High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire based lighting rental company Siyan supplied equipment and crew to the first UK leg of Indie rockers The Courteeners ‘ANNA’ tour working with Lighting Designer Dan Hill.
The tour incorporated a string of sold out Academy and Student Union venues culminating at Brixton Academy as ‘The Big London Show’ and was the band’s first proper production tour on this scale.
Siyan’s Project Manager Jez Johnstone says, “This is the first time we’ve worked with Dan on a full tour and it’s been a pleasure. He knows exactly what he wants to see and is proactive and flexible when it comes to making things work during the prep stages. In terms of the show - the design is solid, his programming is tight and his timing is spot on! I’m looking forward to the next one!”
Hill has designed The Courteeners lighting for three years, and he worked closely with lead singer Liam Fray on the overall aesthetic for the live show.
Previous designs have tended to be tungsten based and embracing a large, epic theatrical look using lots of fresnels and sumptuous swooshes of red velvet drapes, etc.
The brief for this album campaign was to modernise the onstage image whilst keeping an edge and a sense of grandness.
A neon ‘ANNA’ sign was built and flown upstage, and Hill integrated a number of different sized mirror balls in the design to reinforce the classic stage presentation element.
The touring package supplied by Siyan comprised three upstage trussing pods, each one made up of four Jarag fixtures, in 2x2 configuration and five Robe ROBIN 600 LEDWashes moving lights – three fixed above the Jarag 2x2 and two below.
These fixtures were built and travelled on bespoke brackets devised by Siyan that enabled the fixtures to be quickly and easily deployed during the get ins … and removed for the outs.
Three additional ROBIN 600 LEDWashes were attached to the upstage truss above the neon sign, to light the drapage and the neon sign.
Six Robe ROBIN MMX Spots sat on the floor at the back pointing forwards for beam and aerial effects, on which Hill comments, “A great fixture with plenty of punch for the venues we played and some excellent gobo effects”.
The rig was upscaled for the larger shows, moving to five pods and a complimentary ‘in air’ rig of 10 additional MMX Spots and another ten LEDWash 600s.
The use of Jarags has its origins in previous tour designs where he has used multiple linear 4-lite blinders to create big tungsten looks. However Jarags grouped as 2x2s proved a far more efficient and user-friendly package for this type of effect.
The band were also very keen to keep an element of tungsten which tied in well with the design, and in combination with the LEDWash 600s, also satisfied the desire to ‘modernise’ the lighting concept.
Hill used the LEDWashes as solid overall stage washes adding colour and dynamics, and also made the most of their individual LED ring control, which brought a different energy to the stage.
Guitar player Conansuffers from photosensitive epilepsy (PSE) so Hill also found that he could use these additional LEDWash effects features to bring a complete visual change to the performance space without resorting to intense strobing or dimmer effects.
The stark neon sign against the textured black back drape combined beautifully to make a simple and eye-catching overall backdrop to the shows.
Hill controlled all the lighting via one of Siyan’s Chamsys MagicQ 100 consoles and a playback wing, and sections of the show were pre-programmed using Martin’s MSD 5 visualiser.
One overall challenge was devising a lighting scheme that would work equally well in all venues, from the smaller Student Unions right through to Brixton Academy, and also beyond this in a similar fashion for the upcoming festival season. The scalability of the finished design added this real continuity.
For the larger shows, Siyan also provided some spectacular tungsten festoon-bulb chandeliers which completely changed the atmosphere, shape and definition of the stage.
Siyan’s technician Phil ‘Pip’ Shaw worked with Dan Hill on the three week UK tour.
Hill concludes, “I was really happy with Siyan – right from the attention paid to detail with the custom fabrications through the tour to the support in scaling the show up and down – the service has been excellent throughout. I hope to be doing a lot more work with them in the future”.