Manchester, UK based lighting company DBN has completed the installation of the house lighting rig at the iconic Manchester live music venue, Band On The Wall.
The landmark 300-capacity venue on 25 Swan Street in the Northern Quarter of the city centre dates back some 200 years and has been associated with live music for much of its rich cultural heritage. The name comes from the 1930's when musicians used to perform standing on precarious platforms strapped to the wall!
It has been completely renovated, restored and just reopened by operators Inner City Music with the help of a £4 million combined award from the Manchester City Council, Arts Council England and the Lottery Heritage Fund, to transform the venue into a 21st century centre of music with strong community ties.
DBN's Nigel Walker completed the design. An important part of the brief was that they wanted a retro feel to the lighting in keeping with the loungey ambience of the room. This was not necessarily to be related to any specific period - but they definitely wanted to avoid any resemblance to the current trends for glitzy neon and flashing LEDs. "It's not about the lighting rig, it's about who's on stage," explains Walker.
The stage is only 3m deep and approximately 9m wide, and the headroom is less than 5 metres, so it has a cosy vibe.
Walker's design utilises a front and back truss and a bar over the front edge of the stage.
Martin Professional MAC 300 moving lights with the wide lens are rigged to the front truss - chosen for their compact dimensions and good light output - and used for the basic stage washes, along with ETC Source Four PARs. There is also a Martin Mac 250, that can be used for highlighting singers and musicians. A rig that didn't need too much ladder work, fuss for refocusing was also central to the lighting concept and the venue's needs.
On the back truss are 5 LED PARs, a low maintenance solution. 2 Source Four Juniors, used for funky cross lighting complete with break-up gobos hang on the edge of stage bar along with two sets of 2-way Moles which are good for audience blinding.
DBN has supplied an Avolites Pearl Tiger console, and Zero 88 6-way Beta pack dimmers for control, and the stage presentation is finished off with a black backdrop.
Walker states, "It was a great honour to be involved in this high profile project on our home ground, and the challenge was designing and supplying something appropriate and in character for the venue ".
A nice additional touch is that Walker has a strong historic affinity with Band on the Wall, and used to frequent it in the 1970s, enjoying some great music and wild nights out during his heady youth!
DBN has also installed lighting for the third year running to The Warehouse Project in Manchester in the Store Street Car Park beneath Piccadilly Station for their autumn season. This venue is used on Friday & Saturday nights until the New Year and has two performance spaces, the acts consist of a mix of live bands and DJ sets. The rig which includes, Martin MAC 250 Entours, Studio Due Archileds, Martin Atomic strobes, Clay Paky Alpha Wash 575THs, and i-Pix Satellites remains hanging in place throughout the period on trussing also supplied by DBN with the space becoming a venue for the weekend once the last car has gone on Friday afternoon. The success of the project is confirmed by reports that every night of the season is already sold out!