Photo: (L-R) I.M.P.’s Travis Walat, Sam Morehead and Chris “Sherman” Robb at The Anthem’s monitor mix position with one of the venue’s two new DiGiCo SD12 desks

The Anthem opened with a bang on October 12 when the Foo Fighters hit the stage of the first mid-sized venue built from the ground up for music in the Nation’s Capital. The 57,000-square-foot, $60-million venue is hosting arena-level bands and artists that want a smaller, more intimate space in which to connect with fans, but that can still hold plenty of them. That means that The Anthem needed high-end, rider-friendly sound, and that’s exactly what it got when it bought two DiGiCo SD12 digital mixing consoles through Eighth Day Sound for its FOH and monitor positions.

The Anthem is the major new venue grabbing national attention, one that can attract both top-tier touring bands and up-and-coming artists with a combination of world-class technology and big-market capacity. The venue, on D.C.’s southwest waterfront, can be configured to seat or stand a variety of crowd sizes from 2,500 to 6,000, so it can adapt to the needs of touring artists who are trying to maximize both their schedules and connectivity with their fan bases. At the same time, if they need to, those same top-level artists could literally send their trucks on to the arena in the next city and just walk on stage at The Anthem, where a d&b audiotechnik J-series line array system and the DiGiCo SD12 consoles await them.

“That was the thinking when we made our technology choices,” explains Chris “Sherman” Robb, the technical director for independent concert promotion and production company I.M.P., which also owns D.C.’s iconic 9:30 Club—home to a DiGiCo SD8 for FOH—and operates historic Lincoln Theatre, as well as Maryland’s beautiful and storied Merriweather Post Pavilion. “We have an enormous amount of experience when it comes to knowing what touring artists want and need, and what it takes to make a venue the best it can be for a wide range of shows. The DiGiCo SD12 was the perfect choice for The Anthem.”

The list of artists to perform at The Anthem in its first few months of operation—including Bon Iver, The National, The War on Drugs, Lorde, Kurt Vile, The Killers, Trombone Shorty and Phil Lesh—attests to that. “The SD12 is a good fit for The Anthem—it has a small footprint and we don’t have to strike it as we configure the room for different artists and types of shows,” Sherman says.

“At the same time, this is a console that most of the artists that play here are used to. It’s part of a full production package that we designed—sound, lighting, rigging, et cetera—that would let even the biggest artists just plug in and play.

“Plus the SD12 is upgradable, and with the Optocore and MADI interface, we can connect with anything that artists can bring in. When we compared the functionality, sound and price point with other desks on the market, the SD12 was the clear choice. With artists of this caliber, this is what The Anthem needed.”