Boston, Massachusetts based lighting designer Jeff Maker once again chose Robe as his main moving lights for the most recent UK and European tour for U.S. rockers All Time Low which was a teaser for their upcoming “Last Young Renegade” album release, scheduled for June 2nd.
The band combine their hi-energy, in-the-face mix of gritty pop punk rock with a relentlessly busy touring schedule and are renowned for their live performances. Europe is an ever popular destination and on this tour they played a whole range of venues encompassing academies, town halls and arenas.
Lighting was supplied by Zig Zag Lighting from Leeds, UK. Prominent on the rig were 15 Robe Spiider wash beams, part of a batch newly purchased by the rental company for this tour, together with other Robe luminaires like BMFL Spots, Pointes and CycFX 8s.
Jeff has lit All Time Low for eight years, so he wanted this design to look totally different from anything that they have done in the past, and decided that some interesting truss architecture was the way to go.
One inspiration for developing the stage environment and look was the new album. Also, eight years of experience in knowing what the band like aesthetically helped inform the initial ideas that were presented to lead singer Alex Gaskarth, who enjoys being involved in the stage design process.
Jeff sent his renderings to Alex together with a series of video links to some of the products he wanted to use.
He’d already heard through the LD grapevine … that the Spiider was an awesome light, and was very keen to use some on the tour!
Alex studied the videos and other materials and was particularly impressed with the Robe Spiider, which sold him on Jeff’s idea that these should form a central feature upstage.
Jeff then modified this centerpiece from a circular structure into a pentagon shape to give it more of an edge. It was flown and measured at 3.5 meters wide by 3.5 meters high.
Either side of this, above and below, were four 4.5 meter truss sections arranged in an X shape - two flown and two partially flown / ground supported. All of these and the pentagon were suspended from black painted truss which made it look like they were floating in mid-air.
The structural elements were completed with a triangular truss piece flown midstage with a slight rake that provided further lighting positions.
Ten Spiiders were arranged around the pentagon with five in the center, positioning them right at the core of the show. They produced high-impact beams and Jeff also made expressive use of the pixel mapping capabilities which allow ring and pattern effects, all of them used for pulling the audience into the action plus comprehensively washing the stage.
The Spiiders were utilized in all 18 songs in the set and Jeff by no means exhausted the possibilities!
Now that he’s used them for this and has realized their full live show potential, he’s also keen to do the same on future projects. “I really liked the fact that a Spiider's appearance can be made to look like five different fixtures” he commented, “I absolutely love them!”
The 18 x BMFLs were deployed as three each of the four X trusses, with the other 6 on the floor downstage left and right. “They were the workhorses of the show because they are sooooo blisteringly bright!” enthused Jeff.
Their hard edges and potent beams contrasted and complimented the Spiiders and the incredible BMFL intensity reinforced the rambunctiousness and attitude of the band’s incendiary shows.
The 16 x Pointes were all rigged on the trussing triangle and used for additional beams as well as to augment and support the BMFLs.
Six Robe CycFX 8s highlighted two vertical drops that framed the stage, printed with the instantly recognizable ‘eye’ of the ATL logo. As the main back line across the stage was open, the CycFX 8s were also able to blast through the gap, creating more depth and highlighting the trussing art!
Jeff programmed and ran the lights using an Avolites Sapphire Touch console with Titan 10.0 software.
The main design challenge was creating something that was scalable and versatile enough to be optimized in a number of different configurations to suit the varying size of rooms to ensure that Jeff could always deliver the right show. He also needed the capacity to ensure that the new album songs could have stand-out moments in the show.
Everyone was pleased with the results and reactions on this highly successful short burst of live activity which underlines a hectic year ahead!
Jeff Maker has been a lighting professional for 14 years and a touring LD for the last 11 of those … which he loves! His career started whilst at Emerson College studying TV and video in Boston when he landed a job bar backing at a local rock venue, The Paradise Rock Club. The lighting operator there wanted to train someone up to cover for when he was away ... and Jeff seized the opportunity! His mentor (Tim McKenna) then gave him the opportunity to become head LD at a club called AXIS/Avalon before landing his first tour in 2006 with The Dresden Dolls. He loves traveling and working with other like-minded individuals who are passionate about the industry and what they do. "This is my dream job!"
Photo by Louise Stickland