HSL supplied lighting production and crew to LD Liz Berry for the recent Super Furry Animals UK tour.
Berry was started working with the band over the summer, leading up to the release of their eighth album, Hey Venus. Changing graphic designers for the first time in 10 years for the album artwork, they tracked down cult Japanese artist Keiichi Tanaami, also known as one of the first people to experiment with LSD in Japan, and asked him to design their record cover.
This album cover became Berry’s starting point for the light show aesthetics. Colorful and quirky, the base layer of artwork featured a lighthouse complete with five shafts of light beaming out brightly and positively from it.
Berry had a set of scenic cloth “rays” made up by Back2Front which were taken to the UK music festivals. This concept was then developed for the tour when Prompt Corner added light-proof backing material to the back of the rays and mounted them on a white backcloth.
“HSL is a fabulous company—really hard working and a pleasure to be on the road with,” says Berry. The project was managed for HSL by Mike Oates, who adds, “Liz is one of the most imaginative and creative LD’s out there, and it’s great to be involved with Super Furry Animals this time around.”
The rig was based on a back truss with two side towers. Six Robe ColorSpot 575E ATs were positioned along the back, joined by four Robe ColorSpot 575E ATs, one each per side on the front towers, and two on the floor. It was a small lighting rig that Berry used thoughtfully and judiciously, maximizing all instruments.
Generic lighting included four four-lite blinders for FOH audience illumination. Five Source Four PARs were rigged onto a piece of vertical trussing at the back of a large lighthouse “flat” in the center of the backdrop, tightly focussed to light the rays. On top of this same piece of trussing was one of two original TCPLB1 “Pan Can” moving mirrors, attached to a PAR 64 lamp.
The front towers also featured two bars of six PARs—one per side, for some cross-stage washing, complete with four two-lites per side for audience blinding.
Twelve iPix Satellite LED “bricks” were dotted all along the back truss and down the side towers.
Part of Berry’s brief from the band was that the lighting should mimic the carnival-esque, fun, funky feel of the music and party vibes, being a bit ravey and a bit rock following the flow of the set each night.
The set was split into two halves. During the second, Berry also wanted to create a complete atmosphere change, involving the audience more.
She decided on the slightly unconventional option of a FOH tower of lights—mimicking the lighthouse idea—and based on a three-meter (32-foot) section of Lite Beam truss fitted onto a specially made floor mounting base fabricated by HSL.
This was loaded up with another 12 iPix Satellite fixtures, together with the other Pan Can, which whizzed the beam of the PAR light around the room yielding some authentically “lighthouse” looks and effects. HSL commissioned specialist engineering company A R Parkes to complete the modifications needed to make these DMX compatible..
Berry limited herself to the spare 16 Amps of power coming down the multi-core to power her FOH tower, so the Satellites were a particularly good choice—low power, lightweight, high brightness, and great impact.
She operated the show using an Avolites Pearl Expert.
HSL’s crew were Pete Barber and Niall Hannell, and Berry concludes, “HSL have been great! They really looked after me, the gear is in excellent condition and the crew are fabulous—what more can I ask for?”