ZZ Top Zigzags Across Country With Bandit Lites
19 May 2015
American rock band ZZ Top may be nearing 50 years together, but the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group shows no signs of slowing down, as they continue selling out shows across all of North America. Bandit Lites provided the lighting package for ZZ Top in a design made to match the band’s rock sound.
Lighting Designer Gabe Hodge built on the previous year’s design which consisted of 18 lamp bars with 6 GRN LED pars per bar, six Colour Kinetic Colorblaze 72 LED strip lights, and eight Elation CUEPIX WW2 Blinders which replaced the four GRN 8-lite moles.
“I knew that I wasn't going to use the color features on the 8-lite, and I also wanted more fixtures to spread out amongst the rig,” said Hodge. “I was able to get eight of the Elations, and I really liked the way they updated the design.”
The GRN Pars and Elation Blinders were spread out across the downstage, mid stage, and upstage trusses. Bandit also supplied truss for a video wall, and truss for a backdrop.
Calling the lighting design “fairly organic,” Hodge explained how the look of the show built upon a par can rig with more “new school” twists saying, “The GRN Pars were used for a simple and classic stage wash, and the Elation Blinders were used as your typical crowd abuse, but I also added them to give the rig a little more depth.
The Colorblaze 72's were used as floor fixtures upstage, and as stated earlier, ZZ Top carries a grey with a velvet style fabric backdrop, and it picks up the colour extremely well.”
One challenge for Hodge was programming a show made up entirely of static lights. While a huge fan and admirer of the rock and roll par can / ACL lighting designs, he concedes most concert-goers today are more used to seeing a show comprised of hundreds of moving lights.
“I think the first step for me is, and continues to be, understanding that we were trying to create a great show as a whole, and not just a lighting show,” he emphasised. “The video content needed to compliment the lighting, and vice versa. My first goal as the LD is always to compliment what's happening on stage, and making sure the band is happy with how things look. ZZ Top is a classic band with great style, and I enjoy the simplicity and classic looks that I get to use with them.”
As ZZ Top continues touring well into fall of 2015, Bandit is exceedingly proud to be trusted with ensuring the last thing anyone worries about on the road is the lighting, which is why Bandit works to cover everything from preproduction planning to tech support.
“Bandit has been the best thing that's happened to me professionally,” Hodge expounded adding: “My experience with everyone here has never been less than great; their planning has been spot on for gigs, and after traveling and running into other companies, there's really no one else in the business that prepares their gear like Bandit does.”
“Customer service has never failed me, either,” he concluded. “Any time that I have called with a tech question, or really any question for that matter, I've always received a quick and accurate response; which resulted in the problem being solved, even on weekends!”
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