One of the greatest British hard rock bands to emerge from the ’80s, The Cult embarked on a successful 10-date tour of the UK in October, featuring a complete performance of their 1989 album Sonic Temple along with other favourites from their back catalogue, including the seminal ‘She Sells Sanctuary’.
When the band reached London’s Hammersmith Apollo on October 27th, Entec was brought in by promoter Kilimanjaro Live to supply lighting and crew, and work with LD Matt Guminski. “It was a really enjoyable tour of a straightforward, classic rock’n’roll show packed with some incredible moments,” said Matt, “and when Entec came onboard at Hammersmith, it took us to another level. I was delighted to be working with the company again only a few months after completing the Alice In Chains tour with them.”
Fronted by Ian Astbury and featuring the renowned guitar talents of Billy Duffy, The Cult are once again the talk of the rock community, and Matt ensured that his visual feast was the perfect complement to the onstage musical electricity. With only a fortnight’s notice before the tour began, Matt was hired and briefed that the lighting rigs would either be resident at venues such as the O2 Academy in Birmingham and Leeds, or rented in from local suppliers using a basic package design that he put together.
Matt explained: “There was no pre-production and because the rigs varied from venue to venue, I was busking the lights each time, feeling my way through the dynamics of the music. That’s a different way of working for me and it took me back to my early days as a house lighting operator. Being a bass player myself, I could key into what the rhythm section was doing and ‘play’ the lights like I was another member of the band. By the third show, I was finding looks that I could repeat on subsequent nights and that spirit of discovery was very exciting.”
While Billy Duffy is keen on brightness during his guitar solos, Ian Astbury prefers a more moody vibe that dominates the lion’s share of the show. “Ian is all about strobes and high contrast back-lighting, but he’s not a fan of front light,” said Matt, the New York-based founder of MG Lighting Design. “He obviously needs to play with that a little because the audience have paid to see him and the band, so I often tapped my front lights at 30% or 40%, just to achieve enough facial recognition. They also don’t like follow spots so I compensated with Lekos [ETC Source Four profiles] at the front.