Sam Clayton mixing JP Bimeni

The LEWITT Tour Diary

FOH Sam Clayton & his adventures on tour

This is the tour diary of Sam Clayton, who always sents us feedback from his tour life adventures. 

Sam has been a sound engineer for more than 30 years and has worked with a lot of different artists and bands across many different musical genres. Next to J.P Bimeni and Eric Bibb, which Sam is touring this year, he has worked with musicians like Toots and the Maytals, Steel Pulse, Eric Gales, Brain Damage, Fatoumata Diawara, Orchestra Baobab, Horace Andy, Robert Finley, The Jolly Boys, Burning Spear, The Skatalites.

Over the years, Sam has been working in some of the best studios and live music venues and events around the world.

In this tour diary, Sam is sharing his experiences from ELBJAZZ Festival, Grolsch Blues Festival, Les Nuits de Fourvière festival,...

JP Bimeni at Elb Fest
JP Bimeni at Elb Fest
JP Bimeni at Elb Fest
JP Bimeni at Elb Fest

04.06.19 | ELBJAZZ Festival

As promised here are some pictures from the gig in Hamburg this weekend.  We played the ELBJAZZ festival on Saturday and played just before Tower Of Power who were headliners. I had never worked at this festival before and was surprised at the number of people that attended (30,000) and how well organized everything was. The quality of artists and bands was impressively high too and it seems the fans enjoyed the two-day festival a lot.

The city was absolutely buzzing with a lot of activities and over 100,000 visitors…unfortunately, this was a fly-in, fly-out date for us and I could not bring all the microphones I usually use and had to make the hard choice of what to bring. I brought 2x MTP 940 CM, 1x MTP 550 DM for vocals, 1x MTP 440 DM for guitar and 1x DTP 640 REX for kick drum.

As usual, there were several questions about the microphone setup and the local crew heard how well it performed and sounded, very clear in the monitors (which were a little loud) and without a hint of feedback. With only 45 minutes to setup and line check, it was very helpful that the mics made our setup ‘easy’, by halfway through the first song the mix was dialed in and sounded good.

I presented J.P. Bimeni with his brand new MTP 940 CM from LEWITT at the hotel, and to say he was excited would be an understatement…he was singing into it even when it was not plugged into anything. JP sends a million thanks to the LEWITT team:

JP Bimeni and his new MTP 940 CM

13.06.19 | Grolsch Blues Festival

I traveled by airplane again this past weekend and couldn’t bring all the microphones with me which is very frustrating especially since both bands I'm working with right now (J.P. Bimeni and Eric Bibbs) have very different needs. I’m too scared to put the microphones in checked baggage because even this weekend Air France, British Airways, Austrian Airlines and KLM were telling passengers not to put valuable items in their checked luggage.

Anyway, my absolute minimum mic package for gigs like these will be the DTP 640 REX, LCT 340, MTP 440 DM, MTP 550 DM and the MTP 940 CM…with these mics I can cover the most important mic inputs for both bands. When I’m with J.P., the MTP 550 and 940 will be used for backing vocals and the 440 will be on guitar, and when I’m with Eric, the 440 will be on the lead guitar amp and I will use the 940 on Eric's guitar amp, the others are obvious.

The MTP 940 CM seemed like a good choice for Eric’s amp because it’s a Roland JC 120 and he plays acoustics, perfect for a nice sounding condenser mic with a large capsule, it sounds really sweet and handles transients very well…it's perfect for this job, I set the pickup for cardioid, the high-pass filter at 80hz and its ready to go.

The news over the last two weeks is that more and more musicians are interested in the MTP 440 on guitar amp, snare and horns especially trumpet and sax, so now there is a little war between the horn and guitar players in the band. Last week the horn players from Tower of Power were asking about the mic after our (J.P.’s) soundcheck, and this week every guitar player (mostly Americans), fans, crew and even the guys from the broadcast truck at the Grolsch Blues Festival asked questions about it when I used it on the lead guitar amp for Eric’s band. 

I’m also seeing more local and tour crew who recognize/know about LEWITT, especially Americans which I thought was curious. The one thing most people said was that they were waiting to hear the mics themselves or hearing more discussions about them.  As usual, the DTP 640 REX kick mic is always a it, push up the faders and you’re done, but unlike some other kick drum mics it does not produce a single generic sound, it gives a good representation of the kick drum it’s aimed at.  

Pictures from the front line…

JP Bimeni and the Black Belts Guitarist
DTP 640 REX kick drum mic

08.07.2019 - Les Nuits de Fourvière festival

This weekend J.P. played at the Nuits De Fourvere festival in Lyon with Mavis Staples and Don Bryant…the Soul night. The venue is an old Roman amphitheater in the city of Lyon, France, and the site is actually part of a natural history museum.

J.P. was only added to the bill a few months ago after the director of the festival saw one of his shows, and although he was the unknown on the bill, it seemed as if a lot of people came to see him perform in front of two monsters of R&B and soul…they were not disappointed.  A storm passed through just as he and the band were to go on stage….wind, rain and lightening, but the audience stayed, and danced for the entire set, and at the end the festival director asked him to do an encore.  

I live less than an hour away from Lyon so this was in effect a home gig for me, and I could carry all my microphones so everything was great. I had all the microphones with me and the festival crew were really impressed with how quickly the soundcheck went and good the mix sounded without a lot of processing and fiddling. The sound crew already knew about LEWITT microphones but never had the chance to hear them like that before and were impressed. The kick drum mic [DTP 640 REX] and J.P.'s vocal mic [MTP 940 CM] were the stars, nobody could believe with all his antics on stage there was no handling noise. 

After the way J.P. delivered on Saturday night in front of the two big stars there is no doubt in my mind that he is destined to be a star. Everybody have been talking about his performance since…the fans, the festival staff and director, the other bands and the journalists, everybody loved the show.  I was also asked to do sound for Don Bryant whenever we perform together again…we’re doing a few festivals together in the coming weeks.

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