Rebel Hearts for First Aid Kit Tour

Martin Jem Roadie Glaciators X-Tremes - First Aid Kit Tour, Louise Stickland

Swedish duo First Aid Kit’s world tour kicked off in January 2018 after their Ruins album dropped, and they have just completed their tour dates in the UK. The edgy and intelligent visual show that accompanied the tour was created by Lighting Designer, Franki McDade who used lighting and video equipment supplied by Colour Sound Experiment.

Colour Sound has provided lighting and crew for previous tours with the band, but this was their largest and most comprehensive to date in terms of production. Colour Sound’s Haydn Cruickshank, commented: “I have known Franki since she first started her professional career – she worked hard and was an extremely good and conscientious lighting technician. She’s always had a great flair for imagination.” In terms of design, this is one of Franki’s largest tours to date, during which she collaborated with Bryte Design’s Paul ‘Pablo’ Beckett for video content as well as input from First Aid Kit members, Johanna and Klara Söderberg.

The projection was important on this tour. The projection system – comprising the backdrop and Resolume laptops running the content – is a universal item of production, so a key start point for the lighting design was the backdrop, which is made from a white Showtex DekoTaft Crunch crushed taffeta fabric. Chosen for its distinctive textural nature, which is ideal for; projections, dealing with lighting and moving images due to its colour gradients, and its light weight and portability.

McDade selected lights for the quality of their optics to bring maximum colour and depth to the stage, also fixtures that finessed and were nicely controlled with 29 Robe MegaPointes as the primary moving lights on the rig. “Their multi-functionality was important,” explained McDade. “As MegaPointes are equally as good and effective in beam, spot or wash modes. It was like having triple the amount of lights onstage. The fact that they are smaller fixtures without compromising on optics was a big bonus”.

Upstage was 12 Robe MegaPointes, two on each of 6 vertical pre-rigged trussing towers, some were positioned on wing trusses either side of the stage, some downstage on the deck, with the remainder on the overhead rig. McDade chose Robe LEDWash 600s for the main wash luminaire. “I wanted something simple to do the job elegantly and with good colours” she stated. Twelve of these were deployed on the floor, with nine in the roof.

The projection screen was accompanied by a row of GLP Impression XBar 20s, 12 on the floor and 12 in the air. At Brixton, a large glitter ball was suspended above the middle of the auditorium, lit with 4 Claypaky Scenius Unicos on a flown truss with the mirrorball for a classic stage effect.

Colour Sound provided 2 Martin Jem Roadie Glaciators X-Tremes that were augmented by 1 low smoke generator to provide laser effects in the show as a contrasting light source for the final song of the set. These came in the form of 14 4-Watt Starbeams, positioned on the front and back trusses and across the floor.

McDade started working with First Aid Kit as the Lighting Programmer in 2015. The touring schedule has been hectic in 2018, a trend that continues with more European shows over Christmas 2018, followed by Australia in 2019, then arenas in Sweden, finishing with a performance at Stockholm’s legendary Globe.