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Söhne-light from Robe

Ian McMurray 30 April 2011
Söhne-light from Robe

Leading German lighting designer Gunther Hecker used 22 Robe LEDWash 600s as his key fixtures for the just-finished Die Söhne Mannheims European tour, an opportunity seized by the band to preview material for their forthcoming new album to be released in the autumn.

Söhne Mannheims is a popular German music band with massive energy and dynamics, featuring up to 17 members (with 13 on this tour) encompassing several musical genres including rap, R ‘n’ B, soul, hip hop and rock all fused into a unique and very distinctive style, achieving considerable commercial and critical acclaim.

Hecker has worked with Söhne Mannheims since 1999, during which time they have grown and developed into the phenomenon they are today. He has been a Robe fan since first using the 2500 series soon after its launch in 2006.

Robe’s Stage Banner was also his original idea. Developed initially as a custom product for a show he created for German pop singer Nena, Robe thought it was such a good idea that they decided to make it a production item.

Hecker had been wanting to try out the new Robe ROBIN LEDWash 600 since its launch at the end of 2010, and when the itinerary for this Söhne Mannheims tour was revealed, it presented the perfect opportunity.

The gigs varied from 200 to 6,500 capacities, and so for the smaller clubs and venues, he wanted a small, bright low power solution, and the LEDWash 600 ticked all the boxes.

He needed his rig to be very flexible, and that’s also why he chose LEDWash as the main fixture. They were all floor based for versatility and adaptability. This enabled at least some of his key fixtures to be fitted into whatever space was available onstage.

For the full size stage format, all 22 of the LEDWashes were located along the back just forward of the backline, around the sides and across the front of stage. Where there was the space, an expedient overhead rig – 6 bars of 6 PARs – and the PA was flown from a 6-legged ground support system.

Other than the LEDWashes and the PARs Hecker used 4 x 8-lite Moles, and 2 Atomic strobes.

The set was equally minimal – 21 panels (in full size configuration) of white canvas squares flown off the back and front trusses to add some architectural definition and depth to the stage.

With 13 people onstage to light and a two and a half hour set, it was a bold move to rely on 22 moving lights, but Hecker’s experience and the functionality of the LEDWashes made him confident that it was the right decision.

Matching the hard driving action and massive energy of the band, a lot of the lighting looks were straightforward single and duo colour mixes. With the LEDWashes located on the floor, it enabled a myriad of moody shadows to be projected onto the back wall and the upstage canvas squares and for the front line band to be crisply silhouetted, all adding to the excitement of the performance.  

All lighting equipment for the Söhne Mannheims tour was supplied out of Satis & Fy’s Werne office, including the Road Hog console that Hecker used to run the show. He worked alongside his two crew – Hanna List and Ralph Hackstedt.

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