Manchester UK based DBN Lighting is supplying a full lighting system to one of Manchester's most exciting dance events - The Warehouse Project - which runs every weekend from the end of September to January 1st in the arches beneath Piccadilly Station.
It is DBN's fourth year working for production company Ear To The Ground with this unique pop-up nightclub, which features a fantastic DJ line up and live performances from some of the finest dance bands. This year, the lighting design has been created by dance lighting aficionado Simon Barrington, who has worked closely with DBN's project manager, Pete Robinson.
During the week, the arches are operational as a car park. The Warehouse Project crew get access to the venue at 6 p.m. on Friday night and the rig has to be ready to party for a 10 p.m. kick off! Although the majority of the lighting stays installed in the roof week-to-week, this 4 hour slot is still an intense period of activity requiring some serious co-ordination to get everything up-and-running.
It is a quirky space covering 3 arches, with the main room beneath one arch. Approximately 60 points have been installed in the roof - which offers about 5 metres of headroom - to facilitate the hanging of 7 trusses of various lengths, shaped to the curves of the arches, plus a series of scaff bars for rigging scenic elements, bar lighting, etc.
The lighting fixtures were all chosen for their small sizes and high impact. There's a total of 16 Martin Professional MAC 250 Entours, 8 Clay Paky Alpha Wash 300s and 6 CP Alpha Wash 575 moving lights - distributed across all the trusses - together with 8 Atomic strobes and 16 Studio Due Archiled wash lights which are flat and unobtrusive. In addition to the DBN kit, some i-Pix BB4 and BB7 LED fixtures also grace the rig.
The lights all get regularly moved and refocused above the dancefloor and stage depending on the line up, and whether it's a band/DJ combination, or DJ only.
Control is via a Chamsys lighting console supplied by Simon Barrington, who also runs the main room lighting most weekends and is helping to create some amazingly dynamic and colourful environments for dance enthusiasts.
The second room has a distinctly retro vibe, so DBN is supplying High End Trackspots - a quality antique dating back to the roots of the dance era and still going strong - a testament to their good maintenance! Although they are operated in this instance, Robinson comments that they are still DBN's favourite sound-to-light disco effect and ideal for gigs like this.
In addition to the Trackspots there are 2 Atomic strobes and more Archileds in Room 2, with an Avolites Pearl Tiger for control.
DBN has been working with the Warehouse project's organisers since the early 1990s' glory days of the rave scene and the heyday of the 'Madchester', when they supplied lighting and special effects for some of the wildest house parties in the area, at an eclectic assortment of warehouse venues and temporary locations around the city.
"It's refreshing and fun to still be working with people who go back to the roots of DBN, especially with everyone still coming up with new ideas and concepts to make dance environments atmospheric and interesting spaces to relax and enjoy great music," says Robinson.
Live performances at the 2009 Warehouse Project include Faithless, Simian Mobile Disco, Ronnie Size, Friendly Fires, Groove Armada, while the DJ line up features Fatboy Slim, Pete Tong, Steve Angello, Eric Prydz, Judge Jools, Sasha & John Digweed and many, many more.