Colour Sound gets Snarky Puppy vibe
Wednesday, 31 May 2017
colour-sound-snarky-puppyThe tour included a highly-charged performance at London’s Brixton Academy (photo: Louise Stickland)
UK - Award winning lighting designer Francis Clegg applied his imagination and magic to the latest Snarky Puppy UK tour, where his penchant for creating interesting and different visual environments is perfectly suited to the band’s improvisational instrumental jazz-pop sounds.
Colour Sound Experiment was delighted to be the lighting and video supplier for the tour. The west London based company has worked on other projects with Francis, part of creative practice design MIRRAD, including most recently, Giggs and Kano. “You know that a design will look fresh and alternative when Francis’ name is on it,” commented Colour Sound’s H (Haydn Cruickshank).
Francis worked on Snarky Puppy’s 2015 UK tour, their first with full production. He finds the fluidity and organic nature of the music and performance very inspirational. Every show is unique, and that provided a clear starting point for the visual design … which also had to be infinitely flexible.
This tour also took the production levels up a notch with the addition of a remote operated robo-cam (utilising Panasonic AW-UE70 4Ks) system which was also operated by Francis along with lighting and the live mix, who took the challenge of multi-tasking in his stride.
Onstage in the full set up - were 10 x 2m wide super-light screens custom made by Hangman, arranged in two rows of five on two separate trusses.
These were all rigged on Robe MediaSpinner 50 ATs, which proved a neat solution, with a Portman P1 retro lamp on the reverse side of the screen, chosen for complete contrast and for their way-cool, highly distinctive flower-like appearance and warm tungsten output.
The projector was a single Barco 30K positioned at FOH and the four robo-cam signals were fed into a Green Hippo Amba media server via a 4-in-1-out Quad-Split from Decimator Design, allowing any camera to be flexibly assigned to any screen.
Francis controlled them using a Panasonic AW-RP50 remote camera controller stationed at FOH, a compact unit which enables presets, live control and other functions.
Twenty Robe Pointes were rigged on the fingers and towers and provided a great diversity of aerial looks, prism effects, beams, frosts, colour flips and all the other things for which they are great!
The wash fixtures were 30 x Chauvet R2s, 16 rigged in the air and 14 placed on the floor, and their task was to wash the band and the stage and help highlight the soloists as well as facilitate and augment the various camera angles and ensure clarity for the more technical shots mentioned earlier.
Some ETC Source Fours were added for key lighting, which was also important for the camera shots and eight Robe LEDWash 600s were available on the front truss for additional and support washes. A set of tungsten blinders highlighted the audience, all run from an Avo Quartz main console.
“It was essentially a bit of ‘back-to-basics’ approach to lighting” explained Francis, “defining areas of the stage, creating an ambience and mood throughout the set and underscoring some fantastic musicianship”.
He says the biggest challenges were the expectations. “It’s a different audience to a rock, pop or dance crowd, very demanding, so it had to be an attractive yet thoughtful show that was totally cutting edge.”
Zak Nicholson worked alongside Francis as a technician on the tour and they were joined by a Colour Sound crew of John Lahiffe (Afghan John) and Jasper Johns who ensured everything went together smoothly and efficiently for the popular tour which included a highly-charged performance at London’s Brixton Academy.
(Jim Evans)

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