Getting Hypnotic with Wilkinson

Colour Sound Experiment delivered equipment for a recent UK tour by pioneering drum ‘n’ bass producer Wilkinson, a much anticipated series of sold-out gigs ahead of the release of his new Hypnotic album in April, working with Lighting Designer Sam Tozer.

Playing a variety of venues, this was a great opportunity for the company’s new pre-rigged trussing – a Litec product specially modified for them – to provide a flexible and practical solution. Features include an expedient four wide by two high stacking truck pack combined with super-fast deployment onstage.

The regional dates were primarily at academy venues, culminating in a high profile high pressure performance at London’s Roundhouse.

The look and design developed for the tour was a total change from any previous Wilkinson live shows, and a big part of the aesthetic goal was to produce something new and exciting.

The floor package was based around six trussing towers – made up of the new pre-rigged truss. All the fixtures and cable looms staying in the trussing for transportation, and once unloaded from the truck the truss towers are moved swiftly into place using removable wheelbases which detach once they are in place on the custom X-base floor stands which provide excellent vertical stability.

The show concept was initiated after discussions with Mark Wilkinson himself and his management team during which the artist expressed a strong desire for no video elements – wanting to keep the focus firmly on the music. However as an interesting twist, he indicated he did want a video “vibe” to the stage!

With this challenge in mind, Tozer produced a strobe-tastic design using the adaptability and mapping and zoning capabilities of some of the newest LED strobes on the market sculpted into a pixelesque environment that met this brief.

Colour Sound supplied 28 strobes which were at the core of the touring floor package comprising 18 Philips Nitros and ten Claypaky Stormies. These were boosted with another 16 Stormies for the Roundhouse, and with 44 in total at that gig, there was some serious potential for shaping the show!

Inside each tower were three Robe Pointe multi-purpose moving lights, three Nitros and a laser array fixture together with a Stormy.

The towers proved a neat and extremely efficient way to install a great looking lighting rig that could be set up and fired up within an hour of being wheeled out of the truck!

Robe LEDWash 300’s on the band risers provided mid-stage fill light and three LEDWash 600’s were positioned down both sides of the stage for cross lighting for the singers and front line. Another two Stormy LED strobes each side of the LEDWash 600’s kicked strobe light and pulses in from that punchy low-level angle. A High End Systems WholeHog 4 console was used to run the lights with a RoadHog for backup.

The biggest challenge creatively was building the wide variety of looks needed to keep pace with the huge dynamics of the set which dipped into its pumping drum ‘n’ bass roots and travelled to some of the more mellow but equally intricate sounds of the new album.

Everyone was delighted with the results. Dealing with Colour Sound was a “Fantastic” experience confirms Tozer, who was joined on the tour by crew members Alex Ryan and Steve Wilkinson, plus David Cattermole as an extra technician for the Roundhouse show.