Three days of locally inspired cultural events in Manchester
Neuron Pro Audio were tasked with providing full production for Un-convention Manchester, providing sound, light and stage for three days of cultural events at various venues around the city of Manchester; some conventional, some slightly ‘unconventional’ events that featured live music, spoken word, panel debates, film showings and art installations.
"Neuron Pro Audio provided an excellent service over all 3 Un-Convention events. All events were multi-artform and complex – with over 14 panels, 80 speakers and 100 performances. The events were delivered perfectly and I'd highly recommend Neuron to any events or festival companies. We will most definitely use them for our future events."
Ruth Daniel – Managing Director, Un-convention
#UNCON38 – Football Friday
Friday saw us transform the foyer space of The National Football Museum (formerly The Urbis gallery) for a day of panel talks and debates as well as acoustic acts and spoken word culminating in a rare acoustic performance from local heroes The Whip.
Neuron provided stage, sound and lighting for the event which was held in a challenging acoustic space generally used as an exhibition space. The stage was situated against a large window underneath a mezzanine overhang which opens out to a cavernous ceiling half way down the room- a great chance to utilise one of our Arcline systems, with two subs and two tops per side via a Yamaha LS9 console at front of house, with a four way monitor mix on stage.
Audio Technica ES935 gooseneck condenser microphones were chosen for the panel debates due to their high sound quality and gain before feedback, and were positioned on tabletop stands, one per panel member. Two Sennheiser 945 G3 wireless hand held microphones were used in conjunction–one for the chair and one roaming to allow for audience participation and Q&A.
A combination of LED Par Cans and Fresnels were used to light the event, applying a DMX controlled colour wash to the stage for the music performances. The Fresnels were used to light the debate panels due to large portions of the day being filmed, countering a lens flicker effect common with LED use.
The day was highly successful, featuring talks from former and current Premiership football players as well as many Supporter’s Club officials and members of the Football Association, discussing a range of issues including football within the community and prejudice in football.
"We worked with Neuron at our event at the National Football Museum in Manchester and found them to be exceptional. From the pre-production meetings to the final load out the whole crew was thoroughly professional and a joy to work with. The space we used had its own challenges and yet Jonny and his team took everything in their stride - we will definitely we working with them again in the future".
Jeff Woodward – Director, Un-convention
#UNCON39 – Hulme Saturday
The next day we moved an upscaled production over to the Hulme region of Manchester for a very different day of events. Hulme’s musical heritage was the focus of the Saturday, with six close sited venues transformed into performance spaces for the day–among them the Hulme Garden Centre, The Junction pub, Kim By The Sea restaurant and the Z Arts community cafe. Neuron provided sound, light, stage and staff across all six venues which featured some of Manchester’s best loved performers.
The largest production was in the NIA Centre, a 600 capacity former theatre now used as a religious space. It was a privilege to be asked to work in such an iconic space as the grand NIA has held some of the area’s most prestigious music events in years gone by but has been scarcely used for that purpose in almost a decade. It was apparent that it meant a great deal to local people to see live music return to the venue once again.
A ground stacked Void Arcline system was provided for the day featuring three Arcline X and three Arcline 6 per side, maintaining clear sight lines for the onstage performers whilst providing plenty of power to fill the large, open space.
A new Behringer X32 was in use at front of house, on demo for the day after good reports from our friends and colleagues in the industry. Both front of house and monitors were mixed from the desk throughout day and all were pleasantly surprised with its sound quality and processing performance.
Performances from local music stars of past, present and future made for a day of diverse music, with the venue getting busier throughout the day. By the time headliner and local rapper Skittles took to the stage with band the NIA was at capacity and the atmosphere electric. Musically The Mouse Outffit, Fingathing, Suns of Arqua and Ape Cult all receive a well deserved mention.
Neuron Pro Audio were integral to the planning and running of Un Convention. Without such a professional flexible positive approach that they brought to the table, we wouldn't have been able to run the experiential event that it was. Neuron staff were happy to join in meetings, have creative ideas and add to the festival. Whilst working with Neuron it feels like an extension to your own team, they are happy to muck in, answer queries, be quick thinking to problems that arise and technically provide the support and equipment needed to do anything from a high end professional theatre space to an organic setting in a poly tunnel /outdoor arena. I have no hesitation in recommending them as one of the most reactionary up to date production teams I have worked with.
Sophie Bee – Director, Un-Convention
#UNCON40 - Rusholme
The final day #UNCON40 was held in the Rusholme, a district known as ‘the curry mile’.
Un-convention took over two venues for the day, both the intimate Cafe Renoir and the ever popular Antwerp Mansion with its charmingly kitsch and ramshackle approach to an event space.
Music, debate, film and food all featured throughout a day celebrating Manchester’s Middle Eastern cultural heritage with the morning encompassing film showings and panel debates across two floors at Antwerp Mansion. Neuron staff were tasked with providing a full DJ package as well as a short throw projector and screen set up for the film showings whilst using same conference set up that had been implemented on previous days featuring the AT gooseneck mics and active vocal PA in the other room for the debates.
In the evening the crowd moved over the road to Café Renoir, a small cafe / shisha bar with a capacity of only seventy five. We provided a small stage, active vocal PA and minimal lighting for the cafe which saw Bhangra and Middle Eastern inspired solo musical performances from the likes of Aziz Ibraham, Ajah UK, Metz and Trix and Martina Topley – Bird with DJs Bobby Friction (Radio 1) and Jesse Hackett (Gorillaz) taking over for a session running late into the night.
Neuron would like to thank Sophie Bee, Molly Avigdor, Jeff Woodward, John Wood and Ruth Daniel for their help and guidance in making our role in Un-Convention a memorable and enjoyable one.