NASHVILLE — Four of the hottest alt rock bands in the world – led by chart-topping Cage The Elephant – are currently breathing spring life into arenas around America with the 2016 Spring Fling Tour.
And right there with them is Premier Global Production which has been tasked with providing the tour the budget-friendly lighting system envisioned by Bigtime Lighting Design’s founder and president, Eric Cathcart, in collaboration with Michael Grant.
“We needed to keep costs down, but wanted to give the show a bigger look than just the ‘three-stick lighting rig” that management asked for,” explains Cathcart. “We did that, but we snapped the trusses in half and ran them up and down stage.”
The six-finger design has indeed given Cage The Elephant, Silversun Pickups, Foals, and Bear Hands a big time look for the college basketball arenas the tour is playing in. The rig features Martin Viper AirFxs, Martin LED Atomic 3000s, GLP Impression X4s, Clay Paky Sharpies and Tourpro Aquabeams.
Cathcart – whose credits also include The Black Keys, Garbage and LCD Soundsystem — says PGP’s brand new Martin Viper AirFxs give the design its strength and diversity, allowing all four bands to have their own looks from the raked trusses in the air.
“The Martin Mac Viper Air FX are the work horses of the rig. We chose them after having used them in the past and being impressed with the versatility of the beam that they create,” says the Kansas City based designer. “The Atomic 3000 LEDs have become a fun fixture to play with in the rig as well.”
The headliner for Q Prime Management’s Spring Fling package is Cage The Elephant, whose breakthrough album Tell Me I’m Pretty has catapulted the Bowling Green, KY quartet from theatres to arenas. To give Cage its own look, Cathcart put on his conventional cap and mixed it up with Pan 750s, Par 64s, Martin Mac Auras and KR25s. Most of the floor fixtures reside in three large steel cages. Set off by a brilliant and deep blue Austrian drape upstage, the overall effect gives Cage a vintage look to match their 1960s-tinged pop hooks.
“The current floor package is a conglomeration of the different elements that will be used for their upcoming headlining tour condensed into three rolling carts that are easy on, easy off,” explains Cathcart, alluding to Cage’s upcoming summer arena run with Portugal. The Man.
Cathcart — and his longtime collaborator Grant, lighting director for the Black Keys and The Arcs — oversaw the lighting system’s prep while programming the show at Premier Global’s new Nashville headquarters, which includes a spacious pre-visualization suite and 10,000 square foot rehearsal room just 20 minutes north of downtown. The rig was rung out in the rehearsal room while Cathcart and Grant punched programming buttons in the pre-viz suite.
“After spending nearly a week in the pre-viz room walking across the building and loading the show file into the desk attached to the actual rig flying in the rehearsal space was great,” Cathcart says. “Modern pre-viz software is fantastic, but there is nothing like seeing the real thing.”
Cathcart also had kind words for the way PGP has laid out its new headquarters and pre-viz suite, which features 220 power for moving light fixtures.
“Not only was the pre-viz room comfortable and accommodating the full size conference table allowed us to spread out with our computers and monitors and work on the other details that needed to be ironed out the week we were there,” he explains. “We were also able to bring in actual fixtures to see what they were doing in real life, which is great for using built in macros and other features that just don’t work with pre-viz software. The new facility in general is fantastic. Having a climate-controlled warehouse is nearly unheard of. Thanks to the Tennessee spring, it was both heated and cooled in the week that I was there. The overall vibe is very cool and hip, I love the stained concrete floors!”
Cathcart says is he is looking forward to working the PGP on the summer Cage The Elephant tour and other projects in the future.
“I have been working with PGP for the last five or so years, sometimes a project will take me somewhere else, but when the projects lead me back I am always made to feel like I am at home.”
Premier Global Production is a world-class Nashville-based lighting company, whose clients include Metallica, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Florence and the Machine, Josh Groban, Tim McGraw, Brett Eldredge and Lee Brice.