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Renegade in Kasabian White Out for Hard Rock Calling
Nick Gray of London based creative lighting and design practice Renegade produced an impressive stage design for Kasabian’s Saturday night headline performance at the 2013 Hard Rock Calling event, staged for the first time at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to a sold out audience of 45,000.
Gray wanted to ensure it was a very special show with a high impact. It was essentially a large one-off preceded by a couple of festival warm-ups bringing to a close the band’s impressive ‘Velociraptor!’ album cycle. The whole visual concept was inspired by the stark, contrasty and quirky music video for Switchblade Smiles directed by Aitor Throup.
With this in mind Gray and Throup draped the entire stage in white velvet including the walls, trusses and both of the floor based ground support trusses. A white Marley floor was laid, complete with white risers and fascias, plus a huge white drape upstage.
At the start of the show a large silk backdrop was raised up revealing the band’s backdrop – this was a heavily detailed process with white winch steels acting as the pulley system so as not to see black motor chains. The band walked on to the Old BBC Grandstand theme tune – all dressed in matt black - with the backline also wrapped in matt black, everything totally contrasting with the plain white drape
This stayed in until the end of the second number, and was then kabuki’d off revealing a "floating" 18 metre wide by 6 metre high white gloss WinVision 9 mm LED screen, supplied by Chaos Visual Productions. This was suspended in front of another white drape.
Hard Rock Calling’s ‘house’ lighting contractor PRG supplied the winch and pulley system for flying the backdrop, all of which was also in white – right down to the trussing, steels and winch kit
PRG designed their festival lighting rig for the Saturday around Gray’s spec and supplied all his overhead specials. Neg Earth provided Kasabian’s floor specials rig, as featured at several other gigs and festivals this year.
Gray’s flown rig was based on a very clean well-defined look and minimal amounts of fixtures, starting with 40 Sharpies and 40 Sharpy Washes. "I definitely didn’t want it cluttered with lights," he explains, "So I spec’d smaller units but with plenty of punch – the Sharpy was a great choice." An extra mid-stage truss was added, rigged with another 20 of each Sharpy fixture plus 20 strobes.
Left and right of the stage were three pairs of truss legs approx. 40’ high – these were populated with 12 Sharpys and 12 strobes running top to bottom each, with the effect of widening the stage considerably. On the stage wings floor, Gray placed eight Vari*Lite V*L3500 Washes and four Martin MAC Viper Quadray effects units.
Also in the stage wings were four 21 Watt full colour lasers from ER, with another onstage.
The floor specials package comprised a custom HUD rolling truss system upstage with 8 ft high scaff pipes attached to the back rail. This was used on its sides and fitted with legs on casters, variable in height between 8 inches and a metre.
Five of these HUD truss sections were rolled onstage - a seriously quick method to deploy around 70 lights which can be plugged up in about 10 – 15 minutes! Each 8 ft long HUD truss was rigged with Martin MAC Vipers ratchet strapped to the top, with a row of Martin MAC 101s along with front rail. On 8ft scaff pipes at the back were a selection of Clay Paky Sharpys, strobes and blinders.
Lighting was programmed by Paul Kell (PK) using a Road Hog 4 console.
Gray spent a lot of time designing a strategic smoke solution involving 14 well placed machines to ensure that there were enormous quantities of haze in the house!
Onstage, were four Look Solutions Vipers. Another two were in the pit pointing out into the audience, together with two Orka three phase smokers, also headed into the crowd. At the FOH position were four more Viper smoke machines all pointed back towards the stage. On the first PA delay towers were another two – run via wireless DMX - filling the space behind the FOH with smoke.
The results were a spectacular blanket coverage - great for both lighting and lasers.
Gray asked Steve Spencer on-board as production manager for the summer shows with HRC Calling in mind and the main challenge of overseeing all the set up and draping, etc. The two have collaborated on many fashion projects. The drapes were all supplied by Blackout.
PRG’s crew chief was Gordon Torrington and Neg Earth’s Andrew Munford (Jurgen). Local stage hands for the difficult turnaround came from the Showgun Crew – again with a fashion connection with Gray & Spencer.
The show was a massive success and reminded everyone that Glasto was NOT the only music event on in the UK that weekend!
18th July 2013
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