Sylvan Esso shake out with Martin Pro
Tuesday, 21 December 2021
sylvanesso3The Grammy-nominated duo embarked on their Shaking Out the Numb Tour
USA - To provide indie-dance duo Sylvan Esso with lighting as dynamic, expressive and riveting as their music for their 2021 Shaking Out the Numb Tour, lighting designer Zach Sternberg designed a rig featuring Martin Professional lighting solutions.
Founded in 2013 in Durham, North Carolina, Sylvan Esso is made up of singer-songwriter Amelia Meath and producer Nick Sanborn. By combining elements of folk, indie rock and electronic music, Meath and Sanborn developed a sound that toes the line between digital, upbeat music and earnest, vulnerable lyricism, earning them a devoted fan base in the process.
This past fall, the Grammy-nominated duo embarked on their Shaking Out the Numb Tour in support of their third studio album Free Love, which they released in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the tour, lighting designer Zach Sternberg created a streamlined yet versatile lighting rig featuring Martin MAC Allure Profile and VDO Atomic Dot CLD fixtures and a P3-050 system controller.
“This was a post-pandemic tour, so budgets were tighter and efficiency was key,” said Sternberg. “One of the things we really focused on was how to design a show that pushes the limits of creativity and brings the fans that same experience they've come to know and love under the new constraints. I reached out to Martin because I thought it would be beneficial to use their cutting-edge gear in conjunction with some of the more seasoned equipment in our rig to really elevate our show.
“We designed a decentralised LED pixel grid controlled with a mix of programming between hard DMX values from the console and video content. When we were looking at which fixtures would work best with this show, the Atomic Dot and the Allure stood out because they can seamlessly receive both bespoke programming and video merges.”
The lighting rig consisted of 13 lightweight, foldable carts that connected to form a curved support structure for a grid of light tiles. Each cart housed two Martin Atomic Dot CLDs pointed centrestage towards the band and on the truss above, one MAC Allure Profile fixture centred directly over each one.
The efficiency went beyond the design itself, as all of the Atomic Dots shared a single circuit and the Allures were controlled by a single Ethernet line. This rig was more compact than those used on previous tours and required minimal setup and takedown in order to accommodate the reduced crew size, but the design nonetheless provided powerful and dexterous visuals that exceeded the band’s expectations.
“The amount of output you get on the Dots with so little power is really impressive,” added Sternberg. “And with the curved rig design, they all point in at the band, which is really great for sightlines.”
With the Allures directly above the band, the lighting crew could highlight both Meath and Sanborn individually during key moments with striking and colourful beams.
The MAC Allure Profiles and VDO Atomic Dots are P3-controllable ‘for pinpoint control and seamless incorporation of video content’, which the lighting crew utilised using the P3-050 System Controller.

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