With the release of her first full-length album Goddess, the R&B sensation BANKS recently embarked on The Madness Tour playing alongside The Weeknd and selling-out houses across North America.
To create a soulful lighting design that would best accentuate the passionate singer/songwriter, her management team approached Gordon Droitcour and Erik Anderson with Cour Design. Working with Lighting Designer Darien Koop, Droitcour and Anderson eagerly accepted the opportunity to work with the indie artist, and to do so they once again enlisted the assistance of the Nashville-based tour provider Elite Multimedia.
“This was actually our first tour with BANKS and our first time working with her Monotone management team as well,” began Droitcour. “As we began looking at the tour design, we knew we would be sharing the stage with The Weeknd, so we wanted to generate a look that would stand on its own.,
“Since they would have a large production package, we decided the best way to be in contrast with their set-up would be to go in the opposite direction. Using a lighting package supplied by Elite Multimedia, we were able to create a simple yet dramatic tour design that really highlighted her style as an artist and it worked great.”
As Droitcour began envisioning the lighting package that would fully encompass the emotionally expressive design, he was confident that Elite Multimedia had the gear necessary to make the tour a success. After speaking with the account managers about the ominous and sexy environment desired, they developed a lighting package that included 22 Clay Paky Sharpy and five Clay Paky Mythos luminaires, along with 14 Martin MAC 301 Wash LED fixtures and a Martin Jem Glaciator X-Stream ground fog machine.
“During our initial discussions the tour design aesthetic we were looking for was always very clear, but we did end up going through several different design concepts,” explained Droitcour. “Having worked with Elite Multimedia on designs in the past, we were very comfortable choosing them as our tour provider once again,
“They always have very competitive pricing on a wide range of products and the support network they provide is one of the best. They really helped us through the prep and rehearsal phase to get us the best gear possible and develop the ideal lighting package for our vision of the tour.”
With the lighting gear in place, Droitcour and Lighting Designer Darien Koop got to work putting all the pieces into place. When they started to explore how the show would transition between the artists each night, they did encounter a small challenge, but quickly identified a design solution.
“The biggest issue we faced was the really the time allotted to get the gear off stage during the artist changeover,” added Droitcour. “To make the changeover possible, we ended up putting all of the lighting gear on wheels using a mix of skateboard decks and GT truss. With these elements in place, we were then able to move all the gear off stage in under five minutes,
“Our Lighting Tech Amanda Tullis, who toured with the production, really did a fantastic job and we couldn’t be happier with how it all came together.”
With the full design in place ‘The Madness Tour‘ was free to begin selling-out performance venues across North America. Looking back, Droitcour was extremely pleased with how the lighting design came together and how it worked in complete unison with all the other design aspects for a wonderfully memorable experience.
“This design was one of my absolute favourites that we have done to date,” concluded Droitcour. “The excellent video content created by Barnaby Roper gave the tour its true heart, and the lighting design really amplified that aesthetic. We loved the idea of using fixtures that could create beautiful air effects and give the artist an environment to express herself freely,
“Elite Multimedia really listened to what we wanted to accomplish in this design, and provided excellent support so that we could create a sharp and stunning design that really matched the musicality of BANKS.”