The stage set includes a sawn-off Corvette (shanphotomaker)
USA - Lighting a co-headline tour can, at times, be a tricky proposition, especially when one of the acts wants to build its show around a car wash theme, complete with a sawn-off Corvette on stage, while the other opts for a more romantic setting. Richard Fong faced this situation when he was called upon to light the Welcome To Hellvetica Tour, featuring Joywave and iDKhow.
“For me, the design process always starts with a conversation about what story the band wants to tell onstage,” said Fong. “Joywave wanted to go all-in on a very theatrical car wash themed show. iDKhow is also a very theatrical band, but on this tour, they wanted to take a somewhat different route.”
Drawing on the fresh original energy and vitality that characterizes both up and coming bands, Fong has successfully navigated his way through this dual mission, creating shows that are true to the vision of each client, while also providing fans with a single, and consistently engaging visual experience. Helping him accomplish this is a collection of Chauvet Professional fixtures supplied by Squeek Lights.
He explained how the design process unfolded: “After talking to the bands, I distinguished different looks and elements for each show based on their sound and stage presence. So, for example, Joywave’s show has a lot of big beam movements and looks that mirror the movement of the lead singer who is always running around on stage. Whenever he throws his hands down on a big hit, the lights do the same. If he sweeps his arms up in a pre-chorus build, there’s going to be beams sweeping up. In our conversations we’ve referred to this as him conducting the lights.”
Although the design for IDKHOW’s show is still focused on the band members, there isn’t quite as much movement. “Dallon is the lead singer, but he also plays the bass, so he’s often downstage centre for most of the show,” explained Fong. “This gives me the opportunity to really play with sculpting the light around him with different angles. I often have him and the other members in a downlight special, but depending on the mood of the song they also get hit with sidelight or a moody angled upright.”
Helping Fong create captivating light angles for both bands are his rig’s 12 Rogue R1 BeamWashes. “I come from a theatre background, so I’m always looking for interesting ways to light people on stage,” he said. “Specifically, I use some of the R1 BeamWashes at a very wide and low angle to get some interesting rim lighting on the bands, and that really helps pull focus to them. At the same time, it also doesn’t take away from the video content.”
Also helping Fong make individual band members stand out on stage are eight Maverick Force S Spot fixtures, four of which are positioned on top of truss towers, and for arranged on the deck. “Their zoom gives me the narrow beam necessary for the high energy moments, and the selection of gobos really helps define some beautiful looks,” he says of the fixtures.
Also featured in the rig are eight Color Strike M fixtures, a pair of which flanks each of the Force S Spot units on the towers. Fong uses their RGB faces to compliment the rigs video wall with texture, while relying on the white strobe tubes to add excitement to big moments and highlight the Corvette scenic piece.
“The Corvette is a very fun element, a lot of the video design by Ann Slote is based around the car, making it seem like we are moving through a car wash or driving along a vaporwave highway,” said Fong. “In terms of the lighting, I tried to think of it as a character in a show. It starts off very normal looking with red brake lights and flashing hazard lights to the beat, then as the show progresses, it starts to take on the personality of the music.”

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