Ed Warren harnesses LCR-supplied GLP fixtures for IDLES’ UK tour

Idles on their most recent UK tour. Photo: @lukedyson on Instagram

Lighting Designer, Ed Warren – who has worked with IDLES since their first albumin 2017 – called on a range of GLP products, supplied by Lights Control Rigging (LCR), when it came to lighting the Bristol-based noise-rock band’s latest UK tour. 

Having historically kept their stage lighting to a minimum, this time around the band stepped up to O2 Academy-sized venues, moving to multiple nights at the larger capacity O2 Brixton Academy, Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse and Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena, where the basic house lighting rig and floor package combination made way for a full production show, involving 20 GLP JDC Line 500, 28 X4 Bar 20s and 18 JDC1 hybrid strobes.

“Previously they only brought me in for the bigger shows as they wanted to stay true to their DIY roots,” Warren explained. “Now they recognise that lighting makes a big difference and are stepping up their game with every album. I have used GLP since the initialimpressions as they make great lights; this time I wanted to give the JDC Lines a whizz,” continued Warren.

He contacted rental company LCR, and it supplied full inventory and support. Explaining his design rationale, Warren said: “When a band is playing various-sized rooms, I look at the venues we are going into and produce a rig that will work everywhere. By working from the ground up it gives the tour manager and production manager less of a headache.”

The last tour was largely tungsten-based, but the latest album, Crawler, with its sparser sound, required an augmented approach. “I wanted to complement that with something low-key but powerful – such as a big strip of lights behind the band to provide colour and replace the video wall from the last tour. That just wouldn’t have worked practically this time,” Warren added.

Enter the JDC Lines, set on a crossbar at the rear of the band, while the remainder of the trusses are on Kinesys-automated motion control. The GLP X4 Bar 20 battens are fixed to a trapezium-shaped truss, while the 16 JDC1 strobes carry out a basic function on the floor. Additionally eight X4 Bars were placed horizontally and used as side light. “I didn’t want to over complicate things, so I programmed the floor JDCs in normal mode,” Warren explained. “Whereas the X4 Bar 20s and JDC lines were set in full pixel mode. They were pixel mapped as there’s some jazzier stuff going on such as a full rainbow chase.”

However, the tour was not without a hitch, as Ed Warren explained. “I was meant to be at Brixton for production rehearsals and the first four shows, but I tested positive for Covid-19 a few days before. As a result I programmed the whole show at home and sent the file to [board operator] David McIntyre. It was a squeeze to programme 32 songs in three days, but everything turned out okay.”