Scott Holthaus accents Alice in Chains’ return to the stage with CHAUVET

Alice and Chains perform their first live show in three years with 40 Bandit Lites-supplied CHAUVET Professional fixtures. Photo: Todd Kaplan

Alice In Chains hadn’t performed a live concert in three years when the band took the stage on 10 August 2022 at The Star Lake Pavilion. Keeping pace and capturing their sounds visually was a multi-faceted lighting design by Scott Holthaus with assistance from Cort Lawrence that included over 40 CHAUVET Professional fixtures, which like the rest of the rig, was supplied by Bandit Lites.

Like the music it supported, the Holthaus-Lawrence lightshow started out with a bang. Moments after AIC walked on to a darkened stage, illuminated only with hints of deep blue light, the rig erupted, led by the five raked LED video fingers over its centre. Rising as they went from upstage to downstage, these fingers served as intense illumination sources in their own right, in addition to being used to display a wide variety of images and breakout patterns. Content was created by Surround and run by Video Director, Leaf Dixon.

At times, these images moved across the video fingers, as if they were keys on a piano. This not only reflected the beat of the music, it also helped create a sense of time and space over the stage. “The fingers were our main design concept,” said Holthaus. “Our video director and content creator deserve a great deal of credit. We relied on the video fingers to create a forced perspective vanishing point. Also, I really loved how the fingers delineated space and how they and the stark simplicity of the lights supported one another. Working the fingers and the lights, we created simple lines of repeating patterns.”

Contributing to that light were 40 Rogue R2X Wash and three COLORado Solo Batten IP65-rated fixtures. Arranged behind and to either side of the video fingers, the RGBW moving washes helped to create a blow-through effect backdrop, their wide zoom range (7.3ﹾ to 64.3ﹾ ) allowing coverage areas to be changed for varied looks.

Throughout the show, Holthaus kept the colour scheme simple, sticking to white with bold splashes of a single hue. “Power in simplicity,” he said. “We never had more than two colours at once. There was a much greater impact this way.”

Adding a sense of proximity between the band and the audience, which added to the impact of the show, was the stage’s beaded curtain. To accentuate this critical scenic piece, Holthaus had it lit with three COLORado Solo Batten IP65 linear fixtures. “We found them to be the perfect choice for lighting the curtain,” he said of the RGBAW washes.

The design team also enhanced the mood on stage through the adroit use of dark spaces and shadows. Of course, the metal tinged grunge that defines Alice In Chains also calls for some searing intensity that fills the entire venue. They got both on this tour, and then some. “It was so important to create dark space with this band,” concluded Holthaus. “Their music commands darkness between the light.”