Based around North London production duo Kye ‘Foamo’ Gibbon and Matt ‘RackNRuin’ Robson-Scott, the extended live Gorgon City experience gained many more new fans when they hit the highway in January and February 2019 for a short tour of the UK and Ireland, with lighting designer Andy Emmerson counting on Entec for his essential lighting package.
After relying on a variety of rental sources for a recent American trek, the act turned to Entec to furnish their Escape tour which began at Newcastle’s O2 Academy, continuing in Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol, Dublin and peaking at the 3,000-capacity Printworks event space in south-east London on 8 February.
“We travelled with a fairly compact rig and I didn’t have the luxury of a tech, so that partially informed my kit choices,” said Emmerson, a long-time Entec associate. “It was all down to me to load it in every day and re-program each house rig, which naturally differed from gig to gig.”
Running one universe from an Avolites Tiger Touch and fader wing, Emmerson specified a floor package of six Clay Paky A.leda B-EYE K20s, six Solaris Flares and four Robe Pointes: “Although the choices were minimal, what I had at my disposal was a versatile range of kit that offered a lot of creative scope when supplementing the house lighting. One can never really be sure that you’ll have what you need at the venues to fulfil your ideas, so it’s always best to come armed with fixtures that will give you some flexibility, and this was a good example of such a situation.”
Much of Emmerson’s design focused on silhouette work and he credited the Pointes’ superior beam and gobo effects for delivering these and other key looks. He positioned a Solaris Flare behind each of the act’s three risers to further “accentuate the silhouettes, adding a lot of strobing and washes into the mix”, while an additional three Flares in front of the risers effected an extra dimension of moodiness to the singers’ presence. “I’ve been in love with the Flares since day one,” Emmerson commented. “Building the strobe up on top of the wash is one of those great moments for me.”
The LD’s previous experience of the B-EYE led him to include the Clay Paky wash/beam hybrid in his spec without hesitation: “Their brightness is phenomenal and the results have been great every time, so why not? I had two of them downstage to project across the vocalists and into the audience. The other four were in the gaps between the risers upstage, shooting strong beams out from the stage.
“Gorgon City certainly like a lot of strobe action, that’s for sure, and it works perfectly for their style of music. In fact, although I could employ the house rigs as I wished, I was making far more use of this floor package.”
For the big London showcase at Printworks, a video wall was added to beef up the intensity. “From an audience perspective,” noted Emmerson, “Printworks has an amazing atmosphere although stage access for production isn’t as easy as one would like and FOH is about 75 metres from the stage. That’s quite a distance! Loading in was a bit of an issue throughout the tour, actually. In most cases, we weren’t arriving until around 11.00am and in London, the gear turned up at 2.00pm, so by the time I had everything set up, the day had flown by. Still, we had a great result every night and, as always, that’s what counted.”
Liaising with Entec’s Noreen O’Riordan and Adam Stevenson, Emmerson’s lighting arsenal was a ‘dry hire’ that also included haze, smoke and a modest quantity of truss. Emmerson was keen to point out that the service was as personal as ever. “Having worked with Entec so frequently, I know the equipment inside out,” he said. “I spent some time at the warehouse prepping the kit as the staff got the cable looms together, making life as simple as possible for the road. In Entec’s favour, a dry hire doesn’t mean they let go of your hand once the gear is out of the door. While you know the equipment will work perfectly well, the back-up is always solid should anything go wrong but, of course, it didn’t and it was yet another satisfying project taken care of superbly.”