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Sean Keegan Gets Creative with ChamSys at Gypsy Sally’s

Sean Keegan Gets Creative with ChamSys at Gypsy Sally’s
Sean Keegan Gets Creative with ChamSys at Gypsy Sally’s

USA – Creativity flourishes at Gypsy Sally’s, whether it’s in the kitchen, which serves up unique gastronomical delights like flatbread topped with mascarpone cheese, fig jam, caramelised onions and prosciutto, or on its live music stage. The second-storey Georgetown nightspot isn’t the largest club in the US capital, but it does host one of the most diverse ranges of musicians, from popular funk and jam bands like Kung Fu and The Nightowls, to the Afro Zen Allstars drummers and The Portland Cello Project modern classical ensemble.

Supporting this eclectic array of very original artists with light is Sean Keegan, who has been the production engineer at Gypsy Sally’s since 2016. “Essentially anything having to do with the actual production of a show here is handled by me,” he explained. “That includes running FOH, monitors and lighting.”

The lighting part of Keegan’s mission became much easier and more rewarding recently, following his acquisition of a ChamSys MagicQ MQ40N console. “We got the ChamSys after we added eight moving fixtures, four Chauvet Professional Rogue R1 Washes and four Rogue R1 Spots, to our rig,” said Keegan. “It was clear to us that to realise the full benefits offered by the Rogues, we needed a new console. That console had to be compact, because space is always at a premium here. And it also had to be intuitive, so visiting lighting directors could jump right in and run the boards.”

Following the recommendation of his friend David Beebe, House LD at Washington’s legendary Birchmere live music venue, Keegan acquired the MagicQ MQ40N. Measuring 21” (525mm) wide by 15” (385mm) deep by 5.5” (140mm) high, the new console was more than compact enough to meet Keegan’s standards. With features like MagicVis, MagicHD connectivity options, and in-built Pixel Mapper, it also had the performance features he wanted.

“This console’s workflow is amazing,” said Keegan. “It allows me to adjust easily on the fly. It’s also very reliable – no freezing, delays, or any other issues. It just works. Another very simple and overlooked thing is the touchscreen. It’s extremely responsive and accurate. It’s also big and easy to read.

“Since I don't know all the bands I work with every night at the club, I like to run primarily on the ChamSys playback faders,” continued Keegan. “I can set scenes that work for our stage shape and tone of the show and then reposition for some solo spots.”

Many of the groups that Keegan works with are jam bands. The fast-moving nature of their music, with its long improvisational passages, lends itself to a dynamic light show, which led Gypsy Sally’s to add intelligent moving lights to its rig. “Jam, funk and rock call for movement and dramatic effects,” said Keegan. “The Rogues help us provide this and much more.”

For Keegan, a good thing about adding the Rogue R1 Washes is that they give him the opportunity to backlight and spotlight performers. “The Rogue Spots are up front and really allow me to bring out my soloists,” he said. “Plus, our speaker arrays are quite large, and I just couldn't hit them all with basic pars. I can do that with the Rogues. On top of that, I use the gobo feature of the Rogues a lot. I can't run fog or haze, as it will set off my fire alarms, so the gobos really add that extra flare to a scene.”

The new ChamSys console, combined with the moving fixtures in his rig, have opened a range of creative options for Keegan, which has made his work at Gypsy Sally’s even more gratifying. “I am in a good place here,” he said. “The people here, beginning with the owners David and Karen Ensor, are like family.”

That “family” is guided by the same vision of creating a unique experience, says Keegan, whether it’s in the kitchen - or on the now-very-versatile and colourful live music stage.

12th June 2018

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