Greta Van Fleet flies high with Chauvet
Monday, 24 June 2019
gretavanfleet1Greta Van Fleet’s March of the Peaceful Army tour runs through to October
USA - Hung on five 30ft truss fingers that rise at a 30° angle as they go from upstage toward the audience, the Chauvet Professional Nexus Aw 7x7 fixtures at the heart of Greta Van Fleet’s lighting rig allude to a plane taking flight.
Eric Cathcart, the band’s lighting designer, has a first-hand appreciation of this dizzying trajectory. The owner of Bigtime Lighting Design, Cathcart was with the quartet on some of their earliest touring a little over a year ago. Back then everything, including lighting, audio gear and the backline (not to mention the band), fit on a single bus and trailer. Today, a Grammy Award win and a slew of No. 1 hits later, the band’s caravan is considerably larger at five vehicles.
Cathcart’s rig, with its 100 Nexus panels, which, like the rest of the fixtures, were supplied by Primer Global Productions, sprang to life with the kind of sudden intensity that’s reflective of the band’s career path as well as its power driving music.
“Honestly, the Nexus 7x7s were the first piece of the puzzle in this design,” says Cathcart. “We were set to roll with just an augmented version of the floor package that we used last year, when at the last minute I was told that the guys wanted to do a complete redesign. They had seen the Chauvet Nexus somewhere along the way, and the lights kind of caught their eyes.
“After looking at pretty much the same thing for a year, I was all for a complete redesign,” adds Cathcart. “Once this was agreed to, I wanted to do something bold with the panels, so I decided to use them to create straight lines of white lighting running from 10ft off the ground upstage to 30ft high downstage. Once I settled on that concept, the rest of the design fell into place.”
Playing the narrow warm white beams of the Nexus panels off against the dark space around the band members, Cathcart is creating an exciting sense of expectation on stage. “I didn’t want to use the truss just to hold the lights,” he said. “My goal was to come up with a geometrically interesting structure that would engage the crowd. A lot of negative space is included in my design; this allows me to get some stadium-sized looks even at a mid-level amphitheatre show.”
Greta Van Fleet’s March of the Peaceful Army tour, which began 7 May in Miami and runs through 15 October in Philadelphia (with sojourns to Europe and Australia in between), is stopping at its share of amphitheatres, as well as arenas and festivals.
(Jim Evans)

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