NEW YORK – Bands often inspire one another musically, but on some occasions their power of persuasion extends into the realm of lighting too. Such was the case recently on the popular coast-to-coast US tour co-headlined by post-hardcore heavies Senses Fail and Silverstein that featured a stage- transforming rig created by Squeek Lights using CHAUVET Professional fixtures.
Prior to signing up for this joint venture, Senses Fail had never toured with their own light show before; though they certainly performed with some killer rigs on the Taste of Chaos Tour. Still when the band hooked up with Silverstein, they were lighting newcomers. After talking to their touring partners however, Sense Fail had a change of heart and decided that the time had come to engage their fans with lighting.
For their part, Silverstein felt comfortable recommending that their punk rock partners leap into lighting because of their experience with Squeek Lights on their previous tour. “Silverstein was relatively new to lighting when we put together their earlier tour design,” said Squeek’s president and LD Victor Zeiser. “They were pretty amazed with the good things lighting did for their show, so they wanted to come back for a bigger bite of the apple. They convinced Senses Fail to jump in on the bandwagon and pool their resources so they could have a really great light show together on this tour.”
Drawing on the combined resources of the two iconic groups, Zeiser put together a muscular rig that included six Nexus 4×1 linear COB LED fixtures, 12 Rogue R2 Washes, 10 Rogue R1 Spots, and 16 Shocker 90 IRC par style fixtures. Although the two bands shared most of the backline, the LD varied how key elements of the lighting rig were used for each act during the tour.
“It worked out where each of the bands had different goals for their lighting, which allowed me to create two different styles of show with the same floor package,” said Zeiser. “Senses Fail wanted a heavier, moodier lightshow while Silverstein preferred a bright show with lots of movement. I was able to use the same fixtures, but in different combinations with varying intensity levels to create two distinct looks from the same rig.”
Zeiser varied color schemes in his designs to reflect the different visions of his two clients. “For Senses Fail we used darker colors like blue, green, congo and red,” he said. “Then for Silverstein, we went brighter with whites, yellows and lots of movement. Both bands were really happy with how their shows looked and I enjoyed spending time with these guys.”
The six Nexus 4×1 linear fixtures in Zeiser’s rig were used in different ways depending on which group was on stage. He positioned three of the Nexus units in front of the amp lines on either side of the stage. For Senses Fail, he used the two banks of linear fixtures as a low backlight source, creating a soft color fill for the stage. During Silverstein’s performances, he flipped the Nexus 4x1s around and used them for soft and even amp lighting.
Zeiser added to the versatility of his rig by positioning fixtures at a variety of heights to make it easier to achieve widely different looks. “I tried to get lights at a few different heights for this one,” he said. “Upstage we have four 8-foot truss towers, each topped with a Rogue R1 Spot. Then about a foot or so down from that position, we have a Rogue R2 Wash on each side of the truss. The R2s are positioned on a cross pipe. Hanging below that pipe is my strobe box. I broke up the heights of the towers this way to give myself more flexibility to create different looks; and to help ensure that the R1s would not be drowned out by the sheer punch of the R2 fixtures.”
In designing for the Senses Fail-Silverstein tour, Zeiser tried to balance his rig between Rouge 1 Spots and his newly acquired R2 Washes. He varied which of the fixtures he used and in what configuration he used them at different times throughout both shows to reflect the environment on stage and the mood of the music.
“It’s really great having enough quantity on this tour and variety where I don’t have to use every light, every song,” he said. “With smaller packages you have to really get the most out of every light, but once you have a larger rig you can say, ‘okay in this song the washes will drive the looks and the spots will be the accent fixtures’ or vice versa.”
Running his Rogues in 17 channel mode, Zeiser used their extensive features to create dramatically different looks on stage. For example, he utilized the five zones of LED control featured in the Rogue R2 Wash to serve up eye candy without having to “make the lights chase or wiggle.” He recall one such point in the show. “There is a great gag I use in the show where I point the washes back at the drop and run the ring effects at the same time, which gives the drop a very hard to place flicker, almost making it look like and old film.”
Rounding out the rig were the 16 Shocker 90 IRC fixtures that were arranged in groups of four and used for strobe and audience abuse lighting. “Steve Kosiba fabricated these really great little cases for me for the shockers which position them in the format of a four light with all the cabling done up really nicely inside and powerCON and 5 pin on the outside of the case for the whole fixture,” said Zeiser. “They worked really well.”
At most stops along the way, the Silverstein-Senses Fail tour stopped at larger rooms such as The Electric Factory in Philadelphia and Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, as well as at various House Of Blues sites. When the tour stopped at smaller venues, Zeiser adjusted his rig accordingly.
“For this tour, I designed the rig to look the best in the larger rooms,” he said. “When we hit smaller rooms, I identified things that could be scaled back and then just focused on blowing up the space with light. From the beginning though, both bands wanted a package that would look amazing in bigger venues. Based on the feedback we received, I feel confident that we did this in a unique way for them.”