Working from home? Switch to the DIGITAL edition of Projection, Lights & Staging News. CLICK HERE to signup now!

Tove Lo and the Sunshine Kitty Tour

Steve Jennings (Photos and Text) • April 2020Wide Focus • April 8, 2020

TOVE LO © Steve Jennings

Swedish singer Tove Lo released her fourth studio album, Sunshine Kitty, last fall, supporting the album with shows in February 2020 with visual support, among others, from show/lighting designer Ben Dalgleish, content director Ian Valentine, lighting and video director Mason Ford and lighting supplier Premier Global Production.

TOVE LO © Steve Jennings

Ben Dalgleish

Show/Lighting Designer (Human Person)

Ben Dalgleish had been talking to Charlie Twaddle, Tove’s creative director, for a while now, and this album cycle/tour was the perfect time for his company, Human Person to jump in. Ben expands on what he was looking for on this production.

“I wanted to create something that put Tove front and center visually in a new way, and with the album title, Sunshine Kitty, I felt like a horizon breaking arch was a visually striking and appropriate starting point. Tove and her team were very receptive to the idea, and from there the only question mark was to have an upstage LED wall or a scenic backdrop. Human Person art director Frances Waite put together a mood board of possible visual treatments, and from there, the decision was made to push forward with LED.”

TOVE LO © Steve Jennings

Tove was very collaborative in terms of the content and the overall mood and feeling the show should have. While this show doesn’t have any traditional choreography a lot of effort was made to have the lighting and content match Tove’s movement as it related to the music.

“This was a large club tour, so having any type of followspots was not practical for the majority of the shows. We rely on using strip and wash side light as well as whatever front light the venue has on the day. A lot of the key dance moments are lit very deliberately with side light. Tove is very open to being lit in nontraditional ways, and actually suggested not being lit ‘perfectly’ for certain moments in the show, which was refreshing.”

Dalgleish credited lighting and video director Mason Ford and programmer Brent Maxon for their contributions to the shows’ success. “Mason Ford was amazing and was invaluable during the process of putting this tour together. He is a great programmer, and his knowledge of Tove’s music was so helpful. We had a 24 hour programming schedule between myself, Mason and Brent Maxon and everyone more than pulled their weight coming up with unique lighting ideas.”

TOVE LO © Steve Jennings

As far as getting this production together in a short time, Ben went back to some people he could trust for quality production and rehearsal space — PGP. “I have done many tours that have utilized the sweet rehearsal space Premier Global Production offers, and it was great to come back to Nashville once again to program the show with the actual rig rather than previz. PGP have a great inventory of lights that are perfect for this size tour, and James really took care of us, getting the X410 arch perfect, which is the key element in the tour’s design.

“The key for this tour was to make it look as large as possible within the confines of one truck and a limited budget. We couldn’t have done that without the support of the vendors and the amazing Tove Lo production team led by Hanford Pittman.”

Dalgleish expands on re-imagining how to light this artist. “Tove’s music is highly intricate and dynamic, blending dance music energy and nuance with pop precision. While at first listen, the music seemed to call for rainbows and ballyhoos, I tried to take the lighting beyond that with unique colors and forms to make the whole show feel as ‘custom’ as possible. Due to the production size and the lack of any type of ‘gag,’ a real focus was put into the interplay between video and lighting. We required restraint to build a real show arc and journey for the 100 minute set.”

TOVE LO © Steve Jennings

Ian Valentine

Content Director (Human Person)

Ian Valentine supported Ben Dalgleish in his goal to make the visual look and feel of the shows as unique as possible. “It was really exciting for our team to build something in a different visual language than any of the shows we designed this year so far,” Valentine says. “Charlie Twaddle had a really clear vision for the show — to build something that was clean and textural, a beautiful backdrop to complement Tove’s performance in a harmonious way. We brought in a range of 2D animators from around the world that worked in primarily an analog or hand-drawn style. Our editor, Matt Cummer, blended all these elements and had them line up perfectly with Ben’s lighting — and we couldn’t be more happy with the result.”

TOVE LO © Steve Jennings

Mason Ford

Lighting & Video Director

Mason Ford appreciated the opportunity to help craft the new looks for these shows. “Working with Ben [Dalgleish] was great — he put together an awesome design and the process was very seamless. He had a lot of flexibility and was very receptive to my input and was extremely willing to work collaboratively.

“The side light element sort of came about naturally,” Ford adds. “Tove’s show has been pretty dramatically side-lit for a few years now, which was a mixture of my own and Tove’s choice for the overall look. The design that Ben came up with is complemented best with side light, with a bit of front for fill, so collectively, I think we all agreed that a strongly side lit show is ideal.

Ford notes that while the shows were about 90 percent time-coded, as the tour progressed, he has been adding in small bits of manual cues, for musical elements that may be a bit inconsistent. “We had a 10-day stretch at the Premier Global facility. The first few days were designated programming days, with the following split between band rehearsals and our own programming slots. There were a few minor adjustments during that process, some fixture position adjustments and video tweaks, but no major adjustments or fixes. The whole rehearsal experience went quite smooth on all fronts.

He also gives a shout out to everyone on the team. “I just have to acknowledge the combined efforts of everyone on the team,” Ford concludes. “Ben, Charlie and the Human Person team put together an awesome show. Hanford [Pittman, production manager] was fantastic with his oversight. Jason [Lanning] and Austin [Gray] in the U.S. and Emil in the E.U. all made every day smooth and painless. Because of everyone involved, my job as director was made incredibly comfortable, and every day was easier than the one before it.”

TOVE LO © Steve Jennings

Tove Lo Sunshine Kitty Tour

TOVE LO © Steve Jennings


TOVE LO © Steve Jennings


SquareV V5w panels: 12×6 panel size, 1,152 x 576


More Tove Lo tour photos by Steve Jennings: