Speeding Bullet to Heaven with Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi, known for his distinctive atmospheric and emotionally-gripping live performances has just finished the first leg of a new US tour supporting his “Speeding Bullet to Heaven” tour, complete with a moody and evocative lighting design by Brett Lorins with Robe moving lights right at its heart.

Lorins has worked with the artist for five years and coordinates both lighting and video aspects of his live performances. He’s been a big advocate of Robe for the past seven years and includes Robe products on his riders as often as possible. For this one, the rig included 10 x MMX Spots, 12 x LEDWash 300s and two LEDWash 600s with the MMX Spots being the main workhorses. This core touring package was complemented by some house lights at each venue.

Six MMX Spots were rigged on 6 x 8 foot upright sections of truss onstage, three positioned stage left and three stage right behind a 26 foot wide brick wall set piece. Four more were mid and downstage, with 10 of the LEDWash 300s primarily placed to illuminate the set and double as aerial washes and effects. The other two LEDWash 300s were downstage on the deck and used to side light Cudi – who’s not a fan of follow spots or front light – and the two LEDWash 600s were also on the floor to cross light him from a low mid-stage position.

Brett has found a few tricks to help light Cudi subtly and tastefully in keeping with the oeuvre of the performance, including carefully selected gobos in well-positioned profiles, however the best way he’s found to light and colour him – and for him still to feel comfortable is side light. The MMX Spots were picked for their versatility said Lorins. “They do anything I ask – I can open up the iris, throw in a gobo and envelope the whole audience in a big sweep, or zoom down, remove the color and have a razor-sharp ACL style beam.”

Cudi’s music is dynamic and dramatic, it’s exciting to light and texture and he likes it edgy, all giving Lorins plenty of creative latitude!He thinks the MMX Spots have great gobos for painting the stage and are excellent for creating the negative spaces that Cudi loves and plays into. “He’s very situationally aware and knows how to ‘play the light’ exceptionally well.”

One of the visual notes from Cudi for this tour was to have a bit of a party atmosphere – he’s been referring to his shows as ‘the clubhouse’ – so the MMX Spots and their prominent placement above the wall has helped create this vibe as well as doing all the effects and punctuation, with the LEDWash 300s mainly used for the set.

Cudi’s request was to use as few lights as possible to light the set and keep them as hidden as possible, which needed some creative thinking and for which the tidy and unobtrusive LEDWash 300s were ideal.The LEDWash 600s and 300s used for the side washes with their zoom were also able to wash the whole mid-stage area and produce some mid-air colour effects in the haze. “The saturated colours of the LEDWash are exceptional, and it’s great that all the fixtures’ colour temperatures match, so you can produce a uniform spread of beautiful, even colour right across the stage,” explained Lorins.