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Aaron Watson Tours with Bandit Lites
USA – Country music’s newest rising star Aaron Watson isn’t one to give up when things get tough, so when he was told he wasn’t commercial enough to make it as a singer, the Texas native returned to his home state and proved all the doubters wrong. Now, with a lighting package provided by Bandit Lites, Aaron Watson is performing to sold-out crowds and promoting his album, Vaquero, the follow up to his historical and aptly named album, The Underdog, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, the first-ever independent solo male country artist to do so.
Utilising four different types of fixtures on tower and riser faces, lighting designer Anthony McCoy mindfully chose each one, giving special consideration to truck pack, load in time and versatility of looks, especially given the divergent sounds of Watson’s music which ranges from intimate ballads to bold, high-octane country rock songs.
“I wanted to be able to deliver a myriad of looks to the audience,” McCoy said. “I like lighting design that has contrast: a look is huge and explosive one moment, and is simple and elegant in another. I wanted to get that accomplished without simply fading out half of the rig.”
Bandit supplied the compact and efficient GLP X4S fixtures which provide a range of looks, both for backlight on the band and beam aspects. Cuepix WW2 blinders give the dynamic dim chases. Additional lighting comes along the downstage risers with EPIX Strip Tours, driven by Resolume Arena from McCoy’s video server.
Referring to Bandit’s Chauvet RH1 Rogue Hybrids as ‘the star of the show,’ McCoy said: “I can make gargantuan looks that fill the stage by layering both the eight-facet and six-facet prisms with a gobo. In addition, having individual rotation control of each prism and gobo selection gives many options to create movement aside from the typical pan/tilt circle effect. I've had a lot of fun playing with ‘how many different kinds of movement can I make within the beam?’ Having this fine control of what happens within the beam allows me to convey movement on stage in many ways.”
With factors such as the tight space of the pack to consider, Bandit Lites was instrumental in providing creative solutions to making the gear both fit the space and ensure a speedy set up.
“Bandit was phenomenal with helping us figure out ways to pre-rig fixtures, finding ways to omit road cases and preparing us for all of the quirks that come up with being out on the road,” said McCoy. “From case labels to offering ideas on how to make load out easier, Bandit's fluency in the production world makes working with them a pleasure. From having our rig ready to program upon our arrival in Nashville, to offering spare fixtures and repairs when out on the road, Bandit takes care of us.”
In addition to exceptional client care on the road, Bandit also hosted Aaron Watson’s production team at Venue One, its expansive rehearsal facility and programming suites, allowing for ample time to work out any pre-tour hurdles.
“I thoroughly enjoyed having the Aaron Watson camp in our building for a week and watching them put their show together,” said Bandit’s vice president Mike Golden. “There is an amazing chemistry within this staff and I am sure the show reflects this energy.”
Aaron Watson’s tour continues well into 2017 with no signs of slowing down, an element to the production that McCoy shares thanks to the immense amount of creative freedom he has regarding the lighting.
“For me, this trust and freedom allows me to produce better results and be more experimental with my work. It's a real treat. Our production manager, Jared Miller, and I will brainstorm design ideas together, often going beyond the lighting design and venturing into video, new rigging ideas, or even ways to make our equipment pack more efficient. Being a part of a creative environment where everyone truly enjoys their work and works very hard is something I'm thankful for.”
29th March 2017
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