enthusiastic company based in Wardour Street. Among other facilities, they offer equipment hire, lighting hire and rehearsal premises. Liveware's Dennis Richards explained "We're professionals, and so we're very selective about who work for us. As we usually send out a road crew with PA hire, they've got to be good. As well as being able to hire PA equipment, bands can also lease a PA for any amount of time. This is ideal for a young band who need a PA for six months, but can't afford to buy one."
As well as being able to hire a PA from Liveware, bands can also lease equipment for any amount of time. Their equipment at the moment is basically RSE gear, although they have a research and development programme for the introduction of new equipment. It's possible to hire anything from 200 watts of PA up to any size of system.
"We've just supplied Dr. Feelgood with a 6,000 watt PA." Dennis told us. "Our gear is basically powered by Quad amps driving Electrovoice, JBL and Gauss speakers. Our mixers are RSE and we've recently taken delivery of a new Triad desk. There's also a full monitoring system, incorporating bins and wedge monitors of a new design, which is twice the standard power range. The systems are full-range, so they're basically hi-fi, which is the standard we're aiming at. We can also supply the usual special effects like echo, phasing and ADT.
"Our aim basically is to be the best. All our staff are highly trained. All our engineers are studio-trained. We've got a good sound, which is developing all the while as new improvements are introduced."
Marshall Equipment Hire have built a reputation in their five years of existence. Based in Mile End Road, London E3, they are known as "the American equipment specialists" and carry a large stock of equipment by Clare, Showco, Crown, Mavis, Alice, Neve and Marshall among others. Together with Ken Flag and Martin Birch, MEH's Joe Brown designed a new desk going under the name of Gelf. "It's a very expensive desk," Joe told IM, "but everybody who has seen it raves about it." This is borne out by the fact that it was the desk used by Sinatra at the Albert Hall early this year, and every review, almost without exception, praised the quality of the sound. "We don't stick to one particular type of equipment," added Joe, "so if anyone comes along with a good idea, we'll try it. Bands can have the choice of a Clare system, a Showco system, or a mixture of both. All we've done is to look at things very logically. We take no notice of all the bullshit about "Oh, so-and-so's got 40 tons of equipment." If we're doing the sound for a gig, we put in exactly what we say we'll put in." Marshall Equipment Hire are geared towards major acts on the road, rather than small, one-off gigs. "We can only deal with bands that have sound engineers with a brain" stresses Joe. "When people let us take control, one can get amazing results. Obviously, we have to work closely with the bands' own sound engineers, but it's got to be done our way. To run a successful company like this, you've got to firstly, see to the goods, secondly, have intelligent people working for you, and thirdly, work your balls off!"
Music Force of Oxford Road, Manchester can hire PA rigs from 400 watts to 2000 watts, and up to 50 kilowatts of lighting power. Music Force's Martin Hammet explained "The big system is by Turner. We have a four-bin Altec rig, and a lot of GB Audio equipment, which we manufacture ourselves. We're incredibly busy at the moment. We're working with 10cc and Fairport Convention and in the past, have worked for the Chieftains, Barclay James Harves, Alberto Y Los Trios Paranois and a lot more."
Maurice Placquet Hire Limited is probably the oldest hire company in England, having been established for over ten years. They operate from Jeddo Road, deep in the heart of Shepherds Bush, and they can provide anything from a gigantic PA system to a pair of finger-cymbals. PA supervisor Sam Simpson told I.M. "Our motto here is 'We can supply anything at any time' and this means literally anything musical. We can take care of everything involved with a tour or show, from the PA system right down to the trucks. We've got a lot of regular customers like Wings and Gary Glitter who we've worked a lot with in the past, and now we reckon we're a force to be reckoned with." In the new year, they will have a large rehearsal studio available which will be completely soundproofed and will be able to accomodate top-name bands and even large orchestras. Although PA systems are available for hire, they do not specialise just in PA's, and in fact hold stocks of virtually every type of equipment. Among their amplification range, names like Marshall, Hiwatt, Ampeg, Fender, Acoustic and Sunn figure prominently. "The only thing" Sam stressed, "is that we don't generally do private hire. We prefer to do business through a band's management or record company. If a band wants to hire something, they will have to lay down a deposit, so from both points of view, it's much better all round if they go through a reputable management or record company."
Maurice Placquet Hire Limited have their own transport section, but it is mainly used for local deliveries. In the case of a big tour, where a band will be carrying a lot of equipment, they work in conjunction with Edwin Shirley Trucking and arrange it between them. If lighting is required, they sub-contract to other lighting companies.
Scope Equipment Hire of Stanhope Street, NW1 can arrange PA equipment, lighting, trucking and road crews. With a selection of Midas, Martin and RSE PA gear, they can hire out systems of up to 10,000 watts. On the lighting side, they can provide Genie towers, CSI follow-spots, strobes and an assortment of projectors and screens. On the recent Barclay James Harvest tour, an impressive dry ice "fog" machine was used, courtesy of Scope Equipment Hire. As well as Barclay James Harvest, Scope have also worked with Wishbone Ash, Caravan, Renaissance, Climax Blues Band, Curved Air, Argent and The Average White Band.
Standish Light and Sound Hire Limited is conveniently situated close to the M6 motorway and with easy access to the North West. They specialise in PA, lighting and discotheque equipment and, during the past twelve months, have been providing up to 2,000 watts of JBL horn and Gauss-bin PA equipment with a 20 channel Hill mixing desk, lighting rigs and road crews for a wide range of functions from talent contests to international orchestral concerts. Their range of equipment includes Traynor amplification and PA, and SAI disco and lighting.
T.Y.A.S. Hire of Oldham have PA, disco and lighting equipment for hire. They have a choice of six PA rigs available — 125w, 250w, 500w, 1000w, 2000w or 4000w — together with six, eight, 16 or 24 channel mixers, and cabinets with a choice of speakers including Electrovoice, Gauss and Vitavox. They can also supply up to 40 kilowatts of stage lighting. Dave Tyas: "We build all the equipment ourselves, and everything we make is available for hire. If a road crew and transport is required, we can also provide them." T.Y.A.S. also do a "package deal" which includes a PA, stage lighting disco and light-show, and they offer a discount rate for colleges. They have worked with bands like the Groundhogs, Budgie, K.C. and the Sunshine Band and Junior Walker.
Zenith Lighting have been in existence for eighteen months, and have worked with bands such as Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, Nazareth, Sparks and Robin Trower. They have a massive range of equipment available including specially-designed 40' trusses capable of taking 64 lanterns each, 24' pneumatic Genie hoists which carry up to 16 lanterns and are built into convenient road-boxes, Rank Strand follow-spots and a range of Rank Strand control consoles. They have two full-time experienced lighting designers and, as well as being able to provide smoke bombs, dry ice machines and other special effects, are also well-versed in backdrops and curtaining.
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