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What Do You Expect … Colour Sound on The Vaccines

What Do You Expect … Colour Sound on The Vaccines
What Do You Expect … Colour Sound on The Vaccines

UK – Popular indie rockers The Vaccines are on the road again continuing their ‘English Graffiti’ album campaign, with lighting designed by Dan Williams and supplied by west London-based Colour Sound Experiment.

The band toured earlier in the year, visiting some of the more off-beat venues in the circuit, followed by some gigs over the summer and now this tour, which also plays a couple of arenas and for which Dan created a completely new design.

The new album is a departure from the punky, rocky attitude of the first two, moving into some darker and moodier territories and they wanted the musical evolution and depth of the new material to be reflected in the lighting and visuals.

In response, Dan has gone for multiple options for producing a wide array of strong moody looks with lots of variety and low side lighting that introduces intimacy and the idea of proximity and sharing the whole performance : audience experience. "There are many subtleties in this show," he explained.

The overhead rig is based on three trusses positioned front, mid and rear and bolstered with eight vertical towers on the floor.

The main workhorse lights are 17 Robe BMFL Spots which are all on the overhead rig including five on the front truss used for keylighting which is a practical solution that saves considerable time on focusing. Dan thinks the luminaires are super-bright and have good colour mixing.

On the back truss are seven Clay Paky a.leda K20 washes fitted with B-Eye lenses used for general stage washes and intricate eye candy looks involving the individual pixels and rings. There are also eight Robe LEDWash 600s on the trusses, run in wide mode for full ring control, which are used in conjunction with the B-eyes, creating some great quirky looks.

Six Robe Pointes on the front truss frequently reach out into the audience with zappy effects and beams to draw them into the action. There are also 11 Atomics in the air, 11 x 2-Lites and six 8-Lites.

To add a scenic element there are seven Chinese style lanterns hung from the roof and sourced from a props company with the internal sources run through the lighting console. These are used to break up the look and, juxtaposed against a red upstage backcloth relate back to the oriental flavour of the music video for “Handsome”, the first single released from English Graffiti. The drape itself is uplit with seven Chroma-Q ColorForce 72s sited on the floor.

The eight towers are all 3.5 metres tall and are rigged with similar lights which add a distinctive dynamic to the stage space and also make the rig look very large.

Four of these towers have a Pointe and the other four a LEDWash 600 on top. Clamped to the front of all eight towers are eight PATT 2013s which add another scenic dimension. Also on the front of each tower are two Chauvet Q-Wash 260s and a 2-lite Mole.

There are another six Pointes on the floor which interact with the ones on the front truss and blast out into the audience, and flanking each side of the stage, are two 24kW Dinos.

More commonly found in a film environment, apart from looking cool, the Dinos introduce a high-impact block of tungsten to the picture. Dan and the band used them during the daylight shows in the summer to add a bit of warmth and substance; everyone loved them so they stayed on the plot of this leg of the tour.

Downstage are another eight LEDWash 600s to provide sidelighting on the band and to enhance the lower level light sources, and great for augmenting the heavily saturated colour looks, especially in dark blues and reds.

Atmospherics are provided in plentiful quantities by two DF50s and two ZR44s, and there are also eight half mirror balls in the rig, four in the air and four on the floor. Perhaps slightly unexpected, used intelligently and sparingly, they look totally bang-on as part of the edgy rock show lighting.

All lighting is run by Dan using his own ChamSys Maxi Wing, and joining him on the lighting crew are Colour Sound’s Jon Ricketts and James Hind.

For the arena shows and Brixton, four wing trusses are added, two a side dead hung underneath one other to extend the stage space, rigged with five Pointes and five LEDWash 600s a side.

Summing up, Dan comments: “It’s been great working with Colour Sound, as always, they have provided great kit and crew with a friendly attitude and nothing is ever too much of a problem!”

photos: Louise Stickland

What Do You Expect … Colour Sound on The VaccinesWhat Do You Expect … Colour Sound on The Vaccines

9th December 2015

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