Lighting designer Kait Hall created a stunning design for her first time working for Jet. Having had no brief she just came up with a concept drawing and they thought the idea suited the aesthetic of the band.
“They just left it to me to have creative freedom after that,” she added. “I usually like to use album artwork as inspiration and this tour was a 20th-anniversary celebration of the Get Born Album which has this classic black and white vintage feel so I tried to incorporate this aesthetic in the backdrop which anchors the whole concept together.”
Like the music, the artwork and styling of that first album and its video clips have a timeless feel that is equally strong now as when it was first released twenty years ago but it is also reminiscent of the classic albums that came before it.
“When I was designing the backdrop, I initially used elements from the album cover but eventually opted for a more neutral, monotone design instead,” explained Kait. “I wanted to echo the triangular lines of the geometric artwork with the floor package so I dissected the backdrop into multiple vertical banners and started to look at how I could incorporate linear fixtures between them.”
Jet played the album from start to finish but also included some of their later hits in the set. Kait wanted the anthemic songs to look punchy and bold so relied on single primary colours and white for most of the songs. The album also has some very emotional ballads though so the rig needed to be able to switch to something more delicate for the slower songs.
Kait opted to incorporate ten ShowPRO DiamondBacks into her design spreading them across the back of the stage, just high enough to get over the backline. To match the artwork, they ran parallel to the triangles in the backdrop. There wasn’t an off-the-shelf rigging solution so the Res X team helped to custom fabricate what was needed.
“To be honest, DiamondBacks were not my first choice because originally I wanted to do something that was video-based,” admitted Kait. “However, looking at the budget and schedule I had to reassess what was practical. It’s a really exciting time with so many new products out in the market so this restriction forced me to consider something entirely new. I had seen a 2-minute DiamondBack promo video on YouTube and came up with the concept based on that alone. It wasn’t until well after the design was approved that I got to play with them in real life!”
With a set of twenty songs and the bulk of the show consisting of ten DiamondBacks and ten Claypaky Sharpy X-Frame fixtures, Kait knew she would need to push these fixtures to their limits to create a unique look for each song.
“Fortunately, there are almost limitless combinations you can create with groups and effects running through the RGBW beams, warm white strips and cool white strips,” she said. “Rigging them at a 45-degree angle meant that when I tilted them I could get really interesting shapes in the air, especially when varying the zoom which has an incredible range of 3 – 56 degrees.
“The DiamondBacks are pretty heavy so it took quite a few drafts to come up with a design that would be easy to rig when touring on a tight schedule. I think to get the most out of them you need to use a high channel mode but they are incredibly versatile and you can get so many different looks out of one fixture.”
Kait added that Damondbacks are so multifaceted they would suit a wide variety of applications including corporate, music or broadcast. She says that, if you have the time, you can do some intricate programming but even in the simple modes they will add a lot of impact to an event.
“It’s incredible how much air they filled and how many different looks I was able to create considering there were only ten of them.”
The whole design centred around the DiamondBacks so once a supplier was found who had them available, Kait was willing to be flexible with the choice of spots. Luckily, she didn’t have to make any compromises because Res X had their new Sharpy X-Frames available. Kait positioned six on the rear truss and four on the floor.
“The Sharpy X-Frames far surpassed my expectations,” she commented. “Their beam range was incredible, coupled with the right gobo and an animation wheel, I could easily fill the Enmore and Forum with twinkling gobos. When I needed a solid beam, they were really gutsy even with fully saturated mixed reds and congos. They are a really impressive unit.”
Kait also utilised six Martin MAC Auras on the front truss and four more as sidelight. Again, this came down to truck space more than anything else, two road cases are enough to light the whole band.
Kait required a lot of universes to run the DiamondBacks but other than that, she says that control was pretty straightforward.
“There are so many intricate timing elements that I did initially consider programming with timecode but Jet don’t use any track and like to have some flexibility so it’s all just live,” she remarked. “Originally we were planning on using house consoles everywhere so it made sense to keep using an MA2 for this run because a lot of the venues still have MA2s. Unfortunately, until there are consistently more MA3s on festivals and in venues, it’s going to be hard to make a permanent leap to MA3 but hopefully this will happen in the near future.
This design evolved a lot in its infancy and Kait really appreciated being able to bounce ideas around with her business partner, Cam McKaige from Let There Be Light. She notes that Andrew, Eve and all the team from Res X worked very patiently with her as the design morphed from the initial concept to the finished product.
Tour Management – Shan Vanderwert
Set and Lighting Design and Operation – Kait Hall
Touring Lighting Tech – Eve Conroy
FOH Audio – Matt Landers
Monitors – Dave Darlington
Guitars and Backline – Nicholas Grammaticos
Truck Driver: Jarryd Sheehan
Lighting Project Manager: Andrew Davies
Photos: Eve Conroy (except photos 6 & 7)