Running on Nitro
AUSTRALIA: Nitro Circus Live recently returned to Australia for its 10th anniversary Party of the Decade tour. Born of the MTV show, Nitro Cricus, the live show has been touring for six years with George Gorga serving as its audio director, as well as show director. Mr Gorga’s preferred supplier for over 15 years has been JPJ Audio, which supplied the equipment and crew for this tour.
‘The equipment for me is obviously important, but even more important is the service,’ explained Mr Gorga. ‘I've had JPJ on some very difficult and demanding jobs over the years and they've always delivered well above expectations.’
Motorsports and X Games competitor Travis Pastrana leads the Nitro Circus, which showcases dirt bike stunts and base jumping, as well as plenty of pyro. ‘It’s probably the most dangerous operating position I’ve ever worked in as normally we are out on the track,’ remarked Mr Gorga. ‘You really have to have your wits around especially during practice as the whole arena floor is the stage. The likelihood of having a bike or skateboard land on you or getting blown up by a pyro is quite high.’
Mr Gorga has reportedly experienced rogue pyro firing sideways, underneath his FOH console at a past event. During this tour, an Avid Profile console alongside two laptops running Show Cue System software was utilised. ‘It’s like a theatre system; you build all your fades and crossfades,” said Mr Gorga. ‘And because we’re running multiple tracks, not just left and right, there’s timecode, pyro, and vocal cues for the MC.’
The PA system comprised L-Acoustic V-Dosc and dV-Dosc line arrays, flown with a 17m trim in most of the venues. Michael ‘Robbo’ Burdett served as systems engineer, taking responsibility for the PA setup, with the cabinet models used varying slightly depending on the venue. ‘During the last jump, the guys reach over 16m high right in the middle of the arena and because we’re running a central cluster, we’re nearly always going to be in the way,’ noted Mr Gorga. ‘We can only hang in certain positions which are not always the ideal situation for audio.’
With the noise from the motorbikes forming a part of the experience for the audience, as well as an accompanying soundtrack of music selected by Mr Gorga and Nitro Circus CEO Mike Porra, one of the main challenges was ensuring that all can be heard and that nothing is drowned out by everything else. ‘The system has to have a lot of headroom, be loud and punchy but not to the point where it starts to alarm people. It’s a bit of a fine line,’ added Mr Gorga. ‘There are intros, hype pieces – always something running so the music becomes almost subliminal like a movie soundtrack you don’t really notice it, it just reinforces the action. It’s carefully done right down to emotional pieces, suspense features and the low rumble we run through the PA whenever someone has an accident!’
Also deployed were 10 Shure UR radio mic systems, for the MC as well as for the crew, with Mr Gorga said to be running the event similar to that of a theatrical performance. With no monitor console employed, everything was reportedly run from the Avid Profile to Shure PSM1000 in-ear monitors.
‘There’s not a moment I can turn away and relax,’ concluded Mr Gorga. ‘It was a complex show with close to 150 music cues for me. It’s a pretty fast paced show of two one-hour halves. In fact it moves very quickly and can be quite unpredictable, but the quality and knowledge of the JPJ technical staff is second to none, mainly due I feel to their excellent in-house training programme.’