Badly Drawn Boy gained recognition with The Hour of the Bewilderbeast and created the soundtrack for the film About a Boy. Recently the group has been touring to support its newest CD, Have You Fed the Fish? For the run in small theatres and clubs, the band recreated the album graphics on a backdrop that comprises the set. Several circular screens provide space for High End Systems' Catalyst® system projection.
Badly Drawn Boy's LD David Farmer wanted to use two Catalyst systems but decided on just one for a variety of reasons. Because the group is relatively new, and because shows were in small 2,000- to 3,000-capacity venues, Farmer needed to keep costs down. To save where he could, Farmer programmed the Catalyst system himself, and persuaded a few of his colleagues into generating special video and still footage.
Says Farmer, "To make the tour work I needed to reduce the video costs by around 50%. I didn't take a video tech and I rigged the projectors with the lighting crew each day. Catalyst can be driven directly from the Wholehog console so I could manage the show alone at front-of-house and didn't need to deal with a video mixer. Saving that one crew guy made the project work and made running the show easier. There is no set list, so trying to explain to a new crew member which of the 50-odd tunes we are doing next can become fairly impossible. I often don't know myself until we are playing the intro."
PSL UK provided the Catalyst (the optional orbital mirror head was not needed) in the UK, and LSD/Fourth Phase the lighting gear. Farmer notes, "Catalyst is a dream piece of kit. It does exactly what I expected it to do and it never crashed once. I have never toured with video before so I was a bit nervous about getting the whole show together in the eight-day time frame allowed between the US and UK tours. Catalyst performed as only High End kit does. It acted just like a moving light so programming was quick, easy, and accurate."
Badly Drawn Boy's tour started out in Europe in September, hit North America in October and November, and finished 2002 in the U.K. They resumed the tour in March 2003 in Australia and Japan.