Australian psychedelic band Tame Impala’s incredible year reached its zenith at the Coachella Festival recently. Headlining on the Saturday night, at the annual extravaganza held in Indio, CA, the big occasion gave innovative lighting designer Rob Sinclair and his technical team full rein to unleash over 300 fixtures from GLP, supplied by Christie Lites on the set.
The LD had been brought into the Tame Impala family back in 2017 by creative director, Willo Perron. “The band wanted a super precise show,” he remembers, describing the set today as “a modern take on 60’s psychedelia, which hopefully really messes with people’s heads.”
Among the GLP fixtures were no fewer than 250 impression X4 Bars (in a mix of Bar 10s and longer Bar 20 battens) — a deployment that really enhanced the psychedelic mood.
The design was “an adaptation of the touring rig, but with some iconic statement pieces purpose designed for Coachella,” he explained, “It’s all about gradients, swirling colours and complex intensity chases. We needed to be able to make these gradients with everything available so the colour depth was important. The locking together of the X Bars was also essential, and I don’t think we could have used anything else other than the Bars.”
The X4 Bar 20’s were positioned on the floor and in towers and the Bar 10’s are situated inside the ring, in order to make the segments of the overhead ring smaller. Sinclair’s production design also included 60 JDC1 hybrid strobes—for a specific reason. “We needed a huge bank of colour behind the band and the JDC1 gave us that, within budget. We tried pixel mapping but ultimately got better effects from programming them as lights.
At the operational end, his sentiments were supported by touring LD Jon Derrington, who was working off two Hog 4 consoles, with two Playback Wings. He confirmed that the X-Bars had played a key role in delivering the gradient colours required and the shapes they were making on the stage.
“Once I figured out the fastest way to programme the Bar20s, it was easy. With a lot of complex chases and colour gradients in this show, having an easy way to grab fixtures is a must.” In order to make the colour gradients and chases, these were run in 88ch mode to utilize the individual pixels.
As for the JDC1 there were several moments in the show where only the LED blinder, the tube flash (or both) required. “So I put them in Aggressive Mode for extra face melting.”
Derrington clearly knows his way around the hybrid strobe, having been using them as far back as 2017 when they first launched. “We had the older demo versions on our first show, and we run them in 23ch mode.”
The final word came from Sinclair, who paid generous praise to Christie Lites. “They have been looking after us on both sides of the Atlantic, and the gear, support and people are all second to none.”