Erwin Van Lokeren’s New Looks For Racoon

Posted on July 2, 2024

Photo: Picturesk

A lot can happen over two-and-a-half years, especially when you’re an award-winning band that has become a national icon. Following the pandemic, mellow rock masters Racoon embarked on an extensive tour of The Netherlands in support of their album.

Being the kind of band that thrives on audience interaction, the quartet performed at a very wide variety of venues, from amphitheaters and festivals to clubs and theatres during their busy 30-month tour. Each show had its own distinctive atmosphere, which is why Racoon’s long-time lighting designer, Erwin Van Lokeren created unique looks for every stop along the way.

Photo: Picturesk

For the final shows of Racoon’s extended run, Van Lokeren has woven together many of those looks from the past two-and-a-half years into a stunning and transformative tapestry. Moving seamlessly through a spectrum of emotions, his design blends live images of the band’s members on a blow-through video wall with evocative (mostly warm white) light projected from multiple angles.

“I took all those designs from previous tours for this album shuffled them and created a new look with all those ideas,” Van Lokeren said of this design. “Because Racoon brings easy listening to pop music it’s important to create minimalistic looks on a big stage while also making the looks big when appropriate. For this design, I worked with see-through LED wall with lights behind to give the set an industrial big look. However, I will use only some parts of the video wall, or not use it at all at times, to create a more intimate look.” Van Lokeren’s production design is keeping audiences deeply engaged through the 105-minute show by constantly evolving and building up to a final “wow” segment. He refrains from using all the fixtures in his rig until he is about two-thirds of the way through his show, at which point he turns up the intensity level.

Photo: Picturesk

Creating this diverse range of looks demands a large and versatile rig. Splendit ensured that Van Lokeren had all the necessary tools at his disposal, supplying him with a rig that features 146 CHAUVET Professional fixtures. Include in this impressive collection are the Maverick MK3 Profile CX, Maverick Storm 1 Hybrid, STRIKE 1, STRIKE Array 4, STRIKE Array 2C, and STRIKE Array 1.

Speaking of the STRIKE units in this rig, Van Lokeren said, “My idea for this show was to go with mostly warm white, the STRIKE LED fixtures are perfect for that. They can really be dimmed low to give me that beautiful warm glow red shift. Then, when I use them at full power, I get an amazing output which is perfect for these big arena shows. (Van Lokeren is using 38 STRIKE 1, 24 STRIKE Array 4, 20 STRIKE Array 2C, and 20 STRIKE Array 1 fixtures in all.)

Photo: Picturesk

The 10 Maverick MK3 Profile CX fixtures in his rig serve as front lights, while his 34 Maverick Storm 1 Hybrids are being used in the main grid above the stage, as well as on the side truss and floor.

All of the fixtures in his rig work in harmony with the massive blow through video screen that runs across the back of the stage. The wall displays live images of the band members shot from different angels from four remote cameras on stage, and one FOH camera.
“I wrote complete instructions on how I wanted the screen setup and the effects used in that song and also all the important things that need to happen in the song for the cameras,” said Van Lokeren. “So, the camera crew and the operator for the remote cameras were completely briefed on what needed to happen. During the show, my assistant LD, Bert Ploegh, cues the camera crew for the specials.

Photo: Picturesk

“Bert has done an excellent job on this tour,” continued Van Lokeren. “He deserves a lot of credit as do the teams from Splendit for lights; Gravity, for motion; LedLease, for the wall; Tintaan (Production); PRG (sound); Unlimited Productions (cameras/flypack); and Pieter Smit (trucking).”

With all the pieces coming together for this tour, Van Lokeren has covered a broad galaxy of looks, from what he calls “small and fragile,” to “big and uptempo.” Accompanying all the varied looks that engage the audience during the show is an underlying mood that is warm and intimate – the perfect tone for Racoon, not only for the past two-and-a-half years, but ever since the legendary band first appeared a quarter century ago.

Photo: Picturesk