For post-hardcore music fans the summer of 2018 was something special as two of the genres best, New York-based Quicksand and Glassjaw, teamed up on a 20-date, co-headlining tour across the U.S. JDI Productions, of Rhode Island served as lighting vendor for Quicksand with an Elation Professional lighting rig of DARTZ 360 LED moving heads, ACL 360 Bar LED battens and Cuepix Blinder WW2 keeping colorful pace with the band’s creatively intense sound.
The July 7-August 3 tour was a high energy sampling of Quicksand classics mixed with numbers from the band’s latest album, “Interiors,” released late in 2017 and their first studio album since 1995. JDI handled lighting design and programming for the outing with JDI’s Megan Alksninis on board as lighting director/operator. “Quicksand knows how to command the stage and the lighting had to follow,” Alksninis commented. “Their diverse music displays a lot of layers and the design was free-flowing and fluid. Smooth colour changes and sweeping gobos were a huge part of the design.”
Alksninis describes the lighting setup as six 8’ pipes strategically placed around the stage to form a box enclosing the band with each pipe holding a DARTZ 360 at the top, an ACL 360 Bar at the bottom and a Cuepix WW2 Blinder in the centre. “The LED lamp really makes the DARTZ stand out,” she said of the compact, narrow-beam LED moving head. “They have remarkable output as a small beam with the capacity to merge colour chases with any other LEDs in the house rig. They also have an impressive range of gobos that I used to their full potential throughout the show.”
The LED beam/spot DARTZ projects a tight 3-degree beam and has gobos, dual prisms and unlimited rotation on pan and tilt for a stage-filling effect. During the band’s slower, more intimate moments, Alksninis blacked out the rig except for the DARTZ for an impactful look. She comments, “Having the six spots in a gobo with a rotating prism as a silhouette on the band really made the moment stand out.”
The ACL 360 Bar fixtures at the bottom of each pipe – batten moving head effects with continuous rotation – provided excellent backlight for all of the band members. A row of eight additional ACL 360 Bars worked from the downstage edge for a variety of effects, to uplight the band, wash the crowd with light or even to create a wall of colour.
“With enough haze in the room the ACL Bars in a line would almost create a physical wall between band and audience,” the designer stated, adding that it was important to create unique colour and dimmer chases. “In extended mode the possibilities with the ACL 360 Bars are endless.”
The centre of each pipe held a Cuepix Blinder WW2 LED-based white light blinder but as the designer explains they were not used as a traditional blinder effect. “The first 5 songs did not use them at all,” Alksninis explains, “not until the band’s new song Illuminantplayed at which time they came on in a dimmer chase surrounding the band with no other lights on stage. It had an isolating property with only the blinders on and because they were located at the same level as the band, they created a unique look. There was freedom in the design to think outside of the box.” As the house blinders were never used, Alksninis says, towards the end of the set the WW2s were incorporated into a traditional blinder look.
New Found Glory
Earlier in the summer, JDI Productions also delivered Elation lights for pioneering pop-punk band New Found Glory’s “Sick” tour, an outing in support of their latest album Makes Me Sick that saw the Florida-based band perform their fast and energetic style of music across the U.S. The design was flush with colour with a setup that featured a custom backdrop partially hand-painted with UV reactive paint. JDI’s Megan Alksninis served as lighting designer on the outing and used Elation Chorus Line 8 LED battens to uplight the large 30’ x 25’ backdrop along with a set of scrims.
“We choose the Chorus Lines because they have the ability to do a true UV,” says Alksninis, who also served as programmer and operator on the tour. “I only needed four Chorus Lines to completely wash the backdrop in vibrant colours and also used one Chorus Line per scrim that the band had on either side of the stage.” The Chorus Line’s power comes from eight 40W RGBW LEDs and motorized zoom optics mean it can be used to light backdrops and scrims. A 220° tilt motor function lets designers position the unit dynamically during a show.
The designer took the ACL 360 Bars along with her on tour and placed them evenly among 4 trusses. “The tour theme was very much crazy, apocalyptic so the ability to swing the ACL Bars in infinite pan and tilt gave me a lot of great options!”
Alksninis and JDI Productions work with Elation rep firm Healy Sales to keep up to date on the latest in show lighting, a cooperation that over the past few years has resulted in JDI stocking more and more Elation gear. “Elation has really impressed us as a company,” Alksninis comments. “There is always something new to look at and our designs just keep getting better from it. The gear is cutting edge and more importantly, it holds up on the road.
Jonathan Schwille and the team at Healy Sales have proven to be a great support to JDI. “They always have the newest gear to demo and are able to answer any questions, comments, or concerns. We look forward to their visits and getting to see the newest Elation gear. The personal aspect of sales is a huge factor and being able to have in-person conversations and get to see a light at its full potential is key,” Alksninis concludes.