Ben Jarrett taps into Squeek Light’s X-Laser fixtures for Beartooth

Lighting Designer, Ben Jarrett uses X-Laser fixtures to create 'big arena looks' for Beartooth. Photo: @theworkofjar

Empowered by X-Laser fixtures and Mercury Laser Control firmware, Lighting Designer, Ben Jarrett of Squeek Lights in Sayreville, New Jersey, checked all of those boxes and then some with his design for metalcore band Beartooth on its 2024 North American Tour.

“In our early design meetings, Caleb [Shomo, lead singer for Beartooth] talked about bringing an arena-style show to smaller and mid-sized venues,” Jarrett said. “Whether that night’s stop was at a 3,000-capacity theatre or a 900-capacity club, he wanted every show to come at you and feel like it was taking place in a much larger setting.

To accomplish this, Jarrett and the Squeek Lights team knew the Beartooth stage had to generate immense lighting output to provide that big-arena feel from a smaller footprint. The band wanted numerous special effects as part of the design, and lasers played a major part in creating those big, impactful moments.

The set included a total of eight X-Laser Skywriter fixtures, in both five-watt and ten-watt varieties. They provided punch alongside a substantial video wall and an array of traditional lighting fixtures, and Jarrett expertly positioned the lasers for maximum effect regardless of where the show took place.

“A nice thing about the lasers was that since they were mounted above the video wall, I could set their zones to be as wide as possible and fill the room horizontally with those awesome aerial laser effects,” explained Jarrett. “And on the days when the venue was narrower, I could simply layer the lasers on top of each other to still provide that big-venue impact look that we all wanted.”

Creating depth and dimension for the show was one of Jarrett’s goals that he accomplished using a varied colour palette, which the X-Laser fixtures had no trouble matching. From desaturated pink to vivid yellow to rich green, Jarrett explained that his use of many colours helped tell the story of each song visually. That palette helped build the big moments common on songs from Beartooth’s recently released album, Surface.

“A lot of the songs on Surface have choruses that build into big moments and my programming reflected trying to fill the room and match the scale of those big musical moments,” Jarrett explained. “I also wanted to use a lot of bright colours to match the more positive feeling and vibe the band went with in their new material.”

The good vibes extended to the positive reactions to his design that Jarrett received from fans, fellow artists and crew while on the road with Beartooth. The X-Laser Skywriter HPX M-5 and Skywriter HPX M-10 units fit the bill as showstopping impact effect fixtures, all while giving Jarrett the advantage of being able to program the entire timecoded show directly from his preferred grandMA MA2 lighting console.

“It was all my programming and my design, and the true advantage is being able to integrate lasers with standard lights,” said Jarrett. “We at Squeek Lights used to assume that lasers were this other thing separate from regular lights and now with X-Laser Mercury, we have this other tool in our toolbox.”

The Beartooth 2024 North American Tour was Jarrett’s first tour using X-Laser fixtures and X-Laser Mercury, and he’s already looking forward to integrating lasers into his designs for other Squeek Lights clients, no matter the venue or vibe.