Described as “an oasis of Latin colour in east London”, entrepreneur Ferdie Ahmed has lit up Shoreditch with the opening of Barrio East on the site of the former Avalon club.
The third in the Barrio series (following Barrio North in Islington and Barrio Central in Soho), Ahmed’s team has invested heavily, bringing in Dtwo Design to ignite the interior with a series of stand-alone themes from across Latin America, and Middlesex Sound & Light (MSL) to complement this by installing a premium Martin Audio system in the 300 capacity venue.
This was at the request of the owner himself — a seasoned DJ — who also has Martin Audio sound reinforcement in his other venues.
MSL’s project manager Darrel Olivier, confirmed, “From my initial meeting with Ferdie we decided Martin Audio was the right solution for the venue. We will always promote the brand and specified a combination of Blackline+ and AQ cabinets to keep in line with what are already a popular choice in Shoreditch and Hoxton; F12+ in La Boca also fitted the bill in terms of the venue’s live programme.”
MSL’s experienced installation manager Toby Jones then set about providing independent sound and video systems to each of the four themed zones: Barrio Downtown, Barrio Uptown, Mercado Café and La Boca Boom Boom Room (the main club area) — each with its own identity.
It is in the club atmosphere of La Boca that four F12+ enclosures are flown — paired left and right of the stage area and rear left and right — with an S218+ (2 x 18) sub floor mounted in line with the front of the stage to provide LF extension.
Explaining the decision, Olivier said, “We wanted to make sure the system had sufficient headroom. With Shoreditch being very music oriented it was important that even with a packed dance floor the system would not be laboring.”
This proved the correct decision. “Our experience and Toby’s expertise means we always manage to get the best out of the systems we install and Ferdie is more than happy with the end result. We are currently looking at the opportunity of upgrading one of his other venues to Martin Audio. Having worked with Martin Audio systems for years we know they offer an excellent solution in terms of quality, reliability and value.”
MSL have programmed different presets in to the DSP for live and DJ mode, with dedicated inputs to the different zones and local touch panel source and volume controls.
Meeting MSL’s mandate for even dispersion throughout the different Latin quarters, Martin Audio’s AQ architectural series has been specified in the remainder of the venue.
Downtown & Plaza Del Barrio bar area, which incorporates the unique Timber Yard lounge, sees six AQ8’s wall and ceiling mounted while Barrio Uptown, described as “a Cuban hotel lobby meets colonial courtyard meets Mexican speakeasy” features four wall-mounted AQ8’s and an AQ212 providing LF extension — and is also equipped with jack-points for a separate DJ set-up where needed.
The SPL drops at the front-of-house Mercado Cafe where four AQ6’s are complemented by a more compact AQ210 sub, recessed under the seating and playing customer-profiled BGM.
MSL also supplied a fully equipped live console case containing outboard equipment, stage monitors and LED stage lighting for midweek live promotions and visually have provided an HD solution in each of the rooms, while VGA and composite video inputs make it suitable for corporate bookings.
And so this latest manifestation of the Barrio theme, combining a colourful club, cantina and cocktail bar vibe, takes its clientele on a beguiling and quirky journey from Cuba to Mexico.
With its seven nights a week operation, dominated by DJs and live acts until 2am, Ferdie Ahmed and his team can relax in the knowledge that this Martin Audio solution will be able to cope comfortably with the heavy duty cycle.