Entec lights the way on UK tour

In the wake of a highly successful run of European festival appearances, including a notable performance at Glastonbury, classically-influenced electronic chart stars Clean Bandit returned to play a series of seven autumn shows around the UK, once again supported by Entec’s lighting division with a comprehensive rig including the unique Sceptron rotator pods that characterised their summer run.

Kicking off at Glasgow’s Barrowlands on October 29th, the following day saw the tight-knit entourage arrive at Cambridge Corn Exchange where lighting designer Liam Griffiths and production manager Tec Beint discussed the journey and ongoing progression of the band whose new single, ‘I Miss You’, has been tipped to be this year’s Christmas chart-topper.

Custom-designed as the main set pieces and built by Specialz with co-operation from Entec, the seven upstage rotator pods – or ‘lollipops’, as referred to by the crew – are each fitted with 10 Martin VDO Sceptron 10 1000mm linear LED battens. Mounted on a wheeled bases, they are capable of rotating 360° and delivering a variety of graphical permutations.

The remainder of Entec’s lighting package included seven TMB Solaris Flare Q+ 36° LED fixtures, which were supplied with Kasmer diffuser and barn door sets. Said Liam: “Apart from the incredible brightness of the Flare Q+, what I really like is that with the Kasmer diffusion, you don’t see the LED sources themselves but a rich, soft glow across the stage.”

Added for this tour were 14 Ayrton MagicBlade-FX units that gained Liam’s favour after using them on The Naked And Famous. “They looked so good that I had to have them for Clean Bandit to create another layer along with additional lines of Sceptrons – we have about 100 of them onstage in total, including some on uprights at the sides to provide more energy. That atmosphere is further boosted by Robe Robin LED 600s for side wash.”

Hailed by many in the industry, GLP’s new JDC1 hybrid LED strobe has certainly earned plenty of attention from Liam who incorporated half a dozen on the downstage edge for these dates and now has plans to use them in future designs. “I love them,” he claimed. “Having a strobe wash fixture with tilt is great as I use them to create a shadow of the band on the backdrop and I also have them bitmapped to create some nice eye candy moments.”

Entec’s package also featured a full complement of trussing and a star cloth backdrop that Liam lights with an array of 30 Thomas PixelLine 1044s, creating additional depth to the set.

The LD’s current lighting console preference is an MA Lighting grandMA2 light, which he runs alongside an OnPC Command Wing. It’s the latest chapter in a journey that began as an Avolites user. Liam explained: “A lot of lighting people I know started out with Avo and I eventually jumped from there to the High End Hog III and then a grandMA1, then back to a Hog III, and after a period on a ChamSys desk I’ve ended up staying with the MA2 light which suits me very well.

“Reliability is one of its strongest assets but I also find I can be more creative with it. There doesn’t seem to be any limitations to what I can achieve and it’s now what I’m used to.

“In my programming for this band, I’ve almost completely cut out any movement of the fixtures. Rather than include gratuitous use of moving light sequences, I find there is a lot of wisdom in the old phrase, ‘Less is more’, Personally, I prefer to conjure an engaging atmosphere in which the band can perform and give the audiences more of an opportunity to experience them rather than be blinded by what I’m doing.”

PROGRESS

When chart success began to knock on Clean Bandit’s door, freelance production manager Tec Beint was called upon to guide them to the next rung of the ladder. “They had been very busy on the club circuit and it was slowly developing,” he said.

“After ‘Mozart’s House’ made the top 20 in 2013, everything started to change for them and this was the point at which their then musical director Andy Gangadeen [Duran Duran, Spice Girls, Massive Attack] asked if I would get involved and help achieve some cohesion with their touring.

“We didn’t have a designated lighting designer or operator at the time I came onboard. Several people came and went due to their other commitments, and that was the situation until we eventually discovered Liam who has been progressively improving the show since he joined us.

“With show/set designer Rob Sinclair now on board and the band being looked after by tour manager Andrew ‘Wilkie‘ Wilkinson, we now have a really slick production that goes hand in hand with the band’s increasing success and popularity.”

A two-truck production, the aim was to maintain consistency after the festival season. Tec added: “The design is essentially a continuation with some subtle changes like the mirrored fascia on risers. Going indoors this autumn has certainly allowed the design to have an even greater impact.”

CONFIDENCE

Although he had “crossed paths” with Entec on isolated events in the past, it wasn’t until this year that Tec had the opportunity to cultivate a working relationship with the west London rental company. He explained: “It was through Jo Beirne [business development co-ordinator] that I started to talk to Entec about Clean Bandit. What I found with Noreen O’Riordan and Adam Stevenson was not only how approachable they are but also that that their initial reaction to our design filled me with a lot of confidence.

“They were immediately onboard with the concepts that were coming through, such as the rotating Sceptron panels, and were very enthusiastic about accommodating… well, everything. It’s something that’s always good to hear when, as ever, you’re up against time.

“I had already approached Dave Smith at Specialz about getting these panels made and Entec organised the Martin Sceptron LED strips to make the whole thing work. Little did I know that Dave, Noreen and Entec have a long, shared history together, so everyone was delighted.

“By making me feel comfortable and relaxed, I was then able to leave the lighting in Entec’s hands and concentrate on other aspects of the production. They have been absolutely brilliant and Will Wright and Andy McGeorge [Entec’s lighting technicians on the tour] have been very hard working ambassadors for the company.”

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Photography by Siôn Roe & Mark Cunningham