Bloc Party Rig Includes More i-Pix BB7s

by PLSN Staff • in
  • International News
• Created: May 5, 2009

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LONDON — LD Jonathan “Leggy” Armstrong upped his count of i-Pix BB7 LED wash lights from 19 to 35 for Bloc Party’s two shows at London Olympia, part of a world tour that kicked off in January. Bloc Party’s “Intimacy” tour is the first time that Leggy had incorporated BB7s into his rig — a move prompted by the need for a luminous, soft edged source with smooth color mixing for the main over-stage washes.

On the first section of the tour he used four BB7s per side for front and side-stage washes, plus four on the floor behind each musician for silhouetting and other effects. The other nine BB7s were arranged on an inverted triangle on 3 back trusses — typically  a main truss with 2 sub hangs — depending on the venue and available space.

At Olympia, the triangle was expanded to four trusses positioned mid and back, with two sub hangs from the upstage truss, which accommodating 22 BB7s, configured as four rows of 7-6-5 and 4 respectively, front to back.

This shaped the stage with a geometric twist, with the petal-shaped BB7 light sources set against the straight horizontals of the trussing.

The rest of the rig remained the same as the tour — with 15 BB4s positioned on the floor in a straight run across the back of stage making a high-impact wall-of-light effect, plus another four in footlights positioned across the front of stage, giving the crew the option of lighting entire songs just with LEDs.

The rig also contains Studio Beam moving lights — which rarely move in a visible way — plus Source Four profiles, 4-lites, strobes and four floor PARs.

Having tinkered with the BB7s since January, Leggy has developed some subtle effects, some of which involve control over individual cells in the instruments.

For the song, “Signs,” for example, the stage is washed in a steel blue on the overhead BB7s, with a fast white chase on one cell per unit twinkling through them.

In other parts of the show he uses the chasing cells to make pattern effects and introduce a totally different mode of movement to the show.

“We all love the BB7s,” Leggy said, noting the attention they’ve gotten from the local crews on the U.S. section of the tour, most of whom had not seen them before, and a fair proportion of whom didn’t realize they were LED fixtures.

Bandit Lites in Nashville supplied lighting gear for the U.S. leg of the tour, with the BB7s coming from Bandit UK.

The low energy requirements proved a bonus for the U.S. leg, with most of the tour stops being in clubs with limited power supplies. With the BBs drawing so little current, the crew could use all their ‘specials’ without compromising the look of the show.

“The homogenized lightsource is one of the many great things about i-Pix fixtures,” Leggy said. The units resemble an incandescent fixture, he added, offering similar dimming characteristics, response time, and a tungsten-like glow.

Leggy also spoke highly of the color range, especially the pastels and more idiosyncratic shades and hues, which proved well-suited to Bloc Party’s rocky urban sound. He uses them mainly for stark single-color looks, or in very simple color combinations.

Lighting equipment including all the BBs for the Olympia shows was supplied by

Neg Earth supplied the BBs and other gear for the Olympia shows and the U.K. and European legs of the tour, with sound from Wigwam.

For Olympia, I-mag projection was added, directed by Jon Shrimpton with equipment supplied by XL Video. CMT did the lasers, which were operated by Gino Malocca, for the final two numbers of the set.

Bloc Party will be playing festivals throughout the summer and continue touring until the end of the year.

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