Robe in The Hot Seat

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Hot Chip – right up there amidst the coolest contemporary UK electro-pop bands - have been using Robe moving lights on the latest UK leg of their 2008 "Made In The Dark" world tour.

These were specified by LD Neil Carson who has been working with the band all year, and were supplied by Southampton-based lighting contractors, GLS.

Carson has used Robe - along with various other moving lights - on many previous projects. However, Hot Chip is his first major work as a touring LD, which he is thoroughly enjoying, following inauguration into the creative hot seat by leading UK LD Tom Lesh, whom he describes as his "mentor".

Having worked extensively with the Robe fixtures as a technician, Carson already had valuable insights into their capabilities and how they could be used best.

"I knew from my own experience that the Robe units are very reliable" he comments, "And that's exactly what you need on a tour like this with a very full itinerary and just two of us (himself and tech Andy Mellany) working on the rig".

He had a virtually open brief to imagineer the show after the band gave a few fundamental pointers, the main one being that they didn't want a classic dance band look or any video or LED onstage.

The design has been modified throughout the year as the venues and levels of production support has changed, and this autumn leg of the tour was the first one to feature a full production.

Their main rig comprised front and back truss (with 4 raked truss ‘spines' added for the Brixton shows), with two 13ft high vertical towers upstage.

On the floor were 6 Robe ColorSpot 700E ATs, 4 mounted on flightcases in an arc around the back of the stage, used for aerial effects, and 2 in the downstage boom positions for punchy cross lighting at the front.

Each band member was close-lit by 2 CK ColorBlast 12s, and 8 2-cell blinders were deployed, 3 on each tower, plus 2 on stands onstage.

On the rear truss were 6 Robe ColorSpot 700E ATs, along with 3 strobes and four 4-cell Moles, with another 6 ColorSpot 700E ATs clamped to a series of different length drop pipes.

A single ColorWash was rigged on the front truss, utilized specifically to light the backdrop, joined by 8 Source Fours for key lighting and another 2 strobes.

He likes the quick colour mixing and "great gobo selection" of the 700 Series, plus the very smooth pan and tilt.

The band were adamant about not wanting any ‘busy' or messy colour combinations during the show, so he keeps to single colour or duo tone looks – neatly embracing the ‘less is more' principle with great effect - for a whole section of the show.

He also does a lot of slow movements with the Robes in white, along with subtle colour fades and some tightly irised - down band pick ups, making full use of the flexibility offered.

He ran the show from a Chamsys MQ200 Pro desk.

Other Brixton Academy extras included an additional 12 Robe ColorSpot 700s.

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