Mathias Kuhn uses ChamSys control to power Papa Roach visuals

Mathias Kuhn harnesses the creative capabilities of a ChamSys Magic MQ500M Stadium console and a PC wing backup to run Papa Roach’s visuals. Photo: Todd Kaplan

Right from the start, Papa Roach fans at the Prudential Center knew that the trailblazing metal masters were going to be coming at them in full force. Walking onto a dark stage, the band started to play Between Angels and Insects, as the background behind them suddenly erupted with strobing images from a massive video wall that ran almost the entire width of the stage.

The menacingly raw and powerful images on the wall were repeated on the extended riser, making the band members on it look as if they were being absorbed into the foreboding video. It was exactly the kind of evocative narrative that German lighting designer Mathias Kuhn and the band from northern California envisioned when they sat down to plan the production for the Revolution Live tour in support of Shinedown.

“Video is by far the biggest part of the show,” said Kuhn. “The band just wanted to step back from the usual couple of lights on a pole, and create a visual part of the show that sucks the audience right into their narrative. On previous tours, I used a bookend shaped video wall to create the look of a band that is surrounded by the video content, so they are playing ‘inside’ the wall. We talked a lot about the start of the show, how we wanted to glue the first three songs together but make them look totally different – and that worked out pretty well. A lot of people in the audience were just blown away by the band’s energy.”

Kuhn created this magic with the help of this ChamSys MagicQ MQ500M Stadium console and a PC wing backup. “I used a Resolume Arena server that I triggered with my ChamSys console via ArtNet. The show’s video element is running on my console’s Timecode. The ChamSys Timecode Tracks is making it very easy to run unique video content for each song.”

Lighting Designer, Mathias Kuhn. Photo: Todd Kaplan

A ChamSys user for the past couple of years, or so, Kuhn says that his MQ500M, which was supplied for this tour by Bandit Lites, stands out because of its power and time-saving efficiency. “ChamSys is definitely the fastest console for touring,” he said. “The cloning and morphing are extremely fast, while the Group Cue feature is making it very easy for me to adapt to the different rigs we’re encountering on this tour. It saves me a lot of time programming, so I can concentrate on what I like best, lighting!”

In terms of his lighting, Kuhn is working with his light tech Joe Dileo from Bandit Lites, and Video Technician, Caleb Gurley from Fuse to keep the focus 100-percent on supporting his client’s music.

“Papa Roach are such great performers, I don’t want my design to distract from them,” he said. “I chose colours to reflect the mood of the song, but I did not want to ‘candy-colour’ the show. Many times, I will use white light on the band and audience.”

Often, Kuhn will spot individual band members in large white ovals, which helps him create a club feel even in the large amphitheatres and arenas on this tour. He called upon this look for this tour.

“I like oval shaped looks,” he said. “Not only because they create a kind of a roof on the stage, but they also give us an almost graphic structure that changes with the viewing angle, so the show looks a little different from every seat. This results in a more unique experience for fans.”