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Bandit Lites is “Glad to Be Here” with Walker Hayes and Darkroom Creative
USA – Country star Walker Hayes is out on his first headlining tour with a lighting package supplied by Bandit Lites. The viral ‘Fancy Like’ singer released his third album “Country Stuff” in January 2022 to widespread acclaim before taking to the road on the “Glad You’re Here” Tour. For this inaugural outing, Seth Jackson and Nate Alves of Darkroom Creative sought to design a production that would not break the budget but hold its own in the arenas.
“Scale is something I feel we do very well here at Darkroom,” explained Alves. “It is one thing to build something that looks good when hung as designed, it is another to be able to grow and condense with the room and fill that upstage space effectively and responsibly. The rig looks bigger than it is and as such, we can really squeeze this show into some tight spaces. This is where our equipment choices really helped us.”
“You are talking about a Tik Tok wizard,” said Jackson about Hayes, referring to his 33.4 million views and 3.2 million followers. “Most people will see this show on a stream, so we needed to light it so a smart phone would capture an accurate picture.”
“To put a genre on this guy is like trying to catch wind in your hand,” said Alves. “Just when I think I have him figured out he produces something new and totally surprises me. Seth and the team at Bandit really executed an effective Swiss army knife of a lighting design that lets us cover the show very effectively.”
“We went for products with a lot of flexibility, rock solid performance and the best output in a small package,” said Jackson.
The selection included Bandit Lites supplied Elation Smarty Hybrids, Elation CuePix WW2, GLP X4S, GLP X4 Bar 20 and a grandMA 2 console.
“The GLP colour system is still remarkable and consistent across all of the fixture lines, so the X4s and Xbar20s were a perfect choice,” said Jackson. “Bright, small, fast, great colour and bulletproof. Mike Golden suggested the Smarty Hybrid in our search for a hard-edge fixture; for such a small physical footprint, there is a great deal of brightness and a surprising number of effects.”
“When Seth first approached me about Walker Hayes, we immediately began drawing on our experiences of past tours that could fit for this artist,” said Bandit Lites vice president Mike Golden. “We started with the style of truss that met the criteria of truck space, and then worked on the selection of fixtures that would most benefit the design, budget and venues.”
With a large amount of wash fixtures in the air, Alves explained the horsepower in the form of a big wash allows a base layer to build on.
“We tend to lean toward the traditional with our stage designs,” he said, “and by that, I mean that we always start with where the artist is, what do we want to see, and how can we paint an environment around those elements using the technology we have. The fixtures Mike Golden suggested to do that work were exactly what we needed.”
This thoughtfulness is evident throughout the entirety of the production: the first song is entirely colourless, putting the emphasis squarely on Hayes’s first interaction with the live audience rather than flashy lights.
“I love the power of that opening,” said Jackson. “All of that white light and colour temperature shifts makes for an opening that is all about the name on the marquee: HE controls the situation not the gear.”
Using Bandit Lites GOGO Truss, most fixtures and cabling travel inside the truss and the 20.5” footprint is a huge help in the truck. Additionally, the rig is capable of being assembled by lighting director Dom Hickman and Bandit lighting tech AJ Quintel.
“Occasionally I have the opportunity to work with old, old friends and Seth Jackson and Nate Alves are just that,” said Golden. “When Seth and Nate spent a week in our Venue One programming facility to pre-program the show, it seemed just like old times again. Add to that the fact both production manager Chris Newman and Dominic Hickman are fantastic: they have been incredible to work with and extremely professional. The show looks amazing and I’m looking forward to working with all of these gentlemen for many years to come.”
“I worked at Bandit for a bit before becoming a client,” said Alves. “I’ve done life around that team, and now we talk about family more than lights or production these days. I send gifs when my favourite’s birthday comes around, and when someone moves or has a big change, it’s a life event for both our companies. We know what we’re getting into with Bandit: they know how to take care of us. It’s a great relationship and they always make us feel at home, like we never left, when we walk in.”
“Walking into Venue One is almost overwhelming with the flood of memories,” added Jackson. “Through all of that, one thing is certain: Bandit always puts service and support as a top priority. Even with a young act like Walker, they treated us as if Garth himself had walked into the building.”
21st October 2022
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