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Tons of fun with Biffy Clyro at Isle of Wight Festival
UK – “The thing with this band is they always put a lot into it.” So says LD Richard Larkum talking of Biffy Clyro’s sanguinary performance at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival. “They are very humble so when they were asked to top the bill on the last night, they really went for it.”
Even by the standards of Biffy Clyro, a band that sheds more sweat than the London Marathon, going for it is what they did. “The main feature of the show came from Misty Buckley.” It is true that Buckley has provided production design to this band for several years, but this show had its own unique set of challenges, as she explains.
"When a band are billed to headline a major festival and are not currently in their touring cycle then a design house like ours has to recognise there are sensible limits to what you can do to make the show special, unique, and true to the artist.” Typical of Buckley, she managed to square the circle between spectacle and sober budgeting: a magical balancing act between stage set, lighting and video.
“We chose to use building blocks of IBCs, and they proved ideal.” IBCs are those metal caged, approximately one metre cubed, palletised industrial containers for fluids. “Structurally interesting and relatively inexpensive to acquire, they are strong and flexible. They also provide an ideal surface for video projection and are a great diffusion box in which to place a light source. Both Neg Earth and Video Design saw immediately the potential we had imagined and worked very hard to maximise their impact."
Larkum described Buckley’s vision as: “A three dimensional backdrop, almost a cityscape of stacked IBCs; something that immediately had a big impact. In fact, lighting and video wise an even bigger impact, thanks to the shadow and texture they brought to the stage. I’d used them before years ago and knew I could cut a hole in the back to fit a lamp; in this instance we used JDCs from GLP. That took care of the first half of the set when we knew it would be pretty much daylight throughout. But shortly after 10pm we had glorious darkness. Richie Shipman, our veteran camera director, provided an excellent cut of the band which was then projected onto the IBCs.” Larkum controls video from his trusty Hog4 console, his familiarity with the band’s music providing a frenetic fusion of lighting and video interplay. “As Misty wanted, it completely transformed the look of the IOW mainstage.”
Not all was plain sailing, strong winds the night of the set-up at IOW forced the tallest elements of Buckley’s cityscape to be reduced in height by two cubes. “Thank goodness she’d anticipated that need for flexibility,” said Larkum. “However, although we set-up overnight as you do, it still meant the Video Design guys having to pull off projector realignment at 6am, already broad daylight. I don’t know how they did it, but when we fired up in the second half of the show it looked amazing. The depth and shadow of the IBCs brought a real change in the complexion of the show; between light and video it really gave us a lift. Negs, Video Design and Quantum for special effects, everyone really pulled together for this one and made it something special.”
photos: Mark Davies
5th July 2019
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