Robe Shakes Shoulders with Arsenal

Robe MegaPointes and Robe Spiiders - Arsenal Tour, Louise Stickland

Lighting Designer Wouter Verbeke chose Robe fixtures to be at the core of his cool and interesting lighting design for a high impact gig by Belgian band Arsenal at Antwerp’s famous Lotto Arena.

With their roots in electric dance, the band now embrace a lively mix of genres from African and Latin American rhythms to pop, hip hop, and indie rock. They are midway through a campaign for their sixth studio album, The Rush of Shaking Shoulders which was launched earlier in the year with a gig in Antwerp’s Old Post Office venue.

Verbeke had used Robe on that occasion too, and for many other shows in between, so it was a natural choice for this show, with lighting equipment supplied by rental specialist Splendit.

The Robe count included 28 Robe MegaPointes, 24 Robe Spikies, 28 Robe Spiiders, 22 Robe LEDBeam 150s and eight Robe Pointes.

The starting point for the lighting was that band leader Hendrik Willemyns wanted a sun which rose at the start of the show, playing a strong visual role throughout their performance and then descending towards the end.

The four-metre diameter sun was created using LED screen panels attached to a circular truss and Artist Akiko Nakayama created all the content. Verbeke and the band have worked with Nakayama before on key gigs, and prior to this show they discussed the colour themes and lighting for different songs so she could coordinate.

Verbeke wanted some small, lightweight punchy beamy lights around the sun, and 24 Robe Spikies provided a perfect solution. Verbeke wanted lights all around the stage from every angle. The Splendit crew installed a curved truss immediately above the tree line, which was rigged with 20 Robe MegaPointes. These were used prominently throughout the show for effects.

Verbeke started using Robe fixtures only a year ago and has been so impressed that he specified them for almost every project he has done since. He thinks Robe MegaPointes and Robe Spiiders are a perfect compliment to one another and make great base elements for any lighting rig.

The 22 Robe LEDBeam 150s were behind the trees, where they worked hard to blast through the dense foliage producing decorative and atmospheric effects, especially when the sun was up. Verbeke loves the fact that they are small, easy to use and have a great zoom.

Verbeke programmed and ran the show on a ChamSys console. He did some pre-vis, but basically, they had only one programming day beforehand with only part of the set in place. The first time he saw the stage with all the trees was on the day of the show – the foliage arrived in five climate-controlled trucks – and only then could he assess what did and didn’t work.

The band didn’t decide on the set list until the evening of the gig, so that meant he needed to be prepared for some improvisation. Luckily experience and creativity enabled him to produce a fabulous show with lots of stylistic diversity to match the breadth and dynamics of the music and without damaging the plants.

Splendit supplied all the lighting equipment, video and crew – via Gravity Design – the automation which lifted the sun up and down, operated by Rik Uyttersprot.