RÜFÜS DU SOL
by Cat Strom.
Photos – Derek Rickert
RÜFÜS DU SOL’s years of intensive touring has helped pave the way for the Solace live show, crafted through years of varied live experience for the band.
Sydney three-piece band RÜFÜS DU SOL are back on the road in Australia with their ‘Solace’ tour which follows their rigorous two-years touring the world. April will see them perform at the legendary Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival for the second time.
This tour started in the US last October with show designer Matt Smith of Colourblind adapting the rig for the local tour. The band wanted some kind of video LED structure built around them and an encompassing set piece that would be instantly recognisable as a RÜFÜS DU SOL show.
An enveloping back wall of 120 Martin Sceptron, comprising four sections of thirty units was designed to cast the band into silhouettes. They also wanted higher risers and Matt had the idea to use clear acrylic which flowed through to custom clear keyboard stands and drum kit resulting in a very clean stage.
“In the US we had 20 GLP impression X4 Bars underneath the clear acrylic top risers which looked amazing, but I was finding that it was a bit of a waste of those fixtures,” explained Matt. “So we’ve replaced them with more generic LED fixtures which illuminate the band from below and still give us a bit of pixel control. Plus we’ve added five extra JDC-1 under the risers and it’s definitely an improvement on the first run.”
The clean and streamlined stage design is echoed in the lighting design which is quite simple; it’s essentially long rows of fixtures of limited type. Matt was adamant that he didn’t want any beams, in fact his personal goal for the year is not to have any Sharpys or Blinders on any of his shows!
The X4 Bar 20s are now in the roof from where they mirror the angles of the Sceptron structure. Matt comments that he loves this fixture and he puts them on everything he designs. The rig also had 15 JDC-1 and those two sets of fixtures are really the basis of the show. Both are running in their full modes so there is individual control of the RGB cells as well as the strobe pixels.
Five JDC-1 are in front of the risers on the floor, five behind the band and five on the upstage truss.
“There are two particular moments in the show where we have mimicked programming on the JDC-1s with the Sceptron and the X4 Bar 20s resulting in huge looks,” added Matt.
“One disorientating look involves video content running through the Sceptron that gives the feeling of spinning. Adding to that, the video wall runs similar content, plus the spinning effect in the pixels in both the JDC-1s and X4 Bar 20s looks amazing.
“We’re touring one of Colourblind’s Green Hippo Hippotizer Racks – in particular using a feature called Colour Blocks. Basically as well as running video content through the Sceptron, we’ve setup each length of Sceptron to appear as an RGB DMX fixture in the console. This allows us to run solid colour though each piece, or effects, or video, or both!
“We do that quite a bit, especially for the points in the show where we want to light-up the entire stage in one solid colour. Alternatively, we can activate a certain section of Sceptron to highlight a certain band member, while running video on the rest.”
The back video screen was Roe 5mm at 14m x 3.6m, giving a wide ratio aspect to match the width of the Sceptron structure.
“There are definitely a few points in the show where we like that layered look, occasionally you can’t really tell what’s Sceptron and what’s the LED screen,” added Matt. “On this leg of the tour we have a fair amount of new video content from three sources; a company out of LA called Electronic Counter Measures, Tim Lovett from Melbourne, and Nic George.”
The three GLP X4 washes provide key light, with three more on the upstage truss for backlight and four more stage left and right supplied side light. “It is always good having a rig of the same LED chips so your colours match really nicely” Matt noted.
“I also have 12 Martin MAC Vipers, six on the floor behind the Sceptron and six in the overhead truss, although in the US I used Robe Megapointes,” explained Matt. “Although I love the Megapointes, I just keep going back to the MAC Viper as they’re the best workhorse fixture and the gobos are really good. I always miss the tracking of focus to the zoom when I use other profile fixtures.”
For control Matt ran an MA Lighting MA2 light with an MA2 full-size as backup. “For a show that is 90% timecode, I don’t need all of those faders or that extra screen,” commented Matt on using the MA2 light as the main console.
“Programming this show was intensive, Brad Salt and I have been working on it for the past six months and when we did this slight redesign, we only spent a week in the Colourblind pre-viz suite. The band also came in for a few days which was awesome.”
Two days of full production rehearsals followed in Margaret Court Arena before the first show in Melbourne at Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
Brownnote Productions in the US supplied the Sceptrons for the entire world tour with the rest of the lighting and video supplied by Novatech for the Australian tour.
Show Designer and Programmer: Matthew Smith (Colourblind)
Associate Show Designer and Programmer: Brad Salt, (Colourblind)
Production Manager: Jonathan Nelson
Sceptron: Bronwnnote Productions, Inc.
Lighting and Video Vendor: James Sacca (Novatech)
LX & Video Techs: Nathaniel Collins, David Murdoch, Jordan Scheer (Novatech).
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