London and New York based Lighting Designer, Ed Warren of Next Level Lights is using Robe moving lights for the award-winning folk rock band, Mumford & Sons’ “Babel” tour.
The band, who has become hugely popular in the last two years, has just finished another very successful US tour playing venues with a capacity of between 5,000 and 20,000, and will release their second studio album at the end of September.
The lighting - effectively also the stage set for the current design - is described by Warren as “Vintage barn dance with an epic edge” and the idea is that it looks interesting even before the rig is fired up.
Warren was first introduced to Robe products, and the creative potential they offer, by Ian Turner of Southampton, UK, based rental company GLS. Turner, a busy lighting designer in his own right, is also a big fan of the Robe brand. GLS owns a large stock of Robe fixtures and supplied the most recent Mumford & Sons UK and European tours.
Turner thought that the Robe ColorSpot and ColorWash 700E AT and the ROBIN 600 LEDWash fixtures would be ideal sized moving lights for the venues Mumford & Sons played on their UK and European festival tour which preceded the US dates.
Warren agreed, and so the UK rig featured 28 x ColorSpot 700E ATs, 18 x ColorWash 700E ATs and 16 x ROBIN 600 LEDWashes.
The fixtures were spread over three trusses – back, middle and front - with a row of LEDWash 600s on cases and rolling risers along the back of the stage and in the stage left and right wings.
Each of the 16 LEDWashes corresponded to a Sky Pan fixture – typically rigged directly below – and together with these distinctive looking film lights, formed an important element of the stage architecture.
Warren comments, “My basic needs for moving heads are that they are bright, compact, reliable and with some decent gobos… and the Robes certainly delivered”.
The ColorSpot and ColorWashes were used as general and front lighting, for silhouetting the band and for throwing powerful beams out into the audience. Warren also used thin irised down ColorSpot beams to create structural looks.
The LEDWashes were utilised for stage and side lighting and also to skim the crowd.
Audience-interaction is high on the agenda of Mumford & Sons' shows, and the lighting plays a major role in involving the fans in the stage action and performance.
A substantial amount of festoon lighting was strewn around providing another ‘lighting link’ between the band and the audience. The ‘multiple lightbulb’ aesthetic was boosted by the use of several Jarag fixtures.
The CTO options of the Robe LED Wash fixtures were smooth and authentic, providing a perfect match for the incandescent ambience of the Skypans, Jarags and festoon bulbs. With this CTO capability, Warren was able to blend the LED Wash units beautifully with the warmth of the other lighting elements.
He maximised the individual ring control of the LEDWash 600s' three rings to create some unique looks for certain numbers. This included the high drama of “Thistle and Weeds” where the outer rings of the lights were set flashing in white while the rest of the fixtures' LEDs were in deep red.
For “Lover of the Light’ he programmed his ‘wonder look’ - a zoom chase that morphed the widest and thinnest variants of each of the individual LEDWash pixels – with enormous impact!
Warren further comments that the combination of the large Skypan reflector dishes and their bulbs together with the outer rings of the LEDWash 600s looks “Extremely cool”.
For the latest US tour, all lighting equipment – including the 16 x LEDWash 600s - was supplied by Christie Lites. Warren ran the show using a Chamsys MagicQ 100 console with a Wing.