UK rock band Skindred are known for their lively and energetic live performances as well as their music which is an eclectic fusion of heavy metal, punk rock, hip-hop, electronica and reggae... and so the pressure is always on lighting designer Jordon Cooper to come up with a few surprises and touches of the unexpected.
This design for the current “Volume” tour is diverse, different and practical to stage in different sized venues. It was also one of the first to feature Robe’s new LED ColorStrobe, together with several other Robe fixtures including MMX Spots LEDWash 600s and CycFX8s and 4s.
Jordon, one of a new wave of UK LDs designing for a series of rising star artists - has lit the band for two years.
The design for the latest leg of the tour – which culminated in an amazing hi-energy performance at London’s Brixton Academy – started with the set and backdrop. The band wanted something that was scale-able but retained a BIG look, so Jordon and guitarist Mikey Demus worked on some initial ideas.
One vision in Jordon’s head was to have the band playing in front of a reggae sound system speaker stack, tying in with their desire for a clean and distinctive look to the stage, so from there, the combination of the Skindred speaker scrims and back-cloth emerged, adding as they did to the overall perception of depth on stage.
Once everyone was happy with the stage design, Jordon started on the lighting. He wanted to keep sight-lines clean and uninhibited – so the eye was naturally drawn to the scrims. He had to make the most out of the stage space, but didn’t ‘just’ want to up-light the scrims … so instead chose to wash the scenic cloths more generally with light and colour using 12 x LEDWash 600s which were also effective backlight for the band.
Another four LEDWash 600s – two each side of the stage were used to side and cross light the band. He likes the ring control on these fixtures as well as the zoom, which makes it an extremely adaptable unit.
On top of each scrim he added eight LEDBeam 100s, a bit of a “no-brainer” when looking for a small, bright fixture that is light enough to sit on top of the scrim frames.
Jordon ran all the lights using an Avo Tiger Touch Pro.
For the Brixton show, there were several extras including Robe’s new LED ColorStrobe, two of which were positioned on the floor. Jordon was impressed with these, “Crazy bright” he stated, and he also thinks there are plenty of interesting effects, and “It was great as a flood and to simply throw colour into the space” as well as for conventional strobe effects!
Also at Brixton, a V-shaped truss was flown over the stage – to match the ‘V’ of the album “Volume” - which was rigged with 12 x MMX Spots, another eight LEDWashes, strobes and truss toners, plus a front truss with another six LEDWash 600s two CycFX 8s and four CycFX 4s.
All this and the touring package was supplied by Buckinghamshire based rental company, Siyan.
Jordon enjoys the challenges of lighting Skindred and comments, “Much of the time they are equally excited as me as to what we can achieve with the show”.
Jordon is based on the south coast and has been touring for about four years after cutting his teeth as a lighting technician in a number of venues. He’s also studied at Bournemouth & Poole College and Rose Bruford in Kent.
He’s been using Robe products in his work with increasing frequency in the last two years, primarily after a factory visit to Valmez, which gave him a chance to experience Robe’s busy production facility first hand and see the product design process in action.
“The support and the way the company works - especially taking such an interest in the people who are using their products and how they’re using them - is impressive,” he rounds off.