HSL is supplying full lighting production and crew for the Beautiful South’s new Superbi tour, designed and operated by Dave Byars and currently on its first UK and Irish leg.

The tour is being project managed for HSL by Mike Oates who says, “It’s great to be working with Dave. He spent three days in our demo room pre-programming elements of the show, and we’re honoured that both he and tour manager Simon Foster have trusted a new company to supply the kit.”

Byars is renowned for the quirky, skillful blending of imagination and idiosyncrasy in his designs. The starting point for the tour was custom-made set of drapes, consisting of ruched red wine coloured stage drapes, borders and riser scrims, and a grey upstage tab drape. This gives the stage a plush, textured feel that’s part theatre and partly a modern ironic take on the classic 1950s Mecca ballroom look. The truss borders are gently arched to introduce some subtle architectural curves to the stage.

The drapes were manufactured for Blackburn-based HSL by nearby Charter Stage Services and are lit with a variety of LED fixtures. The grey tab drape is up-lit with 20 of the new Satellite LED fixtures from i-Pix, 10 along the top and 10 along the bottom of the drape. The back truss borders are lit with Pulsar Chroma Hearts and the front truss drapes are dressed with JTE PixelPAR 90s, outrigged from the truss and also doubling as color wash fixtures.

All the LED fixtures are driven by a PixelDrive computer, triggered by the Avolites Diamond 4 console that Byars is using to run the show.

When the grey tabs open, they reveal a 9x6m panel of SoftLED LED backdrop, which is driven by content stored on a RADlite digital media server, also triggered by the Diamond 4. Byars has created specially created video clips for the SoftLED, but most importantly, he‘s careful not to over-use the effect and therefore maximizes its impact with traditional Byars panache.

Byars is also using Robe fixtures for the first time--eight ColorSpot 575 ATs and 15 ColorWash 575 ATs, divided between the back truss and the floor, with three Washes on the front truss. The rear truss fixtures are rigged onto a series of graduated length drop arms, so they gently follow the curvature of the drape.

There’s also 12 Robe ColorSpot 250s on the risers pointing frontwards and eight Robe ColorWash 250s on the front truss washing the band along with eight ETC Source Fours for key lighting. Byars comments that he finds the Robes very bright for their size. With the band playing a mixture of theatres, concert, and sports halls on this leg of the tour, he wanted small versatile units that were appropriate to the available stage space.

HSL supplied Danny Sprat and Tim Oliver as crew for the tour on which Byars is also a working LD.