The multi-talented Travis Shirley, who heads Houston-based Travis Shirley Live Design, is rockin' the current leg of Buckcherry's North American tour. The California quintet, which co-headlines a four-band bill with Avenged Sevenfold, released its new album, "Black Butterfly," last year. It follows the band's 2006 RIAA platinum, Grammy-nominated (Best Hard Rock Performance) release, "15."
"Buckcherry has never had someone take control of all the production aspects of their show which is what I do," explains Shirley who acts as the band's director, lighting designer, and production designer for the tour and is known for providing a show's overall conceptual view. "When I joined the second leg of the tour I wanted to make Buckcherry's show more dynamic by introducing elements they've never used before. That meant a few learning curves, but everything has worked out really well."
One of Shirley's first tasks was to customize the somewhat generic lighting rig used for all four bands -- Buckcherry, Avenged Sevenfold, Papa Roach and Saving Abel. The rig is comprised of VARI*LITE VL2500s and Martin Mac 2K washes.
"I wanted to make the rig look like it was designed just for Buckcherry, so I got the idea to use 35 Pixeline 1044s from James Thomas Engineering," he reports. He hung some of the LED battens, which are industry-standard fixtures of this type, on the front part of the truss at different heights. "When they are turned off for the other bands they're unnoticeable. But when they are turned on for Buckcherry they help define and give depth to their show. They offer a kind of asymmetrical symmetry, which looks both random -- very angular and oblique -- yet clean. That's exactly what I wanted."
Shirley also placed some of Pixelines on the floor to backlight the amps. He hung the rest on a series of different size custom T-pipes along with 10 additional VL2500s behind curtain backdrops. There they accent a 17x33-foot Element Labs' Stealth video wall, another first for Buckcherry.
"The Pixelines are sort of an outside-the-box approach that I'm very satisfied with," he reports.
The Stealth wall displays content from Daddy Van Productions, which illustrates some sets. It also displays IMAG from a six-camera switcher package, which Shirley controls from Front of House. "The POV cameras give a dramatic look to the band which I enhance with multiple layers and effects so the visuals flare and pixellate," he says.
Shirley deploys a pair of grandMA consoles to control the lights and Green Hippo Hippotizer Media Servers for image playback. Bandit furnished the consoles and lighting gear. John Wiseman of Chaos Visual supplied the POV cameras and Stealth wall.
Shirley performed the show's preprogramming and preproduction in Salt Lake City before the second leg of the tour commenced in that city. The four-band tour is slated to play dates in the Southwest, Northwest and Midwest. 10th Street Entertainment manages Buckcherry.