Smiles and high spirits abounded at the HBF Stadium in Perth, Australia at the country’s first large scale live music event since March!
UNLOCKED, staged mid-July, was possible due to the Western Australian state lockdown entering Phase 5 on the 27th of June, and Zaccaria Concerts’ brainchild ‘Castaway’ and VenuesWest seized the opportunity to present a sizzling array of Western Australian electronic / DnB talent including Crooked Colours, ShockOne with Reija Lee, Slumberjack and Tina Says.
The venue was sold out to an enthusiastic audience of just under 3000 people, reduced to 50% of its normal capacity and run under new safe operating procedures (SOP) regulations.
Lighting and LED screens were supplied by Perth-based rental and production specialists Showscreens, headed by brothers Ryan and Bryce Varley, who dipped into their 150 plus stock of Robe moving lights choosing BMFL Spots, MegaPointes and Spiiders to be the core of the lighting rig.
They needed powerful luminaires to make high-impact impressions and be versatile enough to offer each artist a distinctive and different production style and look for the evening as well as looking super-cool on camera as the show was live-streamed to reach a wider audience.
The event encapsulated a moment in time of the pandemic and was hugely well received by music fans and all associated elements of the live event industry that has been starved of live action for the past five months!
Showscreens is a regular technical provider for Zaccaria Concerts. Ryan, Bryce and the team had “an open brief for the production design” of this highly significant show.
With Robe as the main moving light of choice for their normally busy schedule – which includes providing lighting, video, staging and rigging for everything from corporate events to festivals, music shows and concert tours – these three types of fixtures were a natural choice for this event.
A total of 20 x Robe BMFL Spots, 24 x Spiider LED wash beams and 20 x MegaPointes, together with strobes and 4-lites were rigged on the three overhead trusses and the stage deck.
BMFL Spots on the front truss provided key light and specials while Spiiders were a solid and effective choice for full stage washes and additional effects, and more BMFLs, MegaPointes and Spiiders on the mid and upstage trusses added to the layering of lights.
On the floor, Spiiders were used for cross stage key light, shooting in from the downstage corners, with MegaPointes and BMFLs deployed along the back below the LED screen for classic beam looks and WOW-factor blast-throughs.
All the lighting fixtures were programmed via a GrandMA2 full size with a GrandMA2 Light for backup and the console was operated by Rio Hall-Jones (ShockOne & Crooked Colours), Kale Tatam (Slumberjack) and Mason Farley (Tina Says), all regular LDs and operators for Showscreens. They were additionally also able to visualise their shows in the warehouse in the days before the show.
“With all those Robes on the production rig we knew everyone would have plenty of choice for their creativity and imagination to fly,” commented Bryce, adding that everyone was totally thrilled to be working on a real live show again!
Ryan added that as a company they “love” their Robe kit for its reliability and were very happy to see their MegaPointes – the most recent addition to the Showscreens fleet – working hard and looking great with their impressive output complementing the BMFLs.
Lighting and video – comprising a single upstage 8 metre wide by 4.5 metre high screen made up of Yestech 4.8 mm Black LED, run by video tech Brad Hodgkiss – was loaded in the day before ... to the absolute delight of all the crew who relished the feel of their hands on flightcases and the kit once again.
They were all “absolutely ecstatic” and “nothing but smiling faces” declared Ryan. “While we have focussed on keeping a totally positive atmosphere throughout this period, being at this gig was a very special experience.”
The artists were also similarly excited to be performing live onstage and in front of an audience!
Ryan, Bryce and their team – they have managed to retain all staff so far throughout the crisis – have also used the lockdown time constructively to update their Occupational Safety and Health policies, moving from a paper-based system to a mobile app that is used to initiate and record all the pre-start inspections, toolbox meetings and hazard reports in one place.
UNLOCKED was the first proper opportunity to implement this new approach which involved a toolbox meeting conducted by safety officer Michael Monaco talking through parameters like social distancing and sanitising whilst working. The HBF Stadium’s own HSO sat in on the toolbox meeting and offered positive feedback.
The company has also utilized the spare time during lockdown to thoroughly maintain and service all their kit – including refinements like polishing lenses that are done less frequently when the operation is full speed. The kit being in perfect condition for the show also made the load in and rigging periods run very efficiently.
“We counted ourselves as very lucky,” states Ryan. “We received loads of well wishes from all over the industry, and it was generally a fantastic feeling and atmosphere!”
Showscreens will often collaborate with eastern Australian based companies like MPH Australia (newly merged with Creative Productions as Creative Productions Australia) to service touring work and offer nationwide continuity to their diverse client base.
UNLOCKED’s sound was supplied by Audio Technik.
Photo Credit: Brendan Cecich
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