Fast rising country star Justin Moore set a real challenge on his recent US tour, with venues ranging from state/county fairs up to 20,000-seat arena shows.
For production designer Sooner Routhier (of SRae Productions) and touring lighting director Aaron Luke it was a case of developing easily portable, truckable and scalable scenography that was quick to rig and derig.
Sooner also lights stages for Motley Crue to Bon Jovi and it was on a previous tour with the latter that she started using GLP’s popular impression X4 heads, quickly sensing the speed of the fixture and the number of beam shapes that could be achieved using the pixel patterns. “I needed a good wash light to generate effects that would give each song a different look — and GLP impressions seemed to be the perfect fit.”
And so she approached long-term vendor SES from North Carolina for a similar solution when the Nashville artist’s tour came around.
Working with production manager, Art Switzer, Sooner sensed the importance of being able to move gear on and off stage quickly as part of a scalable set, and the compact nature of the impression X4 fit that parameter perfectly.
“Justin has a pretty rustic vibe mixed with rock and roll and a whole lot of old school country. I attempted to represent this with distressed barn board backing some custom set carts and some banners with distressed metal texture and his rooster logo. I needed a light that was small enough to jam a ton of them into the carts and the X4 was perfect.”
The 32 GLP fixtures, configured in two rows within the carts, are part of an inventory of 56 GLP fixtures, under the control of lighting director, Aaron Luke. “In the air, we hang six wire rope ‘ladders’, with three fixtures per ladder. The final six X4s are dedicated to lighting softgood banners,” he explains.
The X4 represents a huge part of the show. “I’m pretty sure we use every feature of the light. The zoom range and the macros are invaluable and I’m really impressed with their output. Sooner created some really cool looks that just wouldn’t be the same without the macros of the light.”
And the designer herself says, “The size and the pixel patterns are the outstanding features. We created a wall of light with the X4 and I just couldn’t have done that with a traditional wash light.”
Luke has likewise built familiarity with GLP’s evolving platform since the early days. “But the first time I used the X4 I was blown away with how far they had come. It is a great wash light that packs a real punch, yet has the effects to give the show a unique look.”
SES has been involved since Justin Moore first began carrying production. “They have been extremely helpful in all aspects of the production and are fully capable of providing virtually any kind of fixtures we spec,” says Sooner. “They were instrumental in making the production for Justin exactly what it needed to be – a direct support/headliner package that packs a punch.”
And the ability of the X4 to withstand the rigors of the road is emphasized by Aaron. “They hold up well, particularly as we don’t travel them in road cases. They now ride in the truck pre-rigged to the carts and ladders. On the rare occasion we have needed them both SES and GLP have been really great in providing rapid support — which is great for me, since I don’t have time to be teching lights every day.”
Finally, the sheer economy (of weight, size and power draw) is a huge plus factor. “We definitely play venues where power is limited and I get some nervous looks at times when people see 122 fixtures. Then I tell them that I’m under 100A, and they sigh in relief. Also, our entire production travels in one semi-trailer, so space is very tight. Trying to cram 56 larger-format wash lights along with our band gear, consoles, set, and risers into a 53’ trailer would be nearly impossible.”
Aaron Luke is now eager to try out GLP’s new X4 Bar. “I love the optics of the X4 moving heads, so to have that in a batten-style fixture, with both motorized tilt and zoom would be very powerful”.