LOS ANGELES – Eric Nam is a “natural born performer,” wrote one admiring critic when describing the US-born and South Korean-based star’s recently concluded “House on a Hill” North American tour. The multi-talented Nam’s smooth, engaging personality does indeed make him seem right at home on stage, but why stop there? His incredibly broad vocal range and graceful hip-swiveling dance moves propel him beyond the category of “performer,” and into the realm of pure artist.
Anyone who caught Nam on one of the 39 stops on this Beehive-Partner-produced tour, would find it hard to think otherwise. From the moment he emerged from the shadows to kick off his show with a spirited version of his hit “Sink or Swim,” Nam took fans on a magical musical journey that covered a range of emotions, from the sensual “You’re Sexy, I’m Sexy,” to the deeply contemplative “I Wish I Wasn’t Me.”
Matching Nam’s passion and reflecting the nuances of each song was a far-reaching and evocative Julien Reux lighting design that was programmed on the tour by Matt Reynolds, and featured CHAUVET Professional COLORado PXL Bar 16 and Color STRIKE M fixtures supplied by Kinetic Lighting.
Like the music of Nam himself, the lightshow was an inspired blend of boldness and subtlety. The mood on the stage was set by edge-to-edge color washes, often monochromatic with white highlights. In some segments of the show, bright beams flared out from center stage to the left and right, almost, as if opening a pathway for Nam. Throughout it all, regardless of how big the looks got, the focus was kept on the star.
“We wanted to have the audience focus on the scenic design, and when we had choruses, to have bigger light moments happen that highlighted the scenery, but at the heart of everything was always on Nam,” said Reux, owner of Black Lantern Creative. “As far as colors go, everyone who knows me knows that I love my ambers and CTO warm colors. I think in general, it’s the perfect balance of hue and saturation. Even though it’s my personal preference, it also played off with the artist and the aesthetics of the show.”
Playing a key role in creating this color-scape were the rig’s 23 COLORado PXL Bar 16 linear fixtures. “The PXL bars were hidden or trailed along the scenic piece and downstage edge,” said Reux. “I really wanted to illuminate the scenic wall without having the PXL Bar fixtures themselves too conspicuous. We used them this way to great effect. For example, we created some really cool looks when we had the PXL Bars hidden behind the set’s two white columns. They would sneak in light in between the columns and scenic wall to make a crease lighting effect”
The rig’s 11 Color STRIKE M fixtures were used to light the white Cyc, and to create some punchy strobe moments downstage. Drawing on the intensity of these fixtures, programmer Reynolds also relied on them to contribute to audience lighting, especially during sing-along moments.
“Matt did excellent work programming, as did Nick Perry our L1,” said Reux. “Matt and I have been working together for years, and we’re very familiar with what Nam likes. He also knows when to rip the audience blinders and strobe washes when our client wants to interact with the fans.”
Reynolds, like Reux, also kept an eye on how the lighting was going to look in social media photos and videos. “Nam’s fans like to take pictures,” said Reux. “They want to remember this show.”
Those photos and videos may be great for memories, but the thing that’s really most likely to stay with fans for years to come is the diverse and powerful Eric Nam performance itself, supported on this tour, by a lighting design that was more than up to the challenge of reflecting this gifted star’s full range of music.