GLASGOW – Where does chart-topping Scottish singer-songwriter Callum Beattie draw his inspiration from? One music critic put it this way: “Throw some Springsteen, Dylan, and Oasis into the blender and you wouldn’t be far off.” That’s a pretty heady mix, but the artist from Edinburgh has more than lived up to these high expectations since bursting on the scene six years ago. Retaining all the raw, honest power that he displayed as a teenage street singer, Beattie brings a genuine sense of authenticity and power to his songs, all wrapped up with a generous serving of musicality.
All these features captivated sellout crowds on his recent winter tour of Scotland. Supporting him note-for-intense-note with some fiercely bold visuals was a power-packed light show by Steve Mccraken of Mac-Events, who programmed the show and ran it throughout the tour on his ChamSys MagicQ MQ500M Stadium Console.
Working with a kit supplied by Limelight Event Services, Mccracken busked some manual flashes, strobes, and other looks, but most of his show was cue stacked. “We kept the looks consistent from show to show to create the experience that fans expected,” he said. “Although we had to make some changes to accommodate some venues, we remained consistent overall.”
The looks that Mccracken designed seemed to be tailor-made for his client’s genuine up-from- the-streets stage presence. For example, Mccraken created some interesting effects by mixing silhouettes with wide prisms and gobos. This look was notable in the song “Don’t Walk Alone,” during an instrumental breakdown when the band is silhouetted and many of the lights are chasing. “The band appears out of the dark every second or so,” said Mccracken. “It’s a simple loom and it brings so much to this part of the show.”
Given that Beattie and his fans thrive on close contact, Mccracken arranged his fixtures to maximize the artist-audience connection. “I deliberately put my front lights low, so Callum could see the crowd a little easier,” he said. “I also had blinders on during the talking sessions.”
Mccraken, who designed the show in Capture and preprogrammed on his MQ500M, explained how his console helped him. I triggered a lot of the FX in programming off macros, so I really liked how the extra playbacks in my ChamSys helped me keep everything I needed in one space rather than having to sift through separate pages.
“I also appreciated how I could layout my desk, so I could know that the first five faders and above will be for my manual front wash, specials and so forth, whilst the next bank of five would be for my macros, then the last bank for my song stack and bump buttons.”
The extra Playbacks were also helpful to Mccraken as a programmer since they made it easier for him to train his eyes on the stage, instead of trying to follow multiple pages. “I also liked the Dual Screen for maximum layout space, so if anything did go wrong, I could catch it quickly,” he said. “This helped when changing Fader Colours.”
Thanks to the user-friendly features of his console, Mccracken was not only able to spend more time getting creative with this lighting, but he could also enjoy the show more… because, like many people in Scotland, he too is a Callam Beattie fan.