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Ray LaMontagne

by Richard Olson • in
  • September 2018
  • Spotlight on Scenery
• Created: September 14, 2018

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Rose Brand built all the soft goods for the three TV set-like scenic elements. Photos by Jeremy Roth

Designer Jeremy Roth Designs “Part of the Light” Tour

Earlier this year Ray LaMontagne went out on a solo tour with just himself backed by a bass player, playing intimate theaters. Production designer Jeremy Roth came up with a simple naturalistic multi-layered backdrop system to accent the songs. This time around the artist is touring with his backing band, the four members who played on his latest album entitled, Part of the Light.

Part of the Light album artwork

A look at the album’s cover art suggests what may have planted the seed for Roth’s latest production design. It’s an image of some distorted colored light shapes. On this tour, the band appears to be playing in front of three oversized 50’s style TV sets. But the TV sets never play any typical media you would expect. They are scenic pieces with various light forms projected upon them. All with media that the designer created himself in his studio, located in Cottage Grove, OR.

An all white look matches an upbeat tempo change.

“Not a single piece of media is computer generated.” explains the designer. “All the media was shot by myself using images and gobos projected from lights, some oils, optics, smoke and mirrors. Almost none of it was touched up, colorized or reworked in any way. Not even with the effects available in my Resolume media server. Whatever I shot with my Canon C 100 digital cinema camera is precisely as it appears on the set.”

Media was played back thru a Resolume server.

The equally sized TV screens encompass 60’ of stage width, with the outer two panned toward center stage slightly. Yet the overall height of the entire production with light trusses is 20’ tall.

This helps keep the stage intimate, even with five musicians playing. He masks the projections through his server so that different content can be played on the outer screens (the physical TV itself) and the faux inner screens.

Different video content defined the separation in projection surfaces.

To build the scenic elements Roth first turned to Matt Biringer at Rose Brand, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of all soft goods, in their New Jersey office for some help. To build the scenery required three different cloth elements from the large assortment of fabrics they offer.

The first part of the Television look required a four sided, yet curved piece of fabric to imitate the outside enclosure of the antique sets of the past. This cowling and the frame that it attached to were rectangular in shape, with a cutout in the center where the normal TV image would be seen. The cutout opening was made rigid with elastic wire that Rose Brand had sewn into it. Scenic artist Valerie Light and Cobalt Studios (also in New Jersey), who have worked with Roth on previous shows, hand painted all of the materials to achieve the curved 3D look. The painted scenery accepted projections nicely.

A stark look from just BMFL spots and projection.

Approximately 3 inches behind the outer TV was a black scrim that took projection well. 18 inches behind the TV set was another panel of mesh – Rose Brand Mesh 70 (70% see through) that was also painted to accept the light that shined through the scrim.

The scrim in front of the Mesh 70 gave the center image a doubling effect, filling it out and making the textures more fluid to the eye. The rear frame for the upstage soft goods was held in place by hanging it from the upstage cord of the same truss. The two scenic elements were held together with stiffening rods to keep the soft goods as wrinkle free as possible and avoid any blowing in the breeze. Proof Productions designed and built the touring frames to Roth’s spec.

Panasonic 32k projectors were used on the tour.

Everything ran from a grandMA 2 full desk. Upstaging Lighting supplied the lighting and sourced three 32k Panasonic laser projectors from Scott Keenan at P.S. America, overseen by video tech Lucas Leckie that hung in a triangular arrangement suspended from the front truss. Other than the projectors, Roth had seven Robe BMFL Spots for key light on the musicians as well as texturing the players themselves.

He expands on this. “This is a no haze show, so I figured I had better make the most of all the surfaces provided. My goal was to have a set and stage floor that could be textured together as seamlessly as possible. I like to make the floor and rugs appear broken up visually. It goes with accenting the screens. I use another six BMFL spots from the mid truss to texture my stage. Most of the glass gobos I opted to use were custom picked, chosen from the Apollo and Rosco lines.”

The floor is textured with Robe Spiider floor effects.

To add to that, Jeremy chose a row of Robe Spiider pancake style wash fixtures from the rear truss. Roth was drawn to them because of the “flower” pixel effects the fixtures provide. The fixture can almost emulate a kaleidoscope in its projection of special effects. The Spiiders shared stage texturing duties with the BMFL’s when not washing the stage with color.

For top back lights the LD chose Martin MAC Quantum washes for a brighter beam to highlight the players. Behind the band are two ground rows of GLP X4 bars that line the underside of the screens. Upstaging provided the lighting gear, overseen on tour by Glen Claytor, and built some custom apple boxes to lift the one row of strips a foot above the other. A handful of Solaris Flares add wide swaths of color to the stage and each rear TV screen is backlit with one at times.

“One new fixture that I have added to my toy box are these Chauvet Strike 1 units. I was walking through the Upstaging shop with my account manager Georg Slejko, when I saw these beautiful round bodied one cell fixtures on a shelf. I played around with them and liked what I saw, so I added a few to the show to give me that tungsten feel when I wanted it. I really like the warm color both with and without the red shift feature. I usually stay away from LED tungsten emulation but they really nailed the natural decay on this fixture. It’s got a great feel to it when I ride the fader.”

The two-month tour wrapped up in July with a sold out show at Red Rocks Amphitheater. In October Lamontagne resumes his two man show, playing with the bass player from Wilco at Radio City Music Hall.

 

Ray LaMontagne Part of the Light Tour

Crew

Tour Manager: Mark Jones

Production Manager: Dermot Lynch

Production Coordinator/Cat Lady: Cherie Breaux

Lighting/Scenic/Video Design: Jeremy Roth

Scenic Support: Rose Brand, Valerie Light, Cobalt Studios

Lighting Co: Upstaging/Georg Slejko

Lighting Crew Chief: Glen Claytor

Projection Gear: PS America/Scott Keenan

Video Tech: Lucas Leckie

 

Gear

2       grandMA2 Full consoles

13     Robe BMFL Spots

18     Robe Spiiders

6       Martin MAC Quantum Washes

60     GLP Impression X4 Bar 10 fixtures

9       Solaris Flares

6       Chauvet Professional Strike 1’s

3       Panasonic 32K DLP Laser Projectors

2       Resolume Arena media servers

2       Upstaging custom fans

1       Citronella candle

3       Bottles of bug spray

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