New Politics Tours US With Elation’s New ACL 360 Bar

Photo by Johnathan Hoeg

Lighting Designer / Director Alex Specht of Spechtrum Lighting turned to the dynamic look of Elation Professional’s ACL 360 Bar effect luminaire for Danish rock band New Politics’ autumn US tour.

The tour was teaming the continuous rotation batten effect with Elation’s warm-white Lumina Strips, among other lights.

New Politics toured the US from 14 October to 29 November on their Wilderness Politics tour, which they co-headlined with indie pop act Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. Specht incorporated the ACL 360 Bars and Lumina Strips as part of a shared lighting package that both acts used.

Specht first met New Politics when the band opened for Panic! at the Disco, an American rock band that he also designs lighting for. “We shared a good rapport,” he said of the relationship. “They were fans of my previous work and I had an interest in designing for them.”

Part of Elation’s ACL Series of high-output narrow-beam LED effect lights, Specht explained why he chose the colour-changing ACL 360 Bar’s for the New Politics tour and how he incorporated them into his design. “I wanted to set New Politics’ show apart and highlight the electro-pop element,” he said.

“I used four-inch by six-inch truss towers lined along the upstage side of the deck and placed three ACL Bars and one Lumina Strip on each. They were spaced to where the ACL Bars would form a solid, evenly spaced LED line when placed in a vertical position. This combination gave me multiple geometric positions to form various background looks.”

The ACL 360 Bar is a versatile moving head effect batten with seven individual 15W RGBW LEDs and advanced collimator optic that produces a dense, laser-like four-degree beam from each lens. Combined with fast, continuous 360° pan and tilt rotation, a variety of dynamic movement effects are possible.

“Pixel mapping, LED effects and position transformation were the three focal points I was looking to get out of the ACL 360 Bars,” he stated. “The infinite pan and tilt was a great feature. Although I didn’t use it as much, it became a special highlight in the show when I did.”

At 22.5-inches long and only 10-inches high with a weight of almost 10kg, the ACL Bar packs a lot of effect into a relatively small package. “With the size and weight of these fixtures, I was able to make the co-headlining set changeovers extremely quick!” he says. “I bolted refrigerator dollies straight to the truss and baseplate. Once our set was over, I disconnected the home runs and wheeled them right off stage for disassembly!”

The ACL 360 Bars were supplied for the New Politics tour by Burst Sound & Lighting Systems of Detroit, a growing rental company who had supplied 200 of the units for the main stage at the Electric Zoo Festival last fall.

“I had worked with Burst owner Scott Ciungan on the Electric Zoo Festival this past September,” he recalled. “I saw them as the perfect fixture for the look I envisioned for New Politics. Along with the Lumina Strips, I had the perfect balance of clean LED colour and movement countered with a dirty tungsten blast that was great for silhouettes, which was perfect for New Politics’ electro-pop mixed with punk.”

New lighting innovation opens up new possibilities for lighting designers and the ACL 360 Bar is a good example. Alex commented: “The ACL 360 Bars allowed me to transform my design style. They helped me veer away from the profile, wash and beam fixture combination I found myself resorting to in the past few years.

“Although I maintained an organic feel to my show, these fixtures helped me break into a more cybernetic approach, with a little more ‘Tron’ feel. I’m looking forward to incorporating them into future designs.”