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Renegade designs lighting for Kasabian tour

UK rock band have been on a 'pre-tour' to warm up for major appearances later in the year. It seems the band prefer an 'old skool' light show - and lighting design practice Renegade duly obliged.

Nick Gray of London-based creative lighting design practice Renegade has designed the lighting for the current Kasabian tour, which sees the UK indie rockers play several warm-up shows ahead of headline slots at leading UK festivals, Rockness in Inverness and the Isle of Wight, as well as Rock Werchter in Belgium.

Renegade has worked with the band for the last four years, each time developing a unique and strong visual theme for their acclaimed live performances.

Gray’s design is based around two trussing arches which move into three different positions during the show, starting in a position flat to the stage. These are automated via a Kinesys system which is supplied by the tour’s lighting contractor Neg Earth. The show is operated on the road by Paul Kell working for Renegade.

The starting point for this design – key elements of which will also be condensed into a floor-based festival package to augment the house rigs at each event to ensure continuity and style – was last year’s West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum tour, which saw the band perform inside an LED ‘picture frame’.

Gray wanted to evoke a completely different ambience on stage for this tour which is not related to any album – the release of their fourth studio album is slated for autumn – and give it an identity of its own.

Discussions with the band revealed that they favoured a big ‘old skool’ lightshow, with lots of classic beam effects and beautiful picturesque balanced looks. He therefore decided on a departure from video elements and to concentrate on lighting alone to create a bold, geometrically balanced visual picture.

He also took into account standard Kasabian prerequisites like their dislike of front lighting, so the front truss is minimalist, with eight Source Fours for very subtle key lighting, plus four strobes and four blinders.

The arches are rigged with batches of three Clay Paky Alpha Beam 300 moving lights, lots of i-Pix BB4 LED blinders and drop bars containing Martin Professional MAC 301 LED washes also grouped together in threes.

Downstage on the floor are two MAC 2K washes per side to cross light the band from low levels, again keeping it subtle and relatively subdued along the front of stage. “The idea is to have a dramatic, more theatrical style that plays with areas of darkness and shadow rather than direct lighting,” explained Gray.

Upstage at the back is a row of eight Clay Paky Alpha Beam 1500s, mounted on truss sections on the floor, to provide dramatic back light and ‘beam technology’ effects.

When they play festivals, all the lights – MAC 301s, BB4s, blinders and the Alpha Beam 1500s – are rigged onto four 2.5 metre truss sections and a series of upright scaffolding pieces which are wheeled on- and offstage quickly and efficiently in the changeover.

There were no rehearsals at the start of the tour; they went straight into the first show in Sheffield, with Paul Kell using a Hog 3 for control and taking advantage of Renegade’s WYSIWYG facilities to pre-plot as much of the show as possible.

“It’s great to be out with Kasabian again; we love working with them and each year they grow and develop and allow us to continue being innovative with the look and feel of the live show,” said Gray. “It’s going to be a big year for them, specially once the album is released, with some large shows planned for later on and the album that promises to be awesome.”

Renegade are also busy with other current music and concert touring projects, including Faithless, who are out with a new design from Jonny Gaskell plus Orbital and G2 featuring Groove Armada’s “Red Light Decks & Effects” DJ set.