Equipment for the major shows, including Manchester MEN Arena and three sold out Brixton Academy’s, was supplied by Leeds based Zig Zag Lighting.
The iconic Manchester alt rock / ravers returned to live performance with a huge bang, and the original line up for the first time in 19 years, feeding the public’s seemingly voracious appetite for band reformations from the era.
Shaun Ryder, Rowetta and the gang - including Bez who’s lost nothing of his penchant for crazed maniacal dancing - belted out a stonking performance.
They received excellent reviews and recaptured some of the massive energy and anarchy of the MADchester music scene circa. the late 1980s and early 1990s …. before it evaporated into a haze of acid house euphoria!
The LEDBeam 100s were joined by 13 x Robe ROBIN 600 Spots, 12 x LEDWash 600s and a selection of generics, so the Robe moving lights were very much the core of the rig.
Farmer’s design was based on lots of ravey mayhem with dramatic beams, large bombastic looks, flashing and strobing to atmospherically engineer the mood, as the band stormed through classic anthems including ‘Loose Fit’, ‘Hallelujah’ ’24 Hour Party People’, ‘Step On’ and the rest!
The lights were rigged on two overhead trusses, on six different height vertical towers onstage and on the deck.
Farmer loves the LEDBeam 100s, “They are so fast – the movement and the dimming is great and they’re massively bright” he says, adding that even the noise boys were noticing and commenting on them!
Two LEDBeam 100s were attached to each of the six upright towers and used for colourful, whizzy, chasey effects and to make up zany beam patterns throughout the set. For the MEN show, the count was boosted up to 24 LEDBeam fixtures which helped fill the enormous stage space very nicely.
Eight of the LEDWash 600s were positioned on the back truss, four on drop-arms, with the other four on the floor pointing at the towers and highlighting the metalwork which shaped the otherwise bare stage. They also provided a comprehensive downstage wash.
Farmer used the Robe LEDWash 600s for the first time on last year’s Roger Daltrey tour and really liked them. However, he wasn’t able to use smoke then, so on the Happy Mondays, with some serious ‘atmosphere’, was really able to fully appreciate the diversity and richness of the colour palette.
He also likes the very versatile 15 – 60 degree zoom. Much of the time the LEDWash 600s were so bright - even for the Mondays - that he ran them at around 50% intensity.
“It’s a very good piece of kit” he comments, adding that he is also encountering them increasingly frequently in venue house rigs.
The ROBIN 600 Spots he also found bright and reliable.
On the Monday’s rig, one was positioned on the top of each tower, five on the back truss and two on the floor. They were used for supplementary beam-work and for general band lighting. ”Very responsive, fast, and offer a good gobo selection” says Farmer of these.
Generics on the rig included Sunstrips, Molefeys, ACL’s and PARs – all adding their own distinctive touches of Old Skool magic!
Upstage was a 12 by 3 metre surface of X-sphere’s – supplied by XL Video – fed with colourful ambient video content from Livid’s CellDNA software running on a laptop.
Farmer showed his talents for making an expedient lighting rig go a long way, bringing contemporary flourishes to the movement, excitement and classic club looks that also immersed the audience in the performance, true rave-style.
His crew from Zig Zag were Tom Loynes, Andrew “Bob” Laidlaw and Franki McDade.
From a rental company perspective, Zig Zag’s Neil Hunt comments, “The light weight, neat packaging, low energy consumption and huge light output of all the Robe ROBIN fixtures ticks all the boxes for me!
“Reducing both the actual weight of the luminaires themselves and consequently the 'trucking volume', coupled with the corresponding reduction in required cabling, allows a rig that would have once needed an arctic of its own …. to fit comfortably into an 18 tonne truck! Everyone's a winner, most importantly, the environment!!”
Robe has a genuine, on-going commitment to producing greener and more sustainable and carbon-neutral technologies for the future.