SJ Lighting Goes Elation for Crush Concert Designs

Adam Kaplan, ASK Media Productions Inc.

Insomniac’s annual Crush concerts are the happening EDM events around Valentine’s Day. In mid-February, EDM enthusiasts gathered for Crush San Fran, Crush SoCal and Crush Arizona for a celebration of heavy beats and beating hearts with a line-up that featured top names like Afrojack and other hot DJs.

This year’s Crush concerts proved to be another spectacular EDM triumph from promoter Insomniac Events, headed by CEO Pasquale Rotella, who again called on Steve Lieberman and his team at SJ Lighting to create the stimulating atmosphere. SJ Lighting worked with lighting vendors Felix Lighting (Crush San Fran, Crush SoCal) and Hardwired Production (Crush Arizona) on the events.

Lieberman is known for his lighting and production designs for huge EDM events like Electric Daisy Carnival and Ultra Music Festival, events that draw hundreds of thousands of people, yet he puts just as much design focus onto smaller events like Crush that draw anywhere from 2,500-5,000. “Even though this is not a massive event such as EDC, we still want to create the best looking show we can for the venue,” he said. “If I’m more limited as far as venue size, I’m still not limited in design. We still create layers of lighting that are full and impactful and work in the venue.”

The designer created a broad and balanced look for the Crush shows using four layers of lighting – Platinum Beam 5R moving heads, Colour Chorus 72 LED battens, Cuepix Blinder WW2 fixtures and strobes – an even distribution of products that maintained a layered look that gave the show depth and dynamism.

Although configurations for each show differed slightly, central to all three were tiers of horizontal LED screens fronting the DJ booth that led to a heart-shaped truss, the ideal stage element for the occasion. The Platinum Beam, Colour Chorus 72 and Cuepix Blinder fixtures lined the heart truss and also worked from angled truss fingers each side of the stage, as well as from overhead trusses used to immerse the audience in colour and effect.

The 6-foot Colour Chorus battens provided big wash looks that gave the show its base colours while highlighting the truss design. It is a fixture that Lieberman is well familiar with and has become a staple of his EDM show designs. “They are durable and high intensity and fit our needs when detailing and highlighting a truss design, not just colouring it,” he said. Lieberman is no stranger to Elation’s popular Platinum Beam as well, which he used to power out huge, tight-beamed long throws that looked spectacular mid-air. And then when looking to add texture to the look he turned to the fixture’s prism and gobo patterns. He also had the high-impact white light Cuepix Blinders at his disposal when the moment called for that extra punch to invigorate the audience.

After an ever-shorter holiday lull in the EDM event calendar, Crush’s February events have proven a popular kick-start to a young year. Crush San Fran took place February 11th at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, the same day that Crush SoCal took place at the NOS Events Centre in San Bernadino. Crush Arizona took place a week later at the Rawhide Event Centre near Phoenix.