NASHVILLE – Cassadee Pope may be one of hottest young singers to come out of Nashville in a long time, but to describe her music as “country” is only half true. There are, as Rolling Stone magazine observed, “undeniably two sides to Cassadee Pope.” Seamlessly mixing sweet Shania Twain-like melodies with edgier full throated vocals, Pope, the first female winner of The Voice, creates a sound that is uniquely her own.
On her current tour opening for superstar Chris Young, Pope is supported by a Michael Stanley-designed lightshow that’s as freewheeling and multi-faceted as her music, thanks in part to some very versatile Rogue R1 FX-B fixtures from CHAUVET Professional, supplied by Bandit Lites. Stanley, who is also the programmer and lighting director for Chris Young, used 12 of the rotating Rogue fixtures in his floor package for Pope after consulting with the Bandit Lites team.
“Cassadee and her TM Don Muzquiz showed interest in going for a linear look,” he recalled. “Mike Golden, Cassadee’s Account Manager at Bandit, pitched the R1 FX-B to me, and Jake Tickle at Bandit demoed it. After we saw it, we jumped all over the idea. The linear shape of the fixture obviously could give us the orientation we wanted. But beyond that, we knew that all of the angles and effects we could get from the Rogue’s rotations and movements could give us the kind of exciting looks that reflected Cassadee’s music.”
Stanley positioned the Rogue R1 FX-Bs inside 10’ vertical truss with guide rods. The truss is built on pallets arranged in a staggered configuration to allow sweeping, unbroken coverage of the stage. Like the artist herself, the Rogues in Stanley’s rig convey a myriad of emotions throughout the performance.
“I built the Rogue’s pallets in a staggered position, so in 360° tilt there’s ability for consistent sweeping without any large breaks and bursts of rolling fans,” said Stanley. “At different points during the set, we’ll use them for blinders and big beam looks, along with some crowd sweeping effects to reflect the mood of the music. They definitely build as the show goes on. We get some big looks using the 360° tilt close to the end of the set. Cassadee has a fun and dynamic show, and the Rogues keep pace.”
For Pope, touring with Chis Young caps off a magical year of collaboration with the platinum recoding star. Her duet with Young, “Think of You,” reached the top of the US Country Airplay chart in May, 2016.
From Stanley’s perspective, however, being the lighting designer for Pope and the programmer/director for Chris Young presented some challenges. “Being Chris Young’s PM/LD, and being heavy into festival season, didn’t leave me with a lot of time,” he said. “I didn’t have an opportunity to see Cassadee’s rig before day one of the tour. I programmed most of the show in a hotel room before seeing it in person. Of course, once I saw it I was blown away. Our Bandit Crew Chief Andrew Jacoby is the board op for this, and he’s doing a phenomenal job.”
In addition to the Rogue R1 FX-Bs, the Cassadee Pope rig, which is controlled by a grandMA2 Lite, is comprised of moving spots, washes and blinder panels. “We needed the rig to be streamlined because of trailer space and the fast set changes required,” said Stanley. “We couldn’t afford to have a lot of moving parts.”
Not a lot of moving parts? Certainly – but a lot of movement was called for to keep up with this versatile artist’s dynamic music, and that is exactly what Stanley and the Rogue R1 FX-Bs in his rig delivered.