CHVRCHES ‘Love Is Dead’ Tour 2019

by Steve Jennings (Photos and Text) • in
  • Designer Insights
  • June 2019
• Created: June 16, 2019

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CHVRCHES © Steve Jennings

Chvrches are currently out on their Love is Dead tour in support of their 2018 album of the same name. The Glasgow, Scotland synth-pop band consist of Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty. We caught the band at Berkeley’s Greek Theatre on April 19, in front of one of their largest audiences of the tour. We spoke with lighting designer and programmer Louis Oliver and lighting director Greg Hill about the tour.

CHVRCHES © Steve Jennings

Louis Oliver

LD & Programmer

Louis Oliver has been working with the band Chvrches since early 2013, before their first record, The Bones of What You Believe, was released later that year. For the band’s latest album campaign around Love is Dead, Oliver hit the drawing board to come up with a new flexible design that could dominate the stage no matter what type of show — festival, club, theatre or arena.

“During early conversations, we decided to move to a primarily lighting setup avoiding the use of any large video screens. We ended up going down the route of creating 15 touring pods that housed 16 Elation Fuze Par Z120’s. This allowed us to easily adapt the show depending on venue size, headline show or festival, with the largest setup being three rows of five Pods rigged at various angles creating an upstage cove over the performance space. Over the course of the tour, we have used varying setups of the pods, sometimes adapting the design for each venue’s limitations, so depending on the size of venues on each touring leg, we would make a decision in advance on what equipment we would take.

“The usual touring package jumps between either 10 or 15 pods with the rest of the floor package staying the same. When moving to larger theaters and arenas that do not supply in house lighting we have a few additional items the tour would have locally supplied to finish off the rig. This consists of three flown lighting trusses that would house Spots and LED strobes.”

On top of the 15 pods of Elation Fuze Pars in the show, they also tour 12 Robe BMFL Wash Beams and 13 GLP JDC1, fixtures, Oliver says. “Our stage setup is clean, with three band risers. These consist of two 8-by-8-foot platforms for Iain and Martin and one 12-by-8-foot platform for Jonny [Scott], the band’s drummer, who is the latest addition to the live show. In front of the risers sit three custom-built set pieces that mimic the artwork created by Warren Fu for the Love is Dead album cover. These units where built by Specialz out of the U.K.”

When it came to the overall look of the show, Oliver spent a few months going back and forth on the design and the overall look of the show before moving into programming. When in this design stage the band are heavily involved, and once the overall look is dialed in Oliver says he then has the creative freedom to bring the show to life, with possibly a few more inputs from the band. “The main request from the band was to have a more performance focused design, with looks that amplified their performance.”

CHVRCHES © Steve Jennings

Greg Hill

Lighting Director

Greg Hill has been working alongside LD Louis Oliver as an operator for his shows for a few years now, Including tours for rock band You Me At Six and pop band Five Seconds of Summer. Hill has been LD-operating the
Chvrches tours since mid-2016. Hill met Oliver while working for the U.K.-based lighting vendor Siyan Ltd. and have remained friends and colleagues since.

“I was out on tour with another artist, Enter Shikari, when the Chvrches Love is Dead campaign began, so Louis started off the tour with festival dates. By the time I took over, the show was running very smoothly, which made for an easy transition.”

Hill notes that the show is running timecode predominantly, and there are currently 15 songs in the set with an additional seven songs programmed in the desk, should they be called upon. The set list stays fairly consistent, with usually one or two songs being swapped around here and there.

“We carry the entire floor package with us. The pods that carry the [Elation] Fuze Pars were custom-made for the tour, and we have 10 pods in total, 16 Pars per pod, so 160 active total. We also carry the 12 BMFLs and 13 Robe Strobes, six truss towers for upper BMFLs and then two MA2 Lights and two Base Hazer Pros. It’s a fun, easy tour to operate. The band has full trust in my operating abilities, so I am left to my own devices and, once the tour is out on the road, there are few, if any, changes requested by the bands.

“All of the pre-programming is done by Louis, and he is always on hand to update any changes, which leaves me to concentrate on manipulating the show to work as best it can from venue to venue, integrating the house rigs. We have been very happy with Felix Lighting as our vendor. The crew, equipment and support they provide have been fantastic. This is my second album campaign for Chvrches, and I love working with them on behalf of Louis. Being able to work with an artist for a long period enables you to experience the growth of the band’s popularity, which is great to be involved in and witness.”

CHVRCHES © Steve Jennings

Chvrches 2019 Love is Dead Tour 

Crew

  • Lighting Designer/Programmer: Louis Oliver
  • Lighting Director: Greg Hill
  • Lighting Co: Felix Lighting
  • Lighting Crew Chief: Christopher Hassfurther
  • Lighting Tech: Troy Grubb
  • Felix Lighting Account Rep: Nicole Barnes
  • Tour Manager: Cara McDaniel
  • Production Manager: Patrick Scott
  • Set Co: Specials (Lighting Cross pieces)

CHVRCHES © Steve Jennings

Gear

  • 2       grandMA2 Light consoles
  • 240  Elation Fuze Par Z120 fixtures
  • 12     Robe BMFL WashBeams
  • 13     GLP JDC1 LED strobes
  • 2       MDG ATMe Hazers

More Chvrches Love Is Dead 2019 tour photos by Steve Jennings:

 

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