The Parlotones recently took to the stage at the Teatro at Montecasino in Johannesburg, for Parlotones Orchestrated Live. For this concert, the band performed with an 11-piece orchestra backing, vocalist and conductor. With a chamber ensemble, arranged and conducted by composer and musician Brendan Jury, who also played the Viola, the well-known music of the band had a fresh sound for the audience.

With Gearhouse Splitbeam supplying all the lighting, subcontracted by Eastern Acoustics, who themselves supplied all of the audio for the show, Eastern Acoustics' systems engineer David Classen and audio engineer Johan Griesel on FOH, as well as lighting designer Kevin Stannett from Crosslight programming on a grandMA2 light, as always, the concert took a turn… for the great!


For the lighting of the concert, Stannett stepped up to the plate with an entire Phillips Vari-Lite rig. According to Gearhouse Splitbeam's Key Accounts Manager, Helen Surgeson, it is always interesting working on different genres in the Monte's Teatro Theatre. "We do mainly theatre productions there and doing a "rock" type concert challenges us to look at the space differently. Kevin's fresh approach to the space combined with our technicians' extensive working knowledge of the venue came together to create magic," she said. "Kevin was an obvious choice for us as lighting designer for the Parlotones. We have tried to get him on board to light for us for a while and it finally came together for the Parlotones. He gave up attending the Naledi Awards to do the production and landed up winning the Best Lighting Design Award for Nataniel's production of Animals at the Naledis."

The rig was made up of six VL4000 Spots, six VL4000 BeamWashes, three VLX Washes, six VL2500 Spots, six VL2500 Washes, six VL3500 Spots and two VL3000 Spots. FOH consisted of 24 ETC Source Four 19°. Two MDG Atmospheres created the haze, an imperative part of the show. "The look I wanted to create, because of the additional orchestra, was somewhat more theatrical than what The Parlotones are used to," said Stannett. "The band gave me a rough brief of what they wanted, but were happy for me to do what I do. They really are professional."

According to Stannett, he personally approached the show from a theatrical angle, keeping the lighting design very subtle yet effective, despite the band's rock genre and tried to make all the looks emotionally merge with the music. As the concert marked the first time he used the VL4000 Spots, which were rigged on an overhead bar behind the orchestra and BeamWashes, he was amazed at the speed and zoom of the fixtures.

"All the Vari-Lite fixtures are theatrically perfect but the additional output of the 4000s made my life very easy, they really were amazing," said Stannett. "I used the VL 4000 BeamWash on the floor to achieve some incredible beams. I was impressed by the super accurate control, but was pleasantly surprised by the speed of such a large fixture.

"The zoom was incredible, allowing me to wash the entire orchestra and band with gobos as well as individually highlight specific members. Even at a very wide zoom the beams were exceptionally crisp."

According to him, the Parlotones have a very unique sound and are also very artistic in their approach to live shows and music videos and he found that accommodating the orchestra, while keeping with the Parlotones' feel, a bit of a challenge. "I have been involved with the Parlotones before from the lighting side, but on only on smaller shows. It gave me a good understanding of what was required – however the orchestra was a new twist. The band obviously has a very unique sound, but it's about the entire picture and not just accommodating the orchestra, making sure they had enough light to see their instruments but not too "rock n roll" to blind them. And all the while keeping the looks rich, interesting and in keeping with the Parlotones' feel."

The professional technical service presented by Alistair Kilbee and his team at Splitbeam, make working in the Teatro a pain free and pleasurable experience, according to Stannett. "I would like to mention Splitbeam for their incredible attention to detail and complete involvement in the event," he said. "Great service as always."

Story by Elaine Strauss, reprinted courtesy Pro-Systems News | by Meghan McCabe Photography

Sep 19, 2016

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