Stormzy’s crew reflect on a landmark All Points East set

Photo: Andrew 'Timmsy' Timms

Stormzy made his first UK performance this year, headlining the opening night of All Points East (APE) at London’s Victoria Park.

“The first hour centres on ‘This is what I mean’, his most recent album,” Lighting Designer Tim Routledge told us. “Bronski and Amber this time reflect a more soulful Stormzy. (Chris ‘Bronski’ Jablonski and Amber Rimell of Tawbox who lead on show design). The show is in three parts: a jazz lounge look for the first hour, a mid-section filled with his more familiar high-energy hits and then a return to the more sumptuous initial palette for the final third.”

An abundance of golden velvet drapes set the tone for that first section, all lit by Routledge in suitable colours. There is a complete absence of video content in this first section. In complementary fashion, camera director Mark Davies provides a more restrained, lingering IMAG to the APE stage side screens than we have seen on previous Stormzy outings.

Part two is filled with bangers and classics. The rear tabs initially open just twenty-five percent to expose a slice of back LED screen in portrait. Then as they draw fully open, kabuki drops reveal six 7m tall vertically rotating flats. “These custom pieces are blow-through,” explained Routledge. “One side is clad in lights (Neg Earth), the other in tiles of ROE V8 T (Video Design).”

Tawbox also conceived the rotators to track left and right. Featuring some new content commissioned by them, the flats move between and behind each other. This considered choreography, coupled with Routledge’s deft application of light, now characterised by primaries and strobes, alters the perceived depth and breadth of the stage, enhancing the dynamic of Stormzy’s performance.

Part three sees a return to the more subtle hues of the first section, Stormzy’s crafted set-list, not least a potent rendering of ‘Blinded By Your Grace’ set against a content-created church tableau.

“This is now his fourth distinct major production headline show and it’s very different from what we’ve seen on previous tours,” concluded Routledge. “To make such a radical change possible for what is a one-off performance with limited rehearsal time requires a well-established team.”

Led by Tour Manager Trevor Williams, the team comprises Bronski, Amber and Routledge, James Scott MA3 lighting programmer, Sam Lisher disguise gx 3 programmer, and camera director Mark Davies, a Video Design regular.