Lighting designer Martin Dudley used Robe ColorSpot 700E AT moving lights at the core of his lighting rig for The Guillemots most recent UK tour, for which his company, Reading based Martin’s Lights, purchased new units from Robe UK. The band’s latest album, Red, was released in March and has already been a UK Top Ten hit.
Dudley has worked with the band for two years, and this was his fourth full tour. The tours and lighting rigs have steadily grown in size and stature mirroring the band’s popularity. At the start of this tour, management said they wanted to see plenty of red and black onstage, and they wanted it darker, weirder, and edgier than the previous production tour a year ago, which was lighter in tone.
He was using just 6 ColorSpot 700E ATs, but these give him more than enough creative scope and range to light the full set without repetition, producing a vast array of different looks, textures, and ambiences. For the London show at The Forum, he also added 4 Robe ColorSpot 700E ATs and 6 ColorSpot 250E ATs, which were part of a recent technical upgrade and refurbishment for the popular London venue.
He toured his 6 ColorSpot 700E ATs along with four 575 moving wash lights on the floor, a series of LED PARs on scaff pipes upstage, several other LED PARs which were dotted around the stage, Diversitronic strobes, 8-lites, lots of PAR 16 “Birdies” and 60 metres of red rope light which was draped randomly around the backline. All this was controlled from an Avolites Pearl 2004 console.
Wherever possible, he used the house trusses to rig the ColorSpots upstage so they could be utilized for powerful backlighting effects. The band always encouraged him to be experimental with the lighting and visuals and they usually contribute plenty of ideas to the show. Certain songs were lit simply just in single colour reds or blues and others in much more complex colour combinations.
He also used a lot of “dirty” colors, finding the split color facility of the 700s most useful for producing these non-conventional hues. He developed de-focussed looks and numerous other iris effects, including some massive zoomed-out effects using prisms, where the 6 units had no trouble filling the whole Forum stage. “They have been really excellent for the off-beat stuff,” he comments. “I’m very impressed with what I have been able to do with just 6 fixtures, and there is still loads of headroom for more—I am only scratching the surface.”
He adds that the Robes have also been totally reliable and are very efficient on power consumption. “The service from Robe UK is great” he adds, “If there’s ever anything needed, they are right on it.” Dudley worked with lighting technician Gareth Dean on the tour, and they were joined by Dan Robinson for the London show.
Martin’s Lights first bought 12 ColorSpot 575E ATs in 2005, and has added the 700s more recently. Other tours and artists on which he’s used them include Newton Faulkner, The Waterboys, Supergrass, The Cult, Cajun Dance Party, and several WOMAD festivals.
The Guillemots have a full schedule for the upcoming months, touring Europe next and then festivals throughout the summer before opening for REM later in the year.