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Little Big Town Rig Evolves with Chris Shrom and Bandit
USA – Country music super group Little Big Town has been killing it on the road on their Pain Killer Tour with lighting provided by Bandit Lites. With the tour having kicked off August 2014 and still going strong, lighting designer Chris Shrom created a visual look that progressed from a smaller festival look to an arena tour.
Originally, Shrom had to design a rig that would fit in one shared truck as well as on a StageLine 320. This lighting rig consisted of 28 Magic Panels, eight Martin Atomic 3000 Strobe lights (with colour scrollers), eight VL 3000s and six VL 3500 washes, with local 120K for general wash.
“We literally couldn’t fit one more road case in the truck, and I think one more case would have put it overweight,” said Shrom.
Following the tour’s move to arenas, the new design could include more truck space and a weight-bearing roof, although playing half-house, he had to design around a scoreboard.
For that leg of the tour Bandit supplied 12 VL3000s, 12 VL3500 Washes, eight Sharpys, six mac auras, 16 Atomic 3000s (yes, still with colour scrollers), 12 2-lite Mole-fays, 12 GRN pars for sidelight, eight GRN washes for uplight, eight GRN moving washes for front light, eight single cell cyc lights, four ten-way ministrips and 42 magic panels.
As the Painkiller Tour kicked off its 2015 leg, Shrom was asked to keep the general design the same, but shrink the look for theatres. To accomplish this (and fit it all in a truck shared with a video wall), he ultimately sacrificed some magic panels and combined two trusses from the fall run to one truss.
“I used to think that the more lights I was able to cram onto a truck, the better the show would look,” said Shrom. “I’ve learned that a few lights with purpose can be just as effective. The Painkiller lighting rig wasn’t that big if you really took inventory, but every light on that rig has a purpose. The only exception to that statement would be the magic panels, but they were also the key to the big look. They filled every dark space from the floor to the lighting rig 30 feet up.”
Additionally, Shrom also credits the Magic Panels as his favourite aspect of the design, noting how their ability to be an always-changing backdrop of light provides an incredibly unique look to the tour. But while the Magic Panels provided the ‘eye-candy’ looks for the Grammy-award winning group, he used the VL 3000s to cut through the beams. GLP X4s provide side lighting, giving a ton of dimension to the stage breaking up what could be a flat, monochromatic surface.
“The VL3500 Washes behind the LED wall add a unique element to the show that gives me silhouette looks, architectural accent, or just flat out punch when I need it,” Shrom explained. “I recently used them to light up the building at the Mountain Winery as a part of our show.”
The final leg of Little Big Town’s “Pain Killer Tour” begins October 8th in Minnesota with a refreshed look by lighting designer, Mark Butts. The band’s long-time creative director Raj Kapoor also consulted on the design with Chris Shrom directing the show.
Bandit makes every effort to create a stress free environment for its designers, recognising that hours of careful planning go into every rig.
“Bandit understands where I’m coming from as a designer/director in that I’ve spent a lot of time and thought picking out the fixtures, and their placement,” Shrom expounded. “I’ll do a rendering, and send it to my project manager, Shawn Lear, who then works with me to set it up from there. It allows me to spend more time, figuring out the music, the looks and a lot less on DMX and cabling.”
Bandit’s support doesn’t simply end once the gear is out on the road either. Shrom shared when Little Big Town had fixtures go down before one of their biggest shows of the year, Bandit not only shipped replacements, but also provided the parts needed to repair the other lights.
“We pulled the show off at 100% that weekend thanks to them.”
25th September 2015
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