Slaves Satisfied With Colour Sound

Illustrations by Francis Clegg

Colour Sound Experiment supplied lighting for punk duo Slaves most recent tour which culminated in a highly animated show at Brixton Academy in London, with lighting created by Francis Clegg, part of design collective MIRRAD.

Clegg came to the table with a scheme to match the energy and ebullience of the band’s live shows.

Brixton was the biggest venue on the tour, the showcase gig and a huge deal for the rising star band, so the lighting was based on this space, but the rig also had to be adaptable and scale-able to fit all the other venues, which included a round of academies.

Colour Sound’s H (Haydn Cruickshank) said, “Francis is very talented, he has an excellent eye for aesthetics and a fantastic feel for music. All his designs are fresh and interesting, and it was a great pleasure to be the supplier on the different legs of this one.”

Slaves toured through most of the latter part of 2015 in support of their acclaimed debut album, ‘Are You Satisfied?

Clegg explained that the band like the stage to be open and clear of clutter so they can maximise the space and zoom around, so this was at the essence of the design, with lighting flown above, and floor kit positioned in an arc upstage of their performance area and well out of the way.

The other proviso was that they wanted it to look chaotic and random in keeping with their vibe.

Clegg decided to light the set using whites and colour temperature variations with only a few colours occasionally introduced, so the positioning of fixtures – for all the apparent craziness of the design – was vital. “The lighting had to look exciting and different right through the set, even though it was primarily in one colour,” he stated.

However, he didn’t have to worry as the design produced a massive amount of dynamics and many contrasts, sometimes being as much about the blackness as the light.

A series of three and four metre trusses were installed in the roof at jaunty angles on 20 points, some sub-hung below each other, all in a consistently anarchic style.

The 10 angled trusses were each populated with four ProLights Diamond 7 LED beam fixtures – Colour Sound has a quantity of these great value products which Clegg stated he loves and has used on PSB and also Snarky Puppy. They created great four-finger ACL-style and other rock ‘n’ roll punctuations.

The rest of the fixtures were scattered around, by his own admission, it was “a bit of a pain” to rig everything, but the Colour Sound crew of rigger John Lahiffe and Stu Barr took everything in their stride. Francis was also assisted on the tour by LX tech Tom Taylor.

The other moving lights were all Robe – 10 BMFL Spots, eight LEDWash 1200’s, six LEDWash 600’s and 16 Robe CycFX 8’s, the latter illuminating the backdrop.

There were 20 Martin Atomics for the strobe-tastic moments and 24 Showtec active two lite blinders dotted around, all adding to the improvisational nature of the show, which Clegg ran completely ‘live’.

The BMFLs were chosen because he wanted a big, bright, bold spot light to cut through the full-on wall of effects, strobing and blinders, and to spot the band in stark whites at various points.

There was no front truss, but Colour Sound supplied two Robert Juliat Super Corrigan follow spots for picking up the two band members.

The set started with minimal lighting and a 50ft wide mid-stage cloth on an electric kabuki in for the first few songs, which then dropped to reveal the majority of the rig behind.

Clegg ran all the lighting on an Avolites Sapphire Touch with a Quartz running as backup supplied by MIRRAD.

“It was brilliant – as always – working with Colour Sound,” commented Clegg, “the people are great, the workflow is very efficient and everything runs smoothly with lots of smiles!”