Astera AX1s Assist Muse Simulation Theory

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Twenty-four Astera AX1 LED battery powered wireless ‘pixel tubes’ played their part onstage with rock band Muse during their action-packed “Simulation Theory” world tour, which has just played its final show in Chile, having been on the road since February.

The AX1s were used in just one song – ‘Algorithm’ – for maximum impact. They were placed in custom angled holders on the sides of a long runway / thrust during the blackout, and at the start of the song formed 12 illuminated pillars of light behind lead singer / guitarist Matt Bellamy, who was playing keyboards on the B stage right in the centre of the venue.

The tubes were then picked up by a troupe of Ninja performers who used them in staff-style to make geometric formations and accentuate their distinctive robotic movements as they moved along the walkway and across the stage.

Two conjoined AX1s each made up one staff and there were 12 Ninjas at the largest shows. The tour played a mix of stadiums and arenas.

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Creative director Jesse Lee Stout of Metaform Studio wanted to use the lighting fixtures.

His original ‘simulation theory universe’ setting for the show was a concept inspired by 1980s and 90s sci-fi movies and spacey themes, which was developed into a dynamic ‘Cyber Noir’ environment for the band, where lighting – designed by Sooner Routhier – was very much a character in the plot.

Whilst researching pop culture, action movies and the 1980s in particular, Jesse was conscious of a fascination that decade had with martial arts – Karate Kid, Big Trouble in Little China, etc., which permeated the genre and also influenced future cult movies like GI Joe: The Rise of COBRA, Double Dragon, etc … so he wanted some Ninjas in the performance!

Being a Cyber Noir show, he needed the Ninjas to have an illuminated tool / weapon for strategic moments and thought that AX1s – used in staff style – would be a perfect solution.

He’d encountered AX1s before whilst working on a pop show in China, although the context was very different, and also knew that they were commonly found on film shoots, commenting that a combination of the light weight, rugged casing and wireless capabilities make them “easy to use” on or in any location.

He likes everything about the Astera pixel tubes – DMX control, battery powered wireless operation and easy programmability.

For the tour, they were controlled via the grandMA full size lighting console running all the stage lighting that was operated by lighting director / operator on the road, Aaron Luke, and were supplied by worldwide lighting contractor Upstaging who sourced them especially for the tour.

Photos: Louise Stickland

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