Robe spills onto Backseat Lovers tour

Photo: Steve Jennings

The Backseat Lovers were on the road with interesting production and lighting design created by Meagan Metcalf, with 22 Robe ESPRITES and 24 Tetra2 moving lights at the heart of the lighting rig.

Metcalf was offered an initial short tour with the band in early 2022 but as The Backseat Lovers are now on a much larger full production tour playing up to 5,000-capacity rock clubs, she was brought back into the fold.

Metcalf’s starting point was that the band had desired projection as a part of the show, from here the idea of the ‘pillowfort’ drape design evolved as a workable surface for projection from a single 21K source rigged at FOH, that also offered the y distinctive basement feel they wanted as a ‘base mood’ for the shows.

Once the draping and projection concept was developed, Metcalf looked at lighting where she had been wanting to use these two types of Robe fixtures for some time.This tour proved a perfect opportunity, having had them fully demonstrated at the Florida HQ of Robe North America, and again at LDI 2022 before making the final specification. Knowing that Robe Tetras are in high demand, she was delighted that lighting vendor LMG was able to supply.

The Tetra2s were arranged in two rows, upstage and mid-stage to amplify the depth of the space. All the profile fixtures on the rig were ESPRITES, with six located onstage at the sides, eight hung on the upstage truss and another eight positioned upstage on the floor behind the backdrop.

The back row of ESPRITES were used to back and blast light through set pieces onto the muslin adding another dimension of texturing to the picture. During programming with Gerry Dintelman, Metcalf built the Tetra2s thoughtfully into the show, starting off with some super-subtle candlelight flickering and twinkling in a selection of reds and ambers. “They do this brilliantly,” she commented.

The luminaires are used for a multiplicity of effects, various pixel effects are utilised through the set, with full-on flower’look used just once with huge impact. Metcalf remarked that the units are mainly being run at around 30% brightness for standard operation.

The ESPRITES she particularly wanted for the flat beam field which offers even coverage and high quality of light, and for their well-known colour mixing. The profiles needed to be a compact fixture in physical size as there’s not a massive amount of space in which to rig them, and the upstage deck luminaires needed to cover the backdrop from just 12ft away, so the 5.5 – 50° zoom was ideal for this scenario.

Metcalf likes the gobos and the power of the fixtures to be able to project through the props: “ESPRITES were always my first choice, I’m very pleased with the performance and they are doing exactly what I wanted,” she stated.

“I generally use colour for the translation of emotion in a song,” explained Metcalf. When you restrict the colour palette you can’t rely on it as such, but you create a very different emotional impact when you finally break the rule!” The colour palette starts off reserved and low key, lots of ambers, CTO whites and reds creating soft incandescent glowing looks, and this M.O. remains for about two-thirds of the set.