When LD Sam Tozer provided his dynamic lightshow for the BBK Festival at the O2 Arena in London over the August Bank Holiday weekend, he called on an abundance of GLP’s award-winning X4 Bar 20 battens for the marathon event.
As a result of that extravaganza, LRI production manager David Davies and the Vision Factory lighting designer were invited onto the recent J Hus Common Sense tour, and this time the latter added GLP’s ground-breaking GT-1 hybrid Spot/Wash lights to the mix.
The Afrobeat/Grime artist had supported BBK, and the tour would take them round various theatres, universities and Academy’s — ending with a massive show at Brixton Academy.
“In addition to using my favorite fixtures, including the X4 Bars, I knew this time around we needed something a bit different,” he states. “I spotted the GT-1 for the first time when I visited the GLP factory, having previously seen them at PLASA.” And he knew he had found the solution.
During most of the tour they carried a small floor lighting package consisting of 22 X4 Bar 20’s and 8 GT-1s, to interface with the house systems — as well as two Mercedes cars, cut in half, and a letterbox video screen.
Sticking to the successful formula, VER again supplied the equipment and Kris Goodman was the lighting programmer. “He also operated the show for me,” confirms Sam. “I was seeking some specific looks that only the X4 Bars and GT-1 could produce. I saw a demo of them with some students down in Plymouth and with the help of Dave Stewart [at GLP UK] I managed to get my hands on them.
“They fitted perfectly for what I was looking for,” he continued. “I wanted a lightweight, small and easily tourable fixture that could give the brightness and beam size of a Sharpy but could then could go super wide and carry the right optics to keep the more textured gobo looks clean and sharp all way down the room.”
The design itself consisted of two key pieces of set — one of which was only revealed at the London show. The Mercedes cars provided the main look; the second was a giant revealing hat. “Both items were requested by the artist,” confirms the LD. “The challenge behind this was to try and create a visual medium between a cartoon-looking hat and very bold, very real set of cars.”
For the London show he increased the number of X4 Bars to 33, while the eight GT-1s were distributed along the floor. “These helped me create a textured back light that pierced through the cars, while the Bars created two clean lines and walls of light across the back of the stage.”
In particular he was able to create sweeps of light across the stage during kick hits. “I also loved creating gradients of color with the battens and the way the X4 Bars can be made into an effect light or its own scenic piece. Kris created the effects by running bitmaps across the LED batten map.”
Summing up, he says he chose the GT-1s for their versatility in being able to go from the tight beam look to the super wide wash, and the X4 Bars for their sheer versatility. “Once Kris got the hang of controlling the optics he couldn’t stop going on about how good they were, while the wall of light look created by the X4 Bars was massively loved by the whole production team.”
Supported by Paul Gilzene at VER and Dave Stewart at GLP, Sam Tozer couldn’t have been happier with the experience. “Both give amazing support to designers such as myself,” he praises.
And the designer has subsequently continued his love affair with GLP fixtures, with units out on the latest Thundercat tour and the Fickle Friends headline show at Kentish Town Forum.