Australian metalcore band Polaris toured through September in support of their third studio full-length album, Fatalism. Their most ambitious national headline tour to date was lit by Calum Young who describes their music as quite ‘technical’.
“Metalcore is quite a technical genre of music, a lot of strange timings and it can be difficult to strike a balance between hitting all of those moments without overwhelming the audience with strobes – Polaris combine that chaos with some massive choruses which are always a joy to light,” explained Calum.
Calum had the same floor package all over the country, except Perth, and a flown package was used for the two bigger shows, the Hordern Pavilion and Margaret Court Arena, with house packages used elsewhere. Ei Productions supplied the gear.
The rig comprised four flown trusses featuring 18 x Ayrton Ghiblis, 21 x Martin MAC Aura PXLs and 12 x Nitec LED blinders. On the floor were eight Ayrton Mistrals, eight more Nitec blinders and eight Prolights Astra Wash37Pix. Twelve Claypaky Mini Bs provided side light.
“The Astra Wash37Pix are great, a cool fixture,” commented Calum. “I only used them in basic mode and to be perfectly honest, I think it worked out better doing it that way. I’m super into big face washes and the bigger a wash head I can get, the happier I am! I like the ring on the outside of the fixture – it’s bright enough to use effectively which most are not. You get a real solid effect with those big rings and that worked out well with the music as there are a few songs where they talk about circles!”
Calum was equally impressed by the Martin MAC Aura PXLs describing them as doing exactly what they say they do on the box! He adds that they’re bright, fast, sharp and essentially, everything that was good about the original Aura but enhanced.
“They were awesome and the colour that comes out of them is very good,” said Calum. “They’re super bright and despite being half the size, they competed well with the Astra Wash37Pix fixtures.”
Calum placed six Claypaky Mini Bs on either side of the stage for sidelight saying they provided nice colours and good brightness.
“They’re just that right size as well and when you’ve got six of them as a side fill, it’s not just a nice flat side fill, it’s a look of its own which I quite like,” he said. “Of that size light, the Mini Bs are my favourite, they have a tiny beam light except they wash as well which is fabulous.”
As for the Ghibli and Mistral fixtures, Calum remarks that the entire Ayrton range is just so good and he can’t fault it.
“It all clones nicely as well which is important,” he added. “Again, they’re bright and crisp and they move fast. They’re such a good light. You can’t fault any of the Ayrton gear. And to be perfectly honest, although on paper the Ghiblis are brighter and bigger, the Mistrals were keeping up!”
Calum utilised zactrack on five of the Ayrton Mistrals declaring it as amazing and very cool. As a lighting designer who hates frontwash with a passion, zactrack is a dream come true for him.
“A front wash flattens out your stage and can ruin your live show,” he commented. “zactrack worked so much better than I expected it to as I thought it would be all right but maybe a bit of a gimmick. It was faultless. It made such a difference to the show which I didn’t expect. It was quick and managed to keep up with the singer running around. It would always be on the band members and I could turn it on from the console without having to think.”
Calum adds that the band liked zactrack as it’s not obtrusive – they’ve just got to have two little trackers in their pockets. Ei Productions’ Dan Callaghan had no issues setting up the zactrack system simply requiring people off the stage for 10 minutes to calibrate it and that was done.
“I think creatively, there’s a lot of stuff that people are going be able to do with that system that we haven’t even gotten to yet,” remarked Calum. “The fact that you’ll be able to point your entire rig at a singer and then have them move around will be great, especially with a system that’s not that hard to set up and not that pricey. I think a lot of people are going to be discovering a lot of really cool looks out of that system.
“Every few years there’s always something that every show will use for a while, I feel like that zactrack system is going to be one of those things. It’s just so good.”
For control, Calum ran an MA Lighting grandMA3 light in MA3 mode saying he is fully converted.
“It was a bit of a learning curve but I have no regrets!” he said. “It’s such a cool system. This whole show was built with recipes, so there’s not a single cue in this show that’s not a recipe which definitely made life easy. There was a bit more pre-production and more pre-programming.
Photos: Jordan Munns