London, UK based rental company Entec Sound & Light's lighting division supplied equipment and crew for the recent Portishead European tour and Paloma Faith show in Peterborough, renewing its long term working relationship with lighting designer Tony Austin.
Portishead's tour comprised a series of festivals and own shows in France and Spain for which they toured a rig that could be used either as a full plot for their own shows or certain components of it as a â€˜specials' package for festivals. It followed on from Entec's very successful supply of their 2011 tour.
Says Austin, “I am always very happy working with Entec – everything is super-efficient, nothing is too much trouble, and the company still has a friendly family atmosphere which goes such a long way”.
This year, Austin took advantage of Entec's new Robe ROBIN 600 LEDWash fixtures, which were rigged on the overhead trusses and on the floor. He was extremely impressed! They were used to create a rich mix of general stage washes and for strong low level cross-stage lighting. On the floor at the back, they also replaced 4-lites utilised for blasting out into the audience and as powerful back-light silhouetting sources for the band.
Additionally, Entec supplied 30 VARI*LITE VL3000 Spots, which were dotted around the rig, together with 17 Source Four profiles, four 5K fresnels, eight Martin professional Stagebar 54S LED units, 18 Atomic strobes, a selection of PAR36s and 12 Robe ColorWash 700E ATs for the touring rig.
Where they were headlining festivals, the production stage lighting rig was usually based on Austin's full plan design and spec for the tour, but this would vary each day depending on what the local vendor could supply.
Austin's lighting brief was to keep it dark, moody and provocative, so precisely focused and cued key lighting played a fundamental role.
Entec also supplied programmer Andy Emmerson for the tour, who programmed and ran the show on a grandMA full size console.
Whilst out on this tour, Austin, who also has a base in Brazil, received a call from Paloma Faith's management, and was asked to submit a lighting design for a one off show in Peterborough, UK and work-in-progress concept that could be developed for next year's more substantial touring work.
Faith is a big Portishead fan, and having seen several of Austin's lightshows for the band, decided she would like him to collaborate on her own shows, scheduled to culminate in a major UK tour in early 2013.
Faith was looking for a classic, stylish Film Noir look – all apart from the wet streets, however there was a requirement for rain effect in one song! Austin knew immediately the special requirements and lighting treatments needed and set about devising a very individual lightshow.
The Peterborough showcase was preceded by four days of production rehearsals at the former BBC studios in White City.
The rig was a very theatrical system based around two trusses and some floor specials. Faith specifically didn't want any flashing lights or clichéd gobo projections or usage.
To emulate the special rain effect, Austin used the animation wheels in 8 Martin MAC 700s positioned on the front truss, which worked really well.
A sumptuous blue velvet drape was supplied for the backdrop, which took lighting in all colours extremely effectively, adding depth and a slick impression to the whole stage area.
Other luminaires included MAC 700 Spots, 32 x Robe LEDWash 600s, 20 ETC Source Four profiles and some strobes, used for a lightening effect.
Entec supplied programmer Ewan Cameron, who worked on a grandMA full size console, and technical Peter Schofield.
Austin comments, “As always it was a massive pleasure working with everyone at all levels from Entec – the service is absolutely excellent and the kit in great condition”.
Paloma Faith Photograph Credit: Gary Chandler