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Andrew Dawson Connects James Barker Band to Crowd with Chauvet Professional
Canada – Country Music “rings true wherever you go,” James Barker told an interviewer last year. The platinum certified chart-topping star is living proof of that. Born in Canada, the singer/song writer and his James Barker Band embody the heart and soul of the Nashville sound with their raw, unapologetically down home style, a brand of music that’s earned them two No. 1 hits along with a Juno Award.
Recently, the quartet appeared at London’s Centennial Hall for a country jamboree, Canadian style. Reflecting the upbeat, hard-driving power of the band was an Andrew Dawson light show that featured Chauvet Professional Strike 1 fixtures supplied by PA Shop Productions.
Like the band itself, Dawson’s show thrived on creating a strong connection to the crowd.
Toward this end, the young designer from Toronto relied on audience lighting from the eight Strike 1 units in his rig.
“I was looking for a way to add crowd lighting to the show’s design without being overbearing,” said Dawson. “The venue had an all-white ceiling, which I wanted to use as part of my canvas since the stage was so tight. I also wanted to light the crowd for special moments as well. The Strike 1 help a great deal in this regard. It has a fantastic, warm backlight that immerses the crowd nicely.
“Sometimes I even used it for strobe hits,” continued Dawson. “A nice thing about this fixture is that it provides a solid tungsten feel, while having all the modern features. There were moments in the show where I went with a strictly backlight look from the Strike 1 fixtures; they held up to the task perfectly.”
Dawson arranged four of his Strike 1 fixtures on the stage deck and flew four on his upstage truss. In addition to lighting the crowd and accenting key moments with blinding light, the fixtures helped him add some variety to the show.
“I enjoy the single-cell look from the fixture, along with the beam angle, colour temperature, and the intensity they provide,” said Dawson. “Being bright the Strike stood up to other fixtures and worked well with them. For example, one of my favourite looks in the evening happened during the song Chills. We started off with a strong gobo backlight, and followed this with a massive Strike 1 hit, before things really kick off for the chorus of the song. It’s a simple, but an impactful look in the show. Plus, the crowd’s energy during this moment is always unmatched.”
When creating his diverse range of looks, Dawson had to contend with spatial limitations at the venue. “We had quite a tall trim height, but limited stage space,” he said. “I really wanted to take advantage of the space I had. For me it came down to a balance of how many fixtures I could fit without taking up too much valuable stage real estate for the band. Going vertical as much as I could really added structure to the design.”
Dawson credits tour manager Bill Girdwood and the rest of the team with helping him meet the challenges of bringing the show to life. “This was a special group of people,” he said. “I was just very grateful to be part of this experience. James Barker, the band and all the guests country artists gave us great performances.”
Looking back on the show, Dawson also talked about the crowd at Centennial Hall, declaring that in true country music fashion, “its energy level was incredible!” A level that was pumped up even higher on this night by some well-placed audience lighting.
2nd February 2022
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