Canadian industrial band Skinny Puppy might not be mainstream airplay but the band has been around for decades and is currently touring Europe beneath an intelligent lighting rig that includes Elation Professional ACL 360 Bar effect lights and SixBar 1000 LED colour-changing battens.
Pioneers of the electro-industrial genre, Skinny Puppy, known for their theatrical and sometimes controversial live performances, enjoys a dedicated following and has charted in both North America and Europe. They are currently out on the European leg of their Down the Sociopath tour, which runs until June 16th. Lighting has been designed and is under the direction of Eric Price (Thrice, Underoath, Bayside), who, although working with the group for the first time, has meshed with the band to create a design that complements the band’s complex and layered sound.
“For the Skinny Puppy design, everything needed to be angular since they wanted to incorporate a triangle projection screen right in the centre of the stage,” Price said of the design, describing his overall approach as ‘textured’. “I try to put a lot of emphasis on visual depth and maximise what is available on a day to day basis at venues.” Price said that initially he was using the ACL 360 Bar RGBW moving bar effects as a third level ancillary fixture. “But once the band and myself saw them on stage, everyone got ideas for ways to make them more of a focus over the course of the show,” he added. “I’m able to mimic the shape of the projection screen while also creating windows of negative space, so you can still see the musicians upstage on the risers.”
The ACL 360 Bars are hung on 6-inch truss towers mid stage left and right and can also be used as side light for the downstage musicians. “I love the infinite pan and tilt capabilities of the fixture. So fun to play around with!” Price exclaimed, referring to the ACL 360 Bar’s continuous 360-degree rotation. “The band and I are extremely pleased with them!”
Skinny Puppy live shows are visual treats and because the band’s lead singer uses a lot of masks and paint throughout the set, Price needed a UV option to make those elements stand out. “The SixBar 1000 fixtures are extremely important and the UV option is a huge advantage on this design,” he said of the one-meter long multipurpose LED battens with 6-colour LED multi-chip. “We’ve placed two fixtures on the downstage deck left and right, four total. They also give us a great general side wash. The SixBars make for a perfect contrast when venues have a more traditional front colour wash.”
The band gave the designer some very basic direction on what they wanted to see lighting-wise, which meant he was allowed to experiment and do what he thought worked best. “Fortunately, they liked what they saw!” Price said, and thanked Skinny Puppy for the opportunity to work with them. “It’s a great band and crew, who have been an absolute pleasure to work with!” The entire lighting package for the Skinny Puppy European tour was provided by VER, which Price coordinated via VER shops in Chicago and London. “The fixtures have been outstanding! No complaints,” he concluded. Price thanked Terry Heisler from VER Chicago and all the VER staff “for all the help putting together everything I needed.”