Coheed and Cambria, the American progressive rock band whose innovative concept albums tell the sci-fi story of The Amory Wars, has wrapped a concert tour that included a complement of Clay Paky A.leda B-EYE K20s and Sharpys plus a grandMA2 light console. A.C.T Lighting, Inc. is the exclusive distributor of Clay Paky and MA Lighting brands in North America.
Coheed and Cambria recently toured with the band Thank You Scientist, playing 25 dates across the US and in Toronto. Coheed and Cambria’s setlist followed “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3,” their 11-year old second album, which has recently been remastered and rereleased. Clearwing Productions supplied the lighting package for the tour, which included Clay Paky fixtures.
“The album tells the story of Claudio Kilgannon and his journey of self-discovery in a science fiction universe. Each song moves the characters along, and the lighting needed to be able to follow the quick changes to their emotional states,” explains Clearwing’s Michael “Greek” Hionis, the show’s lighting designer/director/programmer. “The focal point in the rig was the custom Keywork set piece, a visual representation of the energy that binds the planets together in the universe. In addition to the Keywork, the lighting was designed to transport the audience to the various locations, including a landslide battle, a dark city full of secrets, a space ship and an ominous castle of evil.”
Hionis was tasked with blending the Keywork with the rest of the design on the stage. “We lit the Keywork with 60 meters of LED strips with the help of Kevin Opatz. It hung above the drummer, with a two-meter circle truss behind it. The front edge of the truss was wrapped in sharks-tooth to emphasize the glow coming off of the Keywork,” he says. Four truss towers were mixed within a row of guitar cabinets flanking the drummer. “Each tower had two B-EYE K20s at varying symmetrical heights – six, eight and ten feet – with half the fixtures mounted above and half hanging below fixed pipes so I could make sure I hit every inch of the room,” he reports. “The B-EYEs’ circular design and macros could look like anything, including more planets within the Keywork.”
Six Sharpys were positioned on the stage floor in front of the towers and drum risers. “I wanted the beams to look as tall as possible,” Hionis says. “I needed a fixture that could punch through the B-EYEs when necessary but because much of the show was dark and moody, it was less about full stage washes and more about dark and sinister beams spread sparsely across the stage. That’s why the tight beams worked perfectly. Larger fixtures wouldn’t have looked as good irised down and certainly wouldn’t have been as fast.” The Sharpys also intrigued front-row fans, who tried to reach out and touch the beams during some songs.
“When placing fixtures on the floor, their footprint also becomes a factor,” he adds. The Sharpys’ compact footprint supported the notion that, “Bang for you buck is less important than bang per square foot,” he says.
“From a design perspective, the Keywork was purely a visual piece, the Sharpys were purely a lighting effect, and the B-EYEs had the ability to be either and merge everything so that each look [became] one cohesive idea,” Hionis explains. “B-EYEs are absolutely my new favorite fixture!”
For control of the tour lighting package as well as the house lighting systems Hionis chose a grandMA2 light and a complete grandMA OnPC system.
“For me, there was only one choice: grandMA2,” he says. “The surface alone is without question the most versatile. The way the executor buttons are laid out in conjunction with the faders makes organizing on-the-fly effects and cues super easy. I’ve also really become fond of the FX engine. I specifically love the new template effects and how they are the building blocks for all future effects palettes – similar to the grandMA1 but with more flexibility and less duplication.”
The entire lighting package was setup and programmed at the Clearwing shop to maximize rehearsal time. On the programming side, he relied heavily on the use of group masters. “They helped me maximize my programming time in the shop by recording everything I had in mind for house rigs at 100% intensity, and then blending them with the tour rig on the fly during the show,” he explains. Fixture Layout Views were also very handy when programming big matrix mole or LED chases. They enabled him to “lay out the matrix moles quickly and start creating unique groups one pixel at a time. I even showed this feature to the lead singer, and he was able to ‘draw’ in a couple of unique groups for effects,” Hionis reports.
In seven weeks on the road the grandMA2 light performed “flawlessly,” he says. “I never had to use my poor lonely back up console.”
Hionis praises the role A.C.T Lighting has played over the last two years. “They’ve been very supportive and extremely helpful in terms of training and email support,” he says. “They have all helped me out so much in so many different ways.”
Key Tour Personnel:
Show Designers: Blaze James & Michael ‘Greek’ Hionis
Tour Manager: Pete Stahl
Production Manager/FOH Engineer: Mike Babcock
Lighting Designer/Director: Michael ‘Greek’ Hionis
Monitor Engineer: Scott ‘Shreddy’ Edwards
Guitar Technicians: Kevin Allen, Jeremy Frost
About A.C.T Lighting
A leading importer and distributor of lighting products, A.C.T Lighting, Inc. strives to identify future trends and cutting-edge products, and stock, sell and support their inventory. The company provides superior customer service and value for money to all of its clients.
For more information call 818-707-0884.
About Clearwing Productions:
Clearwing Productions is a full service production company with the expertise to support any sized concert, festival, theatrical or corporate event. Multi-stage or multi-city live entertainment events and tours have been Clearwing’s specialty for over 25 years.