Leading UK lighting rental company HSL is supplying lighting kit and crew for the Foals acclaimed “Total Life Forever” tour – as Oxford’s current finest punky indie rockers take to the road in the UK and Europe.

Lighting designer Davy Sherwin has put together a stunning show based around an inventive design that makes the rig appear vastly bigger than it actually is. He first met the band when they were supporting Snow Patrol, for whom he has worked for several years producing some amazing shows, and they wanted a similar vibe, and something that suited their energy and ballsy music.

The project is being handled by Mike Oates for HSL, who says, “It’s always great working with Davy – he is one of the most talented of the UK’s current new wave of LDs”.

The band gave Sherwin a few basic pointers in terms of what they wanted incorporated in the show, and then left him to it. They are very dynamic to light, with the music veering from moody and dark to percussive and shouty to full sensory absorbing rock out!

They particularly wanted multiple shades of blue, so the show errs towards the colder end of the spectrum in terms of colour, together with some classic and classy white moments, specially towards the end of the set, along with some surprise CTO variants.

Another specific instruction was that they wanted as little front light as possible! This of course was no problem, offering the perfect opportunity to make some great  drama with beam work amidst some seriously atmospheric haze and smoke management.

The full rig contains a front and back truss plus a substantial floor package, the latter of which will travel to Europe with them where they will hook in to house rigs overhead.

Four different length tank traps come down as drop arms from the back truss, and another 5 come up from the stage underneath, with 1 x GLP Impression LED wash light on the down pipes and 2 on each of the up pipes. Another 2 x Impressions are on the floor, one to the side and the other on the mid stage riser for low level cross lighting for ambience, shadows and silhouettes.

Sherwin has used these briefly before on Snow Patrol and really likes the colour range, which includes some fabulous purples, oranges and reds.

Five i-Pix BB4s are positioned upstage on the floor washing up the ‘Foals’ logo on the backdrop.

Then there are 4 Robe ROBIN 600 Spots upstage on flight cases and 6 Robe ColorWash 700E ATs on the deck behind the backline, for some powerful back beamage. Five Omni floods on low ‘turtle’ stands are also sitting behind the band, introducing a tungsten contrast, with a further unit downstage right as a soft key light for lead singer Yanis Philippakis.

The floor picture is completed with 4 Martin Atomic strobes in a row upstage.

On the back truss – in addition to the 4 x GLPs on the drop arms, are 6 x Robe ColorBeam 700 – for intense, mega bright slicing effects, and 7 Atomics, 4 on drop arms and 3 on the truss.

The front truss features just 5 x 4-cell linear Moles, shooting into the audience and 6 Robe ColorWash 700E ATs, which are used for subtle but powerful washing along the front section of the stage, cleverly focussed to avoid over-lighting the band!

The floor orientated show is capable of producing lots of huge anthemic beam looks which work beautifully and flexibly on a variety of stage sizes, from town halls to pros arch theatres, opening right out to accommodate the largest performance space on this current leg of the tour which is Brixton Academy.

For control, Sherwin is using a Road Hog Full Boar console.

The crew from HSL are “Theatre” Tom Wright and “Rock ‘n’ Roll” Johnny Harper, a great combination in technical skill sets and senses of humour!

Sherwin has worked with HSL since 2006, when they first serviced the Snow Patrol tour…. and comments, “HSL has grown substantially in that time, and it’s easy to see why – they have absolutely the right attitude, great equipment, crew and a service second to none. Mike (Oates) ensures that attention is paid to every detail and nothing is ever too much trouble – I’d recommend them to anyone!”


Date of issue : 8th December 2010.

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