Impression X5 the key to RÜFÜS DU SOL’s touring rig

Lighting designer Matt Smith used a selection of impression X5, JDC1 and impression X4 Bar 20 for the American leg of RÜFÜS DU SOL’s tour. Photo: Michael Drummond

Lighting designer Matt Smith (of Colourblind) again took full advantage of GLP’s fixture versatility when plotting the scenography for the American leg of RÜFÜS DU SOL’s tour.

The Australian creative used a selection of impression X5, JDC1 and impression X4 Bar 20 from the German company’s catalogue, deploying them in mission-critical roles. All were sourced from Volt Lites in Los Angeles, where Smith is now partly based, and who have been supplying inventory to him since the band’s Live from Joshua Tree project back in 2019.

While the impression X5 took on key light duties, the JDC1 and Bars peppered the set with multiple complementary effects.

Sydney-based indie-dance trio RÜFÜS DU SOL had been the first client that Colourblind founder Lyndon Gare worked with when he and Smith began their collaboration back in 2014.

It didn’t take the designer long to sense how GLP’s fast-expanding LED portfolio could be an asset to his concepts. “I’ve been a big fan of GLP products for a long time and we have had a rich history using them on our tours with RÜFÜS DU SOL since 2016,” he says. “We were one of the first tours in Australia to use the X4 Bar 20s along with a substantial number of X4 atoms and impression X4 Wash.”

He has followed the journey right through to the latest impression X5 washlight, to which he was introduced by Matt Shimamoto at Volt Lites – the company that now services all their lighting and rigging requirements “with a level of service and professionalism that’s second to none.”

His reaction to the X5? “I loved them, and we immediately substituted all our usual LED wash fixtures. They are very bright, with a super-versatile zoom range and fantastic colours. Although we use them as key lighting only on this show, I am intrigued to use them in the future in the full-pixel mode.”

Scaling the rig to accommodate both indoor and outdoor stages – with capacities ranging from 8,000 to 25,000 – he deployed 36 of the impression X5s. He uses six fixtures on each flank as side lights, with six on the truss for key light (two for each band member). A further 12 are positioned underneath the risers to shoot through the perspex tops, with the remainder on the front truss for general stage wash purposes. This saw them successfully through a US itinerary highlighted by such iconic venues as Red Rocks, Hollywood Bowl and The Gorge before returning to their native Australia for their first headline tour since before the pandemic.

Smith had a specific reason for choosing the JDC1 as his marquee hybrid strobe. “It’s the original and the best,” he says, “and I’ve always used the Key Light profile and MA3D model from fellow Australian Anthony Petruzio. It makes it super simple for a previs in MA3D and, to be honest, super simple for cloning when I don’t have them!”

He has purposed 51 in total – many as truss-mounted overheads – with further fixtures on the floor and three-per-side underneath the IMAG screens, all run in SPix (68 DMX channels) mode.

This has proved the ideal backdrop for the trio to show off their moves, with the dance music style being the perfect medium to animate the lighting, choreographing it accordingly. As the LD explained: “Creative director Alex ‘Katzki’ George and the band like to accent the music as much as possible with lighting and visuals, but at the same time we always want to keep it thoughtful and classy. A show needs peaks and dips and shouldn’t be ‘at 11’ all the time!”

As the band’s touring LD, Smith himself is responsible for bringing this to life. For the band’s album campaign he was joined by fellow programmers Steven Mills and David Fairless.