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alt-J Worldwide Tour

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Roadskills

alt-J Worldwide Tour

alt-j took to a stage lit with Sceptrons that segregated the performers and dazzled the eye.

By Cat Strom / Photos: David Youdell

Three years of worldwide touring have forged alt-J’s reputation as a fierce live act. alt-J have headlined festivals across the globe, including Australia’s very own Falls Music and Arts Festival, and on their last international tour, alt-J sold out the London’s iconic O2 Arena and New York’s legendary Madison Square Garden.

The trio are one of British music’s most intriguing success stories with their music a signature blend of layered, folk-inflected dub-pop and soaring alternative rock. The name derives from the combination of keys that results in a delta sign (∆) on Mac computers.

Their recent Australian tour was a continuation of the world tour design by Jeremy Lechterman and Jackson Gallagher, with Jeremy commenting that the band isn’t terribly involved in the production design.

“It’s mostly Jackson and I along with Tav, their manager,” he said. “We had free reign to develop the show together, reacting instinctually to the music. The band prefers to be in shadow, so isolating them and anonymizing them was the starting point.

“Our goal was to create an immersive visual experience which reacted sympathetically and organically to the music.”

Key to the lighting design were the Martin VDO Sceptron 10 linear LED video fixtures used with no diffuser. They were used to isolate the band members from each other in a series of “blinds” on the floor, arranged in a forced perspective array to mimic the rest of the shape of true design. The result is a “3D” video surface which is mapped as such in d3. A similar array is mounted in the roof making it a 6.5m tall structure in total.

Back lighting consisted of Claypaky Mythos mounted in dollies and some Robe BMFL WashBeams as cannons from the back. There was no front lighting – only side, top, and foot for key light.

In the roof Jeremy usually had more Mythos, but in Australia MPH supplied BMFL, which he described as perfectly acceptable. The roof system is sort of a mirror of the floor; the design is very symmetric.

Video elements included an upstage horseshoe of a ROE MC-18 screens supplied by Big Picture, and close to 300 Sceptron creating the vertical array of LED strips.

Jeremy ran control with an MA Lighting MA2 whilst d3 and Notch controlled video and pixel mapping, all driven through SockPuppet on the MAs.

“The Australia tour was great,” commented Jeremy. “MPH pulled it off, along with our touring crew chief Marc Callaghan of Liteup UK, despite some pretty hefty odds given the season.” In summary, everything about alt-J says unique, from their cryptic name to their seamless layering of multi musical genres to their incredible production design.

 
This article first appeared in the print edition of CX Magazine February 2018, pp.63-64. CX Magazine is Australia and New Zealand’s only publication dedicated to entertainment technology news and issues. Read all editions for free or search our archive www.cxnetwork.com.au
Photos: David Youdell. All text and photos © CX Media

Read more Roadskills from February’s CX Magazine:
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