Welsh rockers return to the road with production support from Entec
After four years out of the limelight, Feeder have returned this month with Top 10 album All Bright Electric, their ninth full-length studio release, and a 14-date UK tour with Entec providing a sound, lighting and video projection dry hire package.
With founding lead singer and guitarist Grant Nicholas and long-time bassist Taka Hirose remaining core members, Feeder began the tour with some new faces onboard, among them drummer Geoff Hollroyde, second guitarist Tom Gleeson and lighting designer Niall Hannell, whose career has spanned working as the Royal Albert Hall’s technical show manager and resident LD at the much-missed London Astoria, and touring with Marc Almond, Gnarls Barkley and Portishead – the latter with Entec in 2015.
With a tight rein on budget, the brief handed to tour manager and FOH engineer Yaron Levy was to use in-house sound and lighting rigs at every venue, supplementing them with a dry hire package from Entec Sound & Light and support from the company’s Noreen O’Riordan, Adam Stevenson and Jonny Clark.
“This wasn’t meant to be a production tour in the literal sense,” said Levy, currently in his 16th year with the band, “but it was important to make an impression now that Feeder have returned. So we’ve ended up with a semi-production tour and brought our own small catering system with us, fitting everything into a DAF 28-tonner, so that we can make more of a statement with the show.”
Key to that statement is Hannell, who responded to Levy’s ‘LD wanted’ ad on Crewspace. “I knew Yaron from touring together with the Gang Of Four,” he commented. “Feeder were looking for ideas based on the constraints of what was affordable and what would fit into the venues, allowing for consistency from show to show. I was very happy to be asked onboard.”
Although Hannell accepted the lighting role, he did not waste time in offering to extend his involvement. He explained: “I’d done video for some bands who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to pay for it, so I thought we could accommodate something roughly within budget. One of the tricks up my sleeve was a piece of VJ software called Resolume Arena, which I have residing on one of Entec’s high-capacity laptops. It allows you to mix clips and mangle them, and the thing that sold me on it was that it takes DMX – this means I can hook it up to the lighting console and use it as a media server. It’s a cheap option but one that really does the job if you have the content.
“Resolume also has functions for projection mapping and liquid output transformation. I can take my output and drag it to resize it, which is particularly handy for positioning accurately on a cyc.”
Hannell informed the band that if a reliable projector and a white cyc were added to the dry hire package, video would not only be possible, it would take their minimalist production to another level. “They were very keen,” he said. “We took a 10K Barco CLM R10+ DLP projector and a back-up from Entec’s stock, and in order to maintain a small footprint at front of house, I have it positioned behind me on a tower that’s built from scaff poles and a 4ft x 4ft Litedeck riser.
“Fortunately, the guys in the band like the psychedelic effect of having the video projected over them, otherwise it would have been a much trickier process! In fact, all of the reference images that Grant sent to me were of Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable events from the ’60s.