Chickenfoot’s “Different Devil” U.S. summer tour kicked off May 4, running to June 10. If the riffs and rock voices sound familiar, it’s because Chickenfoot members are well-known, featuring Sammy Hagar (vocals) and Michael Anthony (bass) with Joe Satriani (guitar). Kenny Aronoff (drummer) takes over on tour for original drummer Chad Smith, who’s now busy with the Red Hot Chili Peppers tour.
The lighting equipment is familiar too, for LD Alastair Bramall-Watson of the illuminati design group. From lighting vendor PRG’s John Lee, he specified 6 High End Systems intellaspot automated luminaires in the rig (along with other lighting fixtures), and 2 Axon media servers. He’s controlling it with his own Road Hog Full Boar console with two playback wings.
When design talks began in March, Bramall-Watson was summoned by band manager Mick Brigden, with whom he had worked in the past with Joe Satriani and the G3 project. “Mick wanted an arena lighting show in a theatre, with some ‘wow’ moments. Lighting, video and something extra were in the budget.”
With two video screens and a 20W RGB laser as the “something extra,” the LD knew he needed serious lighting fixtures to pierce through the ambient light.
This is where the intellaspot, with its 20,000 lumen output, comes in. Bramall-Watson has designed his backlighting to feature the 6 intellaspots “to give me either the silhouette look whenever I want it, or a huge breakup sweep,” he says.
The intellaspot’s benefits are many, he says. “There are not many fixtures that give you two gobo wheels, an animation wheel and a rotating prism all in the same unit,” he says.
He also likes the diversity of the stock LithoPatterns gobos. “I like to be able to put a delicate gobo in and still be able to get significant light output. Some other fixtures really lose so much output with some gobos that I never use that particular gobo in a show. A redundant space in a gobo wheel is a shame; it means I have to use the same gobo in three or four songs in a set. The stock gobos in the intellaspot are diverse and offer me the chance to see most of them only once, which helps to give each song its own look right off the bat.”
“Another gobo feature I like with the intellaspot is that you can see multiple representations of the image in the lens array in the light. The triangle gobo looks especially good like this,” he adds.
Though he’s used intellaspots before, this is his first time to try the fixture’s Indigo Highlighter. This feature incorporates four 1-watt indigo LEDs surrounding the lens to offer another layer of lighting. It works simply as an LED wash or in conjunction with the fixture’s emitting beam of light, and gives a blacklight effect, especially to anything white.
“These are pretty powerful,” he says. “It definitely makes things glow. There is one part of the show where these are the only thing on. And it looks pretty eerie from FOH. They work well also in conjunction with a blue laser look.”
Bramall-Watson says the Axon is his preferred media server. “Some video content was budgeted for the tour and was converted post production by myself to m2v and put into the Axon. It’s my media server of choice, everything in one box and a CMA (Content Management Application) to allow me to make changes either at the rack or from FOH if I decide to add a new piece of content. It’s so simple to use that even video guys can use it.”
His console of choice is the Road Hog Full Boar console with two wings. He divides his equipment onto the wings for more efficiency, using one wing for special bumps and blinders and the other for laser cues, hazers, smoke machines and so on. “This keeps my main desk clear for stacked cues and video. While the desk itself has enough screen space to run a regular lighting show, the double wing makes it easy to access everything I need including video and laser presets during the show. I don’t have to change views, it’s all there.”
Bramall-Watson is joined on tour with Crew Chief Dave Schmieder, Lighting Techs Dale Jewett and Jack Brigden, Video Tech Ted Cognata and Laser Tech Bob Mullins.
Chickenfoot’s U.S. summer tour ends June 10 in Los Angeles.