Robe Goes in Circles with Nephew

Photos : Louise Stickland

Lighting designer Theis Wemuth of design company Create This was asked to produce a production design – lighting, video and set – for Danish alt-rockers Nephew’s 2018 reunion shows which will be followed by an extensive arena tour in 2019.

For this, he specified 149 Robe MegaPointes as the main moving light fixtures.

They were chosen multiple reasons, including their multifunctionality and brightness which Wemuth knew would be a perfect complement and contrast to the epic 420 square metre widescreen video backdrop that was central to the look and aesthetics of the stage.

8 Robe BMFL Spots were on the front truss, 6 working as remote follow spots in conjunction with 6 Robe RoboSpot systems, together with other lights, all of which were supplied by Copenhagen based rental specialist Comtech.

It was an ambitious, high-profile and high-pressure gig, with 10 trucks of equipment, limited production and tech time and an enormous amount of expectation.

Wemuth was chosen as the designer for his innovative approach to visual, lighting and stage design and his penchant for thinking ‘out-of-the-box’.

A recurring theme of the band’s new music is the concept of ‘what goes around comes around’, circles, infinity, 360-degree cycles – both natural, artificial, literal and metaphorical, historical and contemporary.

These ideas informed the depth and visuality of the video content much of which was created by Nephew’s keyboard player Rene Thalund who is also a prolific visual artist.

Circles and spheres were also an inspiration to Wemuth for the basic set architecture, with 3 distinctive curved steel beams per side radiating out from the centre and breaking up the rectangular LED screen.

The 6 steel curves were each rigged with 12  Robe MegaPointes and the curves metal arcs were lined with LED tape which was pixel mapped.

The 35-metre-wide screen was made up from two different resolution surfaces – 5 mm for the central section flanked by two sections of 30mm – a decision partially led by practicalities and keeping the weight and rigging time reasonable in compressed load in and rig times.

Despite the short production time for these shows – with no production rehearsal or run through, but Wemuth received the music beforehand and was, therefore, able to do a reasonable amount of pre-vis – video and lighting were beautifully and fluidly integrated, working seamlessly together.

In addition to the 72 Robe MegaPointes on the 6 curved steel beams, there was a row of 17 fixtures on the back truss, with the rest positioned on the deck and around the risers down the sides and front of the stage, grouped in threes to give an ACL-style look when being run in beam mode.

He declared: “I honestly believe that MegaPointe does not compromise at all when running in beam, spot or wash mode – every time I get a perfect result! It’s absolutely the best ‘hybrid’ around right now”.

The BMFL Spots were in a line on the front truss. The 6 in the middle of the row were running with the 6 RoboSpot BaseStations … all located at the back of the stage, while the 2 standard Robe BMFL Spots were focussed on the keyboard and drum positions.

Also on the main stage rig were 37 strobes and a load of blinders.

A circular truss was flown above the B-stage in the middle of the audience where the band played an acoustic of the set amidst their fans. This was rigged with 12 Robe Spiiders alternating with 12 Robe Pointes.

Wemuth programmed and ran the show on a grandMA2 light console, assisted at the first show in Herning by Anders Tinggaard. He also triggered the Green Hippo media servers – tech’d by Johan Kvartborg – running the video cues via the lighting desk.