Underoath has hit the road on its Blind Obedience tour featuring Ayrton Mistral fixtures from SONUS Productions. ACT Entertainment is the exclusive distributor of Ayrton lighting in North America.
Based in Moorestown, New Jersey and with offices in Raleigh, North Carolina, SONUS Productions is a lighting, video and audio rental, production and design house specialising in touring, anime and gaming, and conventions. For Underoath’s Blind Obedience tour the company is furnishing all the lighting and audio equipment and SONUS Productions Director of Touring Accounts, Lenny Sasso, is serving as the Lighting Designer and Programmer.
Underoath kicked off the 24-city, cross-country tour, which features special guests Periphery and Loathe, in Silver Spring, Maryland on 3 March and will wrap in Nashville on 2 April.
Sasso has a history with Underoath having previously worked with band management and on lighting design for some of Underoath’s festivals and European dates. The Blind Obedience tour is the first with Sasso’s own lighting rig and design.
“We’re using Ayrton Mistrals on this tour, and they look great,” he reported. “Mistrals have become my go-to spot for larger club tours like this one. The band loves them!”
Sasso says Sonus Pro is “a big Ayrton fan” with Mistrals and Eurus currently in its inventory; the counts of each will grow this year. The company is also considering adding MagicBlade FX and Zonda fixtures.
“I like the Mistral’s colour a lot and the way they quickly snap through colours,” Sasso explained. “I don’t tend to use a lot of colour – the majority of this show is monochrome or two-tone – but Mistral can snap so quickly to different colours that house rig fixtures can’t keep up with them.
“I also like how tight I can get the beam, and I love the gobo package. Mistral may be small in size but it packs a nice punch for performances in these larger-size clubs.” Sasso has the Mistrals stacked two each on six U-torm towers upstage of the band.
He explains how the Mistrals act as bridges in certain songs. “In Dangerous Business there’s a big audience chanting moment where we point every Mistral to the audience, and they go pure white with a big gobo look. It happens two or three times during the set and fills the room with a beautiful look.”
The band’s performance of Too Bright to See, Too Loud to Hear, starts low with a guitar. “The Mistrals slowly fade in to match the guitar then open wide so a gobo fills the stage and complements the rising swell of the music,” Sasso added.
He notes that the tour marks the first time that “we have no DMX on stage. We go straight from CAT5 to a Ubiquiti switch on stage so each fixture is its own node; we cut the amount of cabling and theoretically there’s zero latency. It’s working very well.” Sasso believes this method will become more widespread as the DMX count for many fixtures becomes increasingly high and unwieldy.
Sasso has a grandMA2 light controlling lighting for the tour. ACT Entertainment is also the exclusive distributor of MA Lighting products in North America. The lighting designer and programmer moved to MA about half-a-dozen years ago and says he’s never looked back. “I’ve never thought about using another console. I can’t say enough about grandMA. This platform is able to replicate what I want to do. It gets out everything I have in my head and computes with me,” he remarked.
SONUS Productions owns a grandMA3 light, which just finished Trixie and Katya Live, a new tour starring the legends from RuPaul’s Drag Race. A second grandMA3 light is on order. Sasso plans to use grandMA3 for the upcoming Spiritbox tour for which he will handle lighting design and programming.
“Although we didn’t need any special support from ACT for Underoath, we have a close relationship with them and have only the best things to say about the ACT team,” Sasso concluded.