Denver-based lighting designer and programmer Andrew Cass has been a fan of the famously multi genre blues-rock-jam band String Cheese Incident (SCI) from Colorado since his schooldays. In April 2014, he was lucky enough to land himself in the hot-seat of designing their lighting – a long term dream job he absolutely loves!
String Cheese are known for their intricate compositions, spectacular live shows and great connection
s with their audience … all parameters giving Andrew plenty of opportunity to focus on lighting for a client that appreciates his vision and gives him the creative freedom to do what he thinks will look best.
On the new design for this latest fall tour, he decided to use 18 x Robe BMFL Spots, which were supplied by lighting vendor, Upstaging.
The tour ran for three weeks around the U.S., concluding at the Suwannee Hulaween experience at Live Oak Music Park in Florida, and will continue through the New Year. “I plan to use the BMFL as my main spot from here on,” stated Andrew enthusiastically.
Ahead of the tour he looked at all of the venues on the itinerary and the available truck space before making his fixture choices. His drawings started with the largest room on the list, and from this info, he constructed a rig that could be scaled and adapted to fit all the others without compromising the overall look of the show.
It was the first time he’s specified BMFLs, a decision based on the recommendation of several LD friends and colleagues who “reckoned they were great!” By the time he first saw the rig, despite a level of confidence and his already substantial expectations for the BMFLs, he admits he was still blown away by the “Sheer clarity of the optics!”
Six BMFL Spots on the front truss were used as downstage washes to cover ‘all bases’ and the others were deployed, six each, on the mid and upstage trusses. They were used extensively throughout the set for all sorts of things – washes, profiles, specials, projection effects, etc.
With LED screens, surfaces and scenic elements getting brighter by the day, Andrew has been looking for a mega bright fixture for some time that could hold its own against these sources … and the BMFL certainly does!
In addition to the brightness and the optics, other things impressing him were the gobos, animation wheels, the variety of effects that can be created, the massive zoom and the flat beam field throughout the entire zoom path.
“The animation wheel is cool for in-air and on-surfaces projections” and the way it tapers in to the middle is way better than most fixtures.
The BMFLs and other lights were all controlled via a grandMA2 console, and a number of Saber video strips were also integral to the design and fed with content from an MA VPU.
With the music encompassing anything from Bluegrass to full-on banging EDM, the lighting always has to be dynamic, highly flexible and prepared for anything! The biggest challenge for each show was balancing everything visually within the different room sizes and performance spaces, and ensuring that no one element – lighting or LED – dominated.
The crew from Upstaging were Jason Blaylock and Robin Sheridan and Andrew’s design associate with whom he worked closely, was Cassidy Miller-Halloran.
These were the only Robe products on the tour, but Andrew also loves Pointes and the little LEDBeam 100s.
“Robe has really cemented its foundations as an industry leader with the BMFL range and fixtures like the Pointe,” he concluded.
Photos by Dave Vann