American rock band, Kings of Leon has raised the bar to new levels of production for their latest tour, incorporating visually stunning effects and advanced automation within an inspired set conceived by Lite Alternative’s Paul Normandale.
As one of the UK’s in-demand and creative production designers, Paul became an early adopter of SGM’s LED strobe platform, originally purchasing 30 for use on the One Direction world tour. Since then the inventory has grown to more than 40 heads, with 32 being deployed on the latest arena and festival tour by the four members of the Followill family.
Having worked with Kings of Leon for the past seven years, the LD explained, “This time around we went very much for a festival-based design, so lighting was based on ease and speed of deployment and a low downstage presence; for festival sets you need to contain the lights and video in the rear 10ft of the stage to allow the rest of the festival to function.” The show is operated by programmer Ali Bale, using two MA grandMA2 consoles.
From his experience using the X-5 LED Paul Normandale was immediately impressed with the high output and the fixture’s non time-out capabilities. He spoke of their “intensity and duration”, adding that “the 3-cell nature of the design is a unique effect, and through this tour the strobes have once again proven very reliable and durable.”
In terms of scalability, production has been touring three different systems to fulfil the logistics, conceived around a tower-based lighting system, set in front of hi-res video screens, along with custom fixtures – such as surgery lights made by Specialz.
The strobes themselves are mounted on the upright towers — used regularly throughout the performance as conventional stabbing effects and in a more creative fashion, using the three-cell structure. “In fact we explored the 3-cell possibilities a good deal more this time, as the orientation of the strobes was towards the crowd,” states the designer.
Finally, Paul also acknowledged that the low power requirements of the LED strobes made them extremely valuable when the production scaled down for smaller venues on the itinerary with more restricted supplies.