When Lighting Designer Trevor Ahlstrand was in search of a powerful yet compact lighting fixture to form the bulk of the floor package on Kane Brown’s current Live Forever tour, Elation Smarty Hybrid effects grabbed his attention before he ever laid eyes on the light itself.
“I was at a demo and it really caught my eye – how wide it filled the room and the crisp gobo projection,” the designer said. “When I looked to see what light was making the effects, I was surprised to see a fixture whose footprint was so small. I knew I needed a small fixture for Kane Brown so decided to take a closer look.”
Brown is a breakout success story who came to fame on YouTube several years ago and has seen his popularity grow ever since. “Live Forever,” which kicked off in Duluth, Georgia on January 10, is the artist’s first headlining arena tour and his first collaboration with Ahlstrand, who serves as production and lighting designer.
Ahlstrand worked with lighting and video vendor DCR Nashville to secure the Smarty Hybrid fixture, which he uses in impactful lighting design. “We use 20 Smarty Hybrids in the design and they fit nicely in the setup,” he says, noting that “Live Forever” is Kane Brown’s biggest production to date.
“They make up the bulk of the floor package and the output to size ratio of the fixture is excellent. We get a variety of looks out of them.”
Small, lightweight and fast, yet with good power at 11,000 lumens, Ahlstrand exploits the CMY colour-mixing unit’s spot/beam/wash capabilities on a show that, although country, can sometimes feel more akin to rock or pop. “It has great effects, the profile is clean and it has a nice prism, but it can also be beamy when it needs to be,” he said. “The frost is also good and together with the zoom it lets me use it for big washes.”
A total of 12 Elation Professional Smarty Hybrid units, positioned on a ramp at the backside of the set with a further eight located behind a wall of strobes, give an array of creative possibilities as an integral part of a larger lighting package. “They’re competing with big lights and hold up well, even against some large strobes,” the designer said, adding that they also cut through the large 12’ x 32’ LED wall of Elation 9mm EPT9IP LED video panels. Used throughout the show, the Smarty’s versatility allows them to go big for upbeat numbers or subtle like when they perform solo during some of Brown’s acoustic numbers.
Full-service event production company DCR Nashville is supplying the lighting and video package for the tour. Currently celebrating its 15th anniversary and counting acts such as Halsey, Chase Rice, Brantley Gilbert and Brett Young among their clientele, DCR has turned to Elation gear for years.
“Not only is the price point good, but Elation has also grown tremendously in quality and roadworthiness over recent years,” stated Jennifer Moore, VP of Sales & Marketing at DCR. “We’re thrilled to have Kane Brown as a new client and are pleased to be able to put the new Smarty Hybrid in Trevor’s capable hands.” DCR’s Smarty Hybrids join an inventory of Elation gear that includes nearly 400 EPT9IP LED video panels and over 100 ACL Bar 360 LED batten effect lights, along with Color Chorus LED battens, Cuepix Blinders, Protron 3K Strobes and Platinum Beam 5R Extreme moving head beam lights.
The Live Forever tour sees the 2018 AMA Favorite Country Male Artist playing sold-out dates into March. Brown will then be going back out on the road to support Jason Aldean, using a package that again includes Smarty Hybrids and a back wall of EPT9IP LED video panels.