Grammy-winning American indie folk band Bon Iver is wrapping up its "22, A Million" North American tour with a complement of Claypaky A.leda B-EYE K20s delivering stunning pixel and beam effects. A.C.T Lighting, Inc. is the exclusive distributor of Claypaky fixtures in North America.
The tour supported the band's eponymous album, which was released last year. Bon Iver played a variety of venues on the tour, including arenas, theaters and the iconic Hollywood Bowl. Nashville-based production designer and creative director Michael Brown, of Michael Brown Design, crafted a multi-layered interpretation of the "22, A Million" album artwork - a play on numerology - for the set.
Brown devised ten upstage videowalls in a vertical banner formation to match the ten songs on Bon Iver's album. The videowalls were elevated above the band and staggered in a flying-V shape. They displayed graphical content inspired by the album art.
"I wanted to give even more life and depth to the videowalls' V-formation by placing lighting behind them," says Brown. "I thought I'd use LED fixtures, but the music has a lot of arpeggiation and syncopated rhythms so the idea of pixel effects was very important. I also liked to be able to make lens effects with dramatic cones of light.
"A lot of fixtures on the market do pixel effects, but the B-EYE stands out for the ability to also use its lens in a creative way," he explains. "I had used B-EYEs for [Bon Iver frontman] Justin [Vernon] in his headlining set at the Eaux Claires music festival in 2015. That informed what we could do for the tour; it made sense to revisit the B-EYEs and bring them back as a design element."
Brown positioned 32 B-EYE K20s in eight groups of four in torms behind the videowalls. Clearwing Productions in Milwaukee supplied the fixtures.
Bon Iver's "Minnesota, WI" set showcased the B-EYEs. "The song relied heavily on arpeggiation where the B-EYEs were super prominent," says Brown. "People commented after the show that it was marvelous to see the lights respond to the music. In fact, we programmed the lights with that effect so it looked like they were timed to the music."
He reports that the lighting team encountered no issues with the fixtures during the tour. Although the show took on some different configurations as the tour progressed the videowalls and B-EYEs remained consistent design elements throughout the tour.
Looking ahead Brown says, "We've got some other festivals coming up and have requested that B-EYEs be integrated into their show design."
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