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The Verve, the hottest UK band of 1998, blended cool with critical and commercial acclaim for their Urban Hymns album. This, together with their chart-storming
Bitter Sweet Symphony established them at the forefront of the pre Millennial British music scene.
The Verve played a much-hailed outdoor extravaganza at Haigh Hall near Wigan, their home town, which turned out to be one of the live performance highlights of the year. Verve fans satisfied their appetite amidst beautiful surroundings, battling with the schizophrenic English summer weather!
Lighting designer for The Verve is Jonny Gaskell, one of the UK's brightest and most creative young LD's, who has worked closely with co-designer and video artist Luke Losey on this project.
Jonny's rig for the Haigh Hall show featured an polymorphorous mix of
instruments including 28 Golden Scan HPE's, 32 Studio Colors, 12 Deathstar strobes, 12 Diversitronic strobes, numerous PARS,
Molefeys, an assortment of
theatrical lanterns, Solar 575 effects projectors and three scrolling video screens. His design was shaped and based around three elegant trussing arches.
Jonny chose to operate the show's moving lights with an Avolites Diamond 3, while Luke ran the generics from an Avo Sapphire.
Before the tour commenced, Jonny began searching for a console that would be ideal to run the show. Top priority was a desk that offered several thousand channels of control and was quick, simple and intuitive to
programme. He'd used Avo Pearls and Sapphires before, but decided that the Diamond 3 offered the perfect layout coupled with instant access to all instruments for easy
"The Diamond 3 is excellent for live work" Jonny declares. "Working in 'Takeover' mode, and grabbing a whole set of lights and being able to apply parameters immediately gives massive scope. The smoothness of crossfades and slow movement sweeps is also very impressive."
Super Furry Animals
LD Nick Jevons · Photos Phil Dent
Serious contenders for the title of hottest up-and-coming band of 1998 are the Super Furry Animals emanating from Wales, who combine agit prop, attitude and hard driving guitar pop.
"I love running it in 'Takeover' mode and having instant access to fixtures during the show."
Their lighting designer is Nick Jevons, one of the most talented young LD's in the UK and also a confirmed Avolites fan. For the last tour, Nick chose an Avo Pearl for controlling his rig which consisted of 14 V*L6s, 10 V*L5s, 4 V*L5 arcs and eight Diversitronic strobes.
As a previous Sapphire user, it was the first time Nick has taken a Pearl on tour,
"I like it because it's manageable, easy to work with and programming and
editing is so straightforward."
Avolites at the
The austere Deco splendour of the Grand Temple of the Freemasons Hall was one of the more surreal settings for a performance of Handel's
Samson - part of the 1998 Covent Garden Opera Festival.
Lighting for the performance was designed by Ivan Morandi, who has carved a niche for himself as a specialist in opera and recital lighting in addition to that of more off-beat performance art projects.
Samson was directed by Aiden Laing. The work was produced without set. It was presented as a choral piece with lighting consequently assuming elemental importance in terms of generating atmosphere and effect.
Ivan's brief was that the lighting should co-ordinate intimately with the direction and movement of the singers, and should be interesting and experimental. In the past, Ivan has introduced moving lights to opera with mixed reviews - and this very challenging project was no exception.
Lighting instruments were carefully selected for maximum flexibility. The rig consisted of 14 V*L6s, 12 V*L5 Arcs, 30 Source Four profiles and 24 pars.
For this complex production, Ivan chose an Avolites Pearl 2000, a console with which he is very familiar and one that could be programmed quickly and easily under the extreme time pressure and lack of rehearsal time.
He explained that the Pearl is ideal for control of moving lights and for a show that is a mixture of pre-prepared cues and busked ones - necessitating fast and constant access to all functions and instruments - as was the case with
ART in action
The new Avolites ART digital dimmer is now in full production.
Users include The Northern Ballet from Leeds, currently touring in the UK, who have 4 racks of ART dimming, purchased in time for their summer touring season.
Other ART customers include Blackpool Pleasure Beach, HDS film Studios, rental company Metropolis Lighting run by Dave Hurley, Jansen & Jansen from Holland for the NND Ballet and Arlecchino from Moscow.
The ART dimmer is incredibly quiet offering silent operation at full duty cycle, 12 channels of dimming, a diverse selection of
user-definable dimming curves, full patching system, helpful and informative status displays and many other features and benefits.
It follows in the fine tradition that has established Avolites dimming as the concert touring industry standard.
Faith in the Azure
STAR OF CLUB AND CLOISTER!
Avolites America has had another busy year. There has been keen stateside interest in the Azure for both club and church markets - as well as for industrial shows. Even the mighty McDonalds corporation owns an Azure which is used on its trade shows!
The last 12 months has seen restructuring of the
Avolites America sales department to enable more specific regional coverage. Enthusiastic support has been given by Eric Bernstein at Premier Lighting, servicing Austin and neighbouring states with a host of ecclesiastical installations. Illinois is represented by Russ Armentrout of Pete's
Lites. On the west coast is the affable Paul Dexter at A1 Audio.
Diamond 3s and Pearls are active on most of the major touring acts of the year, including "The Artist" (formally known as Prince), who's LD Mark
"Fi Fi" Miller is using a Pearl 2000; Boyz 2 Men (LD John
LaBriola) and Aerosmith (LD Jim Chapman) who have both enthused about their Diamond 3s - these consoles have been supplied by A1 Audio.
V*LPS are supplying the D3 on the popular The Rolling Stones Bridges To Babylon tour (LD Patrick
Woodroffe, lighting director Ethan Weber). Diamond IIs have been touring with Dave Matthews, Garth Brooks and Pantera among
others, and the Sapphires have been used on Patti LaBelle, Alan Jackson, The Beastie Boys the Allman Brothers tours and many more.
LD Lorna Durbin at Doc's Club, Limerick.
Photos courtesy of WDR magazine
The pre-installed shapes make the Azure complete
are definitely in vogue in the Emerald Isle where Ireland's
energetic, active and very unique club culture itself is booming during the closing years of the century.
He is also a keen advocate of operator training for all Avo consoles "The way to
maximise the full capabilities of the Azure is definitely to ensure that operators are aware of the massive flexibility and scope" he continues.
Kevin McCarthy's Dublin based company, Audio Visual Lighting Systems, has installed the
Azure into four new clubs. This follows hot on the heels of many previous AVLS projects featuring
Pearls - Kevin's desk of choice for systems with large lighting rigs and a profusion of intelligent fixtures - before the advent of the
Further South in Co Donegal, Declan Reynolds' company, Reynolds of Raphoe has sold two
Azures for club installations. "The number of channels coupled with the amount of memories, scenes and chases make it a winner" he states affirmatively
"as more and more lighting systems are making use of intelligent fixtures and moving lights, the need for powerful desks to control them is paramount."
One of Declan's Azures has been sold to Beta Systems who installed it into Doc's in Limerick, a totally refurbished grooving dance club with a capacity of 1,800. The
Azure is controlling Clay Paky Mini Scans, TAS Ultra Scans, Par 56's, strobes,
pinspots, various effects, TAS Syncros, fibre optics and even a laser. Beta Systems' John Murphy spoke to Doc's manager Paul Ryan who had seen the
Azure at PLASA 97. John says "Paul suggested we checked it out, which we did - and we loved it! We'll use
Azure's for all the big installs we do from now on". For him, the versatility of the software, the in-built programmes together with the expedient size and stylish looks of the console are among its strongest features.
Iain Hill with one of the future generation of Avo users
Iain Hill and his company Illusion International are
co-ordinating The Red Tent project, a theatre training scheme for young people based in South Wales, funded by The Vale of Glamorgan Council. The Red Tent itself is their multi-purpose mobile venue which can be erected in several different formats.
Iain wanted only the best equipment for his budding theatre professionals and so decided to invest in an Avolites
Pearl and 36 way dimmer rack. "This is the calibre of gear they'll come across in their professional lives" he states.
Prior to the purchase, Avolites had loaned the project a Pearl, Graphic Tablet and dimmers for last year's 10 day Daffyn Gardens Festival where it was a roaring success with the operators.
Peter Wynne Wilson and Pearl in helicopter at the Red Bull Air Show · Photos David Morrell
Inventor, eccentric and technical creator Peter Wynne Wilson used an Avolites Pearl to control one of the Wynne Wilson Gottelier RazorHead super-searchlights - from the cockpit of a helicopter!
Accompanying Peter and the Pearl in the cockpit was the pilot!
This was a spectacular highlight of the Red Bull Air Show in Weiner Neustadt, Austria.
Peter controlled the pan and tilt parameters plus constant rotation on both axes of the RazorHead with the
Pearl. To enable this, Avolites wrote a special personality for the RazorHead. The fixture was slung below the helicopter on a 4-way cradle, with the generator on the bottom deck, the xenon power
supply on the next 'floor' up, the xenon lightsource itself on the third and finally the RazorHead moving head on the top level.
Avolites boards have subsequently been used to control RazorHeads in many different situations, and Avo have enthusiastically supported the development of the Razorhead project, which started in impressive fashion with the 'Periscopes' on U2's Popmart world tour.
EBBW Vale College
Jan Osborne (L), Pearl and student at the Halloween Ball
Jan Osborne teaches on the Rock 'n' Pop BTech National Diploma and First Diploma in the Performing Arts courses at the Ebbw Centre of Gwent Tertiary College.
In addition to the musical and performing arts aspect, the course entails coverage of technical skills such as stagecraft, lighting, recording, sound mixing, MIDI, CAD, etc.
Jan has been at the college for 3 years, and found the lighting resources on offer for the students on the main production stage were increasingly inadequate. Last year she successfully
lottery bid by the college to be used for purchasing new lighting gear. Jan then went to PLASA to survey what was on offer. Out of all the console manufacturers, Avolites not only had the best desk, but were the most flexible in accommodating her price framework. Furthermore, Avo also came highly recommended by local rental company
Jan proudly took delivery shortly afterwards of the Pearl 2000 Tour which had it's first major outing on the college's Halloween
production. It will do five in-house productions per year plus numerous outside gigs. "It's a dream come true" she exclaims "Our old lighting desk didn't even have flash buttons!"
AVO at the EXPO
Expo's technical advisor Nuno Varzea
Avolites' super-salesman Tony Shembish completed an incredible deal with the Belgian sales and rental giants Phlippo
Showlight, who supplied lighting and control to the many stages of the Expo, Lisbon, Portugal.
No less than 14 Avolites Pearl 2000 consoles and three Diamond 3s are installed across the 16 live open-air stages at the Expo site, controlling a multiplicity of lighting fixtures - both moving and generic.
Not content with supplying 17 consoles to one production, the superb Avolites product specification plus Tony's charm, wit and well-exercised mouth were instrumental in the supply of another plethora of Avolites desks to the Expo. This time it was via
Vari*Lite Production Services in the UK and Vari*Lite Portugal (Access All Areas) in Lisbon. These two companies collectively provided another 6
Pearls and two Diamond 3's to venues on the site.
A staggering 25 Avolites consoles on one site!
Tony first come into contact with the Expo during a PLASA exploratory mission three years ago. After the initial meeting, he continued the contact with Nuno
Varzea, technical advisor to the Expo. Avolites' Portuguese distributors Cinemate were also instrumental in finalising the
Two months before the Expo opened, Tony went to Cinemate to run a series of Open Days to
provide training and introduce Expo console operators to Avolites. An Avolites training school was established on the Expo site to enable local technicians and operators to continue expanding their Avo knowledge.
The Avolites training school also provided visiting LD's with the facilities to
pre-programme and make show disks in advance. Over 600 bands played the Expo between June and