Clay Paky Alpha Beam 700 luminaries and a grandMA2 console are racking up frequent flier miles accompanying American alternative metal band Stone Sour and rockers Papa Roach on their world tour, which continues in 2013. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of Clay Paky lighting and the grandMA in North America.
Stone Sour released its fourth album, "House of Gold & Bones - Part 1," last fall and Papa Roach is hot off its eighth studio record, "The Connection." The co-headliners began their world tour in Europe and will wrap up in Denver Colorado, with Stone Sour continuing on in Australia; they're currently playing dates across the United States.
Lighting designer/programmer/operator Michael Smalley was tasked with bridging the Metal and Rock worlds with his more electronic-based style for the show. "We have a really clean stage with no backline - It's basically a big white canvas to work on with colors and gobos." he says.
Christie Lites is supplying a dozen Clay Paky Alpha Beam 700s along with a full grandMA2 console and a grandMA2 onPC command wing for the tour. The Alpha Beam 700 is the first and original 700W beam moving light on the market.
"The Alpha Beam 700s are great. They have a tight, narrow beam, a nice soft frost filter , and a great prism. Add on the color mixing and it's an extremely flexible fixture" Smalley says. "They give us an upstage washy look one song, and a new school techno approach the next song. Truly a full range fixture that is the glue of the show."
Smalley deploys the 12 Alpha Beam 700s on six towers, making up the tallest points of the ground rig. "I used them on the last tour I did with Bassnectar and fell in love with them. They're a really punchy light, especially on a large stage. I like to build dynamic, geometric looks and the Alphas proved highly capable at defining and finishing those lines. They provide the sharp lines of the look, while my washes provide the body and my spots the frosting and texture."
He runs a full grandMA2 desk with a grandMA2 onPC command wing and computer for backup, all going into NPU. "I've been using the grandMA2 for about two years," says Smalley. "It's the only console that has the flexibility I need, especially for shows where the house fixtures are changing day to day. It's loaded with useful features that make it a must have for me. I use worlds, filters and macros for most gigs, making sure that when cloning or storing information that it's clean, direct, and exactly what I want to be doing. These features make programming fast, easy, and precise. I was able to build my entire show file as well as cuestack 75% of the songs in the show in the short week of pre-programming at my home studio. I then finished the work for the show in the 2 days of on-site preproduction. A task I would have not been able to achieve without this desk."
"You used to be able to tell a designer or artist something wasn't possible with a desk, but that's not the case any more," he reports "The grandMA2 can do it all if you can think outside the box". "In addition to how effective it is on this tour, the grandMA2 is great for my gigs with Jambands and Electronic acts who require the kind of flexibility in programming and improvisation. The grandMA2 operates and runs so smoothly from programming to show operation. I feel completely comfortable and at home behind it. In the best possible situation a console is an extension of you as an artist. It's a tool and an instrument. I've yet to find anything that feels so right for me."