Manchester based lighting and visual specialist dbn continued its eclectic and busy 2013 schedule supplying lighting equipment and crew for the much anticipated recent shows by acclaimed Irish alt rockers My Bloody Valentine. These were supporting the band’s new ‘m.b.v.’ album and first released studio recording work since 1991.
In fact, explains dbn Project Manager Nick Walton, the company – in a different format to now – has been involved in My Bloody Valentine live shows dating back around 20 years, and he personally also dealt with some rare live performances shortly after their much heralded reformation in 2009.
Their LD is James Murray with whom Walton and dbn have also enjoyed a great working relationship for many years. Both the band’s tour management and Murray wanted to use dbn again.
The show was moody, raw and highly theatrical, with atmospheric front projections used as an additional lightsource, beamed right across the band and stage onto a large cyc at the back. This created the show’s primary visual concept.
Lighting was very much designed around the projections with minimal amounts from the front in keeping with the sense of mystery that shrouds MBV, who in spite of great critical acclaim for their music, have skilfully eluded the jaws of commercialism!
The front truss had a grand total of six profiles, used for soft and subtle non-key lighting. The positioning of the front truss was crucial as the profiles were focussed very specifically to avoid putting any light onto the band’s faces, allowing them to drift in and out of the projections as desired.
On the back truss were five Clay Paky Alpha Wash 700s, four CP QWO 800 Profiles and six Martin Professional MAC Aura LED washes.
Five more Mac Auras were placed on the floor in the front ‘footlight’ positions.
These were joined by five vertical truss towers on the deck, each loaded with a Mac Aura, an Atomic strobe and a 2-lite Molefey.
The asymmetric tower design featured truss sections measuring between six and ten feet in height, appearing to be randomly dotted around the stage.
Murray controlled the lighting with an Avolites Pearl Expert and ran the projection using bespoke software.
Nick Walton himself went out as crew and worked alongside Murray. He comments, “I have always enjoyed working with James – it gives me a new insight into design and creative thinking. His unusual colour palettes in particular are a real inspiration”.