West London based Entec Sound & Light celebrated 25 years of supplying lighting to cult Gothic rockers, The Mission, a remarkable achievement, and an anniversary also shared by Entec's own Adam Stevenson, who has worked both with Entec and - on and off - the band for a quarter of a century!
An incendiary gig at Brixton Academy, The Mission XXV- sold out months in advance - saw the Mission back in their original line up - all apart from the drummer, and this was followed by a club tour around Europe.
Stevenson was asked by lead singer Wayne Hussey & manager George Allen to design a special show for Brixton, and leapt at the opportunity. "It was a real honour - the band have been such an important part of my life and I still think of them as friends and family first and employers second after all these years". He was also the only original crew member to clock the 25 year mark!
He was initiated into the crazy world of The Mission at Camden Electric Ballroom in February 1986. Phil Wiffin was the band's LD at the time, and Stevenson has worked for them in various guises ever since - from designing and operating some tours and shows to being 4th person on Wiffin's crew .... but whatever the role, there has always been a strong Mission connection.
For the 2011 Brixton show, the band wanted a real retro look with lots of PAR cans and ACLs utilised to replicate that vintage feel.
Stevenson decided to revisit - and reinvent - their famous stage set consisting of imposing upstage three trussing arches, which characterised the first generation Mission live shows back in the late 1980s.
As it happened, ensconced in the heritage section of Entec's warehouse, were the curved metal elements of that very same stage set. So these were resurrected, revamped and had modern trussing added as the straight sections of the three arches - Pre-rigged for the centre one, and lengths of 12 inch truss to the smaller left and right ones. Job done.
"I knew that there would be many die-hard original Mission fans in the audience," says Stevenson, "And I really wanted to give them something visually relevant in a historical context, so the arches were a perfect solution!"
The arches were positioned behind the backline, covered by a tab track and revealed three songs into the set, which steamed through their greatest hits with great gusto. The two small arches were each rigged with four bars of PAR 36 ACLs and the central arch featured four bars of PAR 64 ACLs, 4 bars of 6 Par 64 plus two Source Four profiles for silhouetting. The large arch also contained two integral Martin Professional Atomic strobes with one ensconced in each of the side arches. The band had specially remade by Hangman Drapes the original Arch shaped back drop, for the Brixton show, which fitted into the central arch. Thankfully Hangman still had on archive the original artwork from 1986.
For Brixton there was a front and back truss additional to the original floor based system. For this one the back truss was flown a metre and a half downstage of the arches effectively making it a mid truss. On the front truss were three bars of 6 PARs, eight Source Fours, four 2-lite Moles and three VARI*LITE VL2500 Spot moving lights.
The back/mid truss featured six bars of 6 PARs, six V*L2500 Spots, 6 bars of 4 Par 64 ACLs, seven Source Four profiles and four 2-lite Moles.
On the floor, at the base of the two smaller arches was a V*L 3000 Spot. At the front downstage corners both sides of the stage was an upright vertical truss section, rigged with two bars of 6 and an Atomic on the top - and these were part of the original rig for venues with no space for a front truss.
Also on the deck behind the backline were four custom made 1980s Par 64 4-lite units, which Entec had originally fabricated for a Sade tour. These were dusted off, restored and fitted with PAR 64 ACL bulbs, two were positioned on the floor and two higher up on stands just offstage of the arches .. used for big, ballsy blocks of light.
Historically renowned for their propensity for smoke filled stage environments, atmospherics came in the form of two smoke machines and one hazer - a dramatic reduction from the amount needed 25 years ago, and testament to technical advances and the increased efficiency of modern smoke generating devices.
Stevenson controlled all the generic lights for the Brixton show using an Avolites Sapphire 2004 console - another quality antique still going strong after many years - while Mark Wood took care of all the moving lights using a Chamsys MagicQ.
Entec's crew were Sudip Shrestha, Sven Jolly and Leo Tierney, while Andy Emmerson joined the team to assist with programming as time was extremely tight.
Sound was supplied by BCS Audio.
The show looked dramatic and Goth-tastic as you would expect, which went down a storm with the crowds. Stevenson concludes, "It was a very enjoyable show to work on and great to see everyone again and know that they still have the energy to rock as solidly and loudly as ever 25 years on. I couldn't have been happier with the result. The Arch reveal looked amazing and was greeted with rapturous applause from the crowd. Thanks to a fantastic team who helped me make it happen".
For more press info on Entec, please call Louise Stickland on +44 (0)1865 202679/+44 (0)7831 329888 or Email [email protected]'. To contact Entec direct, call +44 (0)20 8842 4004 or check www.entec-soundandlight.com.
Photo credit :
Wayne – Neil Chapman