Leading UK lighting and visuals rental company HSL supplied equipment and crew to the latest Enter Shikari UK tour, working with lighting designer Steve Bewley.
Bewley produced a hi-energy, full-on light-show to match the band’s exciting and renowned boisterous live performances which mix metal, punk, dance and loudness in a unique fusion sometimes dubbed ‘electronicore’.
The “A Flash Flood of Colour” tour started in Europe where it played slightly smaller venues, so the lighting rig was designed to be flexible enough to expand and contract to cover these, plus both an A and a B configuration for the UK, again based on the size of venue, the largest of which was Hammersmith Apollo.
Mike Oates project managed for HSL. Bewley has worked with the Blackburn based company on several previous projects including for Maximo Park, The Darkness and Dizzy Rascal (operating Andy Hurst’s design) and says, “Mike is brilliant, no matter what crazy vision I have Mike is always on hand to help put it in to practice. I must say the service. the equipment and the people are great at HSL. They absolutely bend over backwards to provide whatever you need before and during any tour”.
Enter Shikari’s latest chart-topping album “A Flash Flood of Colour” gave Bewley plenty of initial inspiration for the design, which was colourful, crazy and completely in your face – proper Enter Shikari style!
It was hugely challenging to produce a design that would look the same but fit into so many variations, another major challenge is actually lighting a band that moves so much onstage! One minute they’re on the stage and the next ….. climbing around the venue!
The European leg featured a floor package from HSL, all based around five LED edged triangles, an idea first imagineered about 18 months ago, and then developed by the band into the whole concept for the new album.
The fixtures chosen to make these were Chroma-Q Color Forces – three Color Force 72s for the large central triangle in Europe and 4 sets of three Chroma-Q 48s for the four smaller ones. These were all fitted into custom flying frames fabricated by HSL from special pre-rigged trussing, and flown off the house trusses. With five of these, there was plenty of diversity.
Hung off the bottom of the two of the smaller triangles were eight Martin Professional MAC 101 LED wash lights, providing dramatic fast-moving, low-level back/side lighting.
With the triangles visually defining the stage area, the net effect was to increase the feeling and appearance of space. Using the art of optical and perceptive illusion, Bewley gave each room – whatever the actual size – almost a stadium feel ….. in a clever subversion of ‘small is beautiful’.
In addition to this, there were six three metre sections of pre-rigged truss which became upstage towers, each containing three Clay Paky Sharpies, 14 Chroma-Q Color Block DB4s, one Atomic strobe with colour scroller and a single Lowell Omni flood. HSL made special feet for the towers, so they could be easily wheeled onto stage and flipped up in position, providing an instant and impressive ‘wall-of-death’.
Six Robe ROBIN 300 Spots sat behind the trussing sections on flightcases for another layer of illuminative assault!
All of this was controlled by Bewley using a grandMA2 light console.
He used a Green Hippo v3 Stage media server to pixel map all the Colour Forces and DB4s which was also triggered via the grandMA. Some heavily adulterated library clips in the Hippo proved ideal for driving the LED sources in Enter Shikari style, all adding to the chaos and mayhem!
As the tour hit the UK, the rig changed again, and they collected a front and back truss from HSL together with all associated flying kit, plus six Robe ROBIN 600 Spots for the back truss, and another six ROBIN 600s and four 4-lite blinders for the front truss. This together with the European rig and triangles was the UK B rig.
For the four largest shows, they added a mid truss with another six ROBIN 600 Spots; one 5 metre diameter circle truss nicknamed “The Hoop”, which was flanked by two 5 metre half-circle “Banana” trusses. These were picked up from the back truss and one additional satellite truss in-between the back and the mid truss.
The Hoop was steeply raked and had 12 Sharpies around its perimeter. In the centre was the main triangle made up from a combination of Colour Force 48 and 72 battens.
The strobes that had been on the six vertical truss towers on the floor were moved to the two Bananas – giving four Atomic Colours per side, together with five MAC 101s on each Banana.
Bewley explains, “This gave me the option to light The Hoop as a centre focal point and also the main stage area – in which the band would zoom around – with some very interesting asymmetrical looks”.
The ROBIN 300s on the deck at the back were swapped to MAC 3K Profiles, and two hexagonal pods were flown vertically each side of the front truss, each with a triangle on the front and Sharpies rigged inside.
Three 6 Watt RGB Lasers and ten 1 Watt blue beam lasers from BPM were also added for the full UK rig, and for Hammersmith, the effects department was boosted with eight bubble machines and two confetti cannons. These were utilised on some of the epic stadium sounding songs of the set – including a hi-octane remix of “Return to Energiser” and for the finale. The bubble idea came from the band’s early days at their local youth club, and the new Energiser remix presented the perfect moment to use bubbles and lasers together, producing an epic audience reaction.
With so many different rig configurations and a schedule very tight for time, HSL supplied Bewley with a WYSIWYG machine to take on tour, which really helped with pre-programming the different rig set-ups as and when he had any ‘down’ time.
“We’d been in Australia & Japan and then went almost straight in to the European shows, so it was amazing to have this with me and the ability to plot some of the structure for the UK shows whilst on the road,” says Bewley.
Crew chief Tim Spillman has worked with Bewley for many years, “Tim is a great tech to have on-board. You need people you can trust and he deals with my requests no matter how strange!”
HSL also supplied a top crew, with Neil Smith for Europe, joined by Simon “Piggy” Lynch and Andy Iliffe for the UK. “HSL’s crew are always at the top of their game, I have never worked with Neil, Andy or Piggy before but I will be in the future as they were all brilliant, Thanks Guys!” he enthuses.
The new show was massively well received with blog sites and social network feeds burning with positive comments on the lighting, the atmosphere and the performance. Bewley has also received an abundance of very positive feedback from the band and their management.
Enter Shikari are one of the hardest working live acts on the road – their last album cycle lasted around three years – and shows for this one are currently scheduled for the rest of the year …. So watch this space for more action!
Date of issue : 30th April 2012.
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