Squeek Lights and CHAUVET Professional light Beartooth

Photo: Sarah Hess

Caleb Shomo, the frontman and founder of Beartooth told Victor Zeiser, head of Squeek Lights, that he wanted to hit the road with “an arena-level production that works in clubs.” this was achieved by Zeiser and lighting designer-programmer Ben Jarrett.

With its centre stage video wall displaying a stream of multi-layered images, the show created an arena-like vibe at every club, regardless of its size. This feeling was amplified by pyro effects and confetti cannons, laser patterns filling the air, and intense flashes of bold light from CHAUVET Professional Maverick Storm and PXL fixtures transforming the stage.

“We had many ‘moving parts’ in this production,” said Jarrett. “We had to handle load in, lighting, lasers, the video wall, follow spots, cameras, cryo jets and confetti blasters. Our venue size would change from 850 capacity to 3000 capacity, so we rarely had the same load from one show to the next. Our team, Mel Lopez, the V2 Tech-follow spot operator, and Gabe Osborn, L2 tech and special FX tech, deserve a lot of credit.”

Among the challenges that Jarrett and the team had to master as they navigated their way through this varied tour was figuring out how to retain the essence of their show while adapting their rig to different stages. “Learning what aspects of the show were most important, and what would give us the most bang for our buck, was critical,” he said. “The six side towers with three Maverick Storm 2 BeamWashes and Maverick Storm 1 Hybrid on top were ‘high value,’ so we made sure to make it fit each day.”

In addition to its 18 Maverick Storm 2 BeamWashes, the tour rig had six Maverick Storm 4 Profile fixtures, six Storm 4 Hybrids and six COLORado PXL Bar 16 motorised battens, arranged on the deck in line with the downstage edge of the drum riser.

Jarrett noted: “The Storm 4 Profiles were instrumental in delivering the ‘arena level production’ Caleb was asking for. The show would start in complete black with the sounds of a storm playing though the PA. Each night the audience would be snapped out of their preshow stupor with a blinding lighting crack from the Storm 4s pointed straight out into the audience. Then later in the first song “Sunshine” I used them to fill each space full of “sunrays” by utilising its awesome output power and zoom angles.”

“As for the Storm 2 BeamWashes, they were a lot of fun to program,” continued Jarrett. “The individual pixel control is everything I expect from a wash light, but more! They opened up a lot of split colour looks and eye candy opportunities for me. We really loved making effects on these fixtures. Another pleasant surprise was how good the pre-built macros were. I would frequently switch between my programmed effects to a macro since they were so easy to control. This let me switch up the pixel chases in a snap and get wildly different effects flipping back and forth. Very cool.”

“Beartooth has always had very solid colours define their album art, so that helped drive the overall ‘pink hue’ of the show,” he explained. “When the band would play a known hit from another album, I would use that album’s colour for the base colour of that song. This colour scheme matched up perfectly with the video content.”

In contrast to some previous Beartooth tours, which featured large guitar speaker cabinets as part of the design, this one had a more open stage, “The band wanted a ‘clean’ stage this time around, which meant no big groups of cabinets and lighting fixtures off to the sides, so room could be made for the video element,” said Jarrett.