The famous, late Victorian Coronet Theatre in South London may have had something of a chequered history, but under the management of Blackfriars' newly-created Blackfriars Promotions, the 2,500-plus capacity venue has undergone a massive refurbishment to support an aggressive in-house events programme, including a serious production upgrade based around GLP's new Impression 120 RZ zoom.
Ten of the powerful new LED fixtures have been provided as part of a comprehensive lighting refit by Southampton-based GLS Lighting, who have been servicing the Coronet's lighting requirements for a number of years.
With the ownership of The Mermaid Conference and Events Centre, Blackfriars has built a strong reputation, and The Coronet's head booker Mike Weller says, “Since we are now starting to get recognized as one of the major players in the 2K+ club/midsize venue market, we needed to step up our game production wise, and wanted our lighting spec to match the calibre of the nights we are promoting.”
He was already aware of the prestigious roster of bands who have been using the Impressions on tour as had his resident LD Paul De Villiers. However, both De Villiers and head of GLS, Ian Turner (himself a touring LD), recommended that the venue wait for the arrival of the new Impression Zoom fixture before jumping in.
The in-house lighting man was already familiar with the power of the original Impression, having seen the fixtures in use with the Simian Mobile Disco at HMV Forum back in October last year. There were 12 on the stage, mounted on scaff bars, and they just spanked everything,” he said.
The Coronet has hosted acts such as Groove Armada, The Rifles and Friendly Fires and with DJ's such as Armand van Helden upcoming, the lighting needed to be versatile. “With a back truss, and first and second dancefloor trusses it is now easy to reconfigure the fixtures and create a proper club atmosphere when we need to.”
For conventional stage work six are floor-mounted (as required), with a further two on rear poles at the back of the stage and the final four overhead on the front stage truss.
Having decided that the existing heads were ready for decommission Ian Turner proposed a combination of conventional heads and ten GLP Impression Zooms — the latter replacing the old 575W wash lights. “There is really no comparison between the brightness of these wash lights and an RZ 120 Zoom,” he says. “In fact the Zoom performs more like a 700W wash light.”
Turner also notes the importance of the fixture's rapid response from the Avolites Pearl Expert desk in a multi-function venue which hosts both club nights and live concerts. “The fast multi-colour strobing has opened up a new world for them,” he states.
Paul DeVilliers was particularly enthusiastic about the CTO balancing. “The colour mixing is unbelievable and they don't look grainy and lo-res like the usual LED's. The versatility it gives us is amazing — you can go quickly from a conventional beam to a fairly wide traditional wash — and how GLP do that I have no idea.”
For Ian Turner, the GLP Impression has also become his de facto LED moving head in his rental fleet.
“We made the decision after looking at all the competitors in some detail and checking on reliability issues. I saw the Impression Zoom at last year's PLASA Show and it is an enormous differentiator. We do a lot of corporate work and the ability to zoom so wide enables us to light cycs, create washes and the next moment fire fast moving beams into the audience.”
GLS presently have other Impressions out with Mumford & Sons and there are plans to use them at a private party in Monaco featuring Flaming Lips. “Since the venue has little in the way of power feeds and loading capacity, a fixture weighing just 8kg and drawing virtually no power provides the obvious solution.”