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Robe Makes a Splash with Dubioza Kolektiv

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A largely Robe lighting rig was specified and used by leading Slovenian lighting designer Crt Birsa from design studio Blackout for Dubioza Kolektiv’s closing set of the 2023 Velenje Summer Splash open air festival, staged at the picturesque lakeshore location in Velenje, Slovenia.

Dubioza Kolektiv is one of several artists that Crt and his team from Blackout are lighting this summer as they tour Europe and further afield, all with an element of Robe on their riders.

The Velenje show took place at The Vista, a new open air performance space backing onto the lake, which was inaugurated by the municipality in 2021 and has Robe moving lights as part of the house rig.

However, on this occasion, these stripped out to allow Dubioza’s full production rig to be installed for the music evening, including 35 x Robe Pointes, 16 x Spiider LED wash beams and 11 x LEDWash 800s, which is the rider spec for all their current shows.

The Dubioza tour started in March and will continue through the autumn. “We are playing many festivals plus our own headliner shows, so it was vital to have a festival-friendly spec that offered plenty of creative scope,” explained Crt.

Crt, well known internationally for his work with 2CELLOS, is usually acclaimed for carefully sculpted, styled and altogether more subtle lightshows, but such is the energy and power of Dubioza Kolektiv, with whom he’s worked for 11 years, that split-second timing and flash-tastic pumping the buttons was the only way to go!

That was another reason he wanted high impact lights. They needed to be adaptable, and the same lights also must work for the roster of other Blackout LDs who are minding the show while Crt works his time imaginatively to cover other commitments.

Twenty-seven of the Summer Splash show Pointes were rigged mid-stage and upstage, with 8 on the floor at the back for blow-through beam work. When available, Crt will ask for MegaPointes or at least a mix of the two fixture types for these same positions – all chosen for the volley of effects that are possible, from blasting beams out into the audience to jaw-dropping aerials to assisting with the onstage drama.

Crt is proud to say that Dubioza is the first band for whom he’s found a use for the ‘gobo shake’ effect, used brilliantly and momentarily during the song “Minimal”.

The Spiiders were positioned above the stage also in the upstage trusses and used for stage and band washes, with the LEDWash 800s on the front truss for key lighting.

The festival did have an onstage LED screen in addition to the two side IMAGs, and Dubioza supplied their own ambient content for this, but video was not a major part of their 2023 show, for which lighting was the main visual element.

The pace of the show is full on. With static scenes out apart from between numbers, the set up and programming is intense as every scene – even if flashed for a millisecond – has to look like a perfect picture for Crt.

At the essence of the design was creating plenty of clean and contrasty looks. “Every flash must have an impact, so some are more minimal than others, but all are strong and dynamic … that’s what these Robe luminaires deliver!” he notes.

He loves Dubioza’s eclectic mix of sounds and the creative freedom that they give him to create the visual picture onstage. The band members hail from several Balkan countries, so there’s already a mix of cultures and experiences, and the sound is a manic collage of hip hop, dub, ska, reggae, rock, punk, electronic and Balkan music. They are also known for their socially and politically charged songwriting and multilingual lyrics.

Crt thoroughly enjoys being on the road with them, commenting that they are “talented, fun, warm and very big-hearted characters and all-round good people.”

The lighting rig for Summer Splash was supplied by rental company Bumerang from Grušena, Slovenia. Robe has a big presence in this small and beautiful country thanks to the great work of distributor, MK Light Sound.

Other artists currently touring with lighting designs by Crt and being looked after by his Blackout team include Laibach, which is very interesting to light. He tries to gig-hop as much as possible, and keep his hand in with operating all the shows at some point once they are up and running as the schedule allows.

Other recent high-profile lighting designs have included a concert for pianist Peter Bence at Budapest Arena, Hungary, which involved 60 x MegaPointes supplied by three rental companies – Colossal Rental, For Event Ltd and Perfect Design Factory – plus a special show at Ljubljana’s Križanke venue, celebrating 30 years of the show Izstekani that is aired on Slovenia’s Val 202 radio. This show involved around 150 Robe fixtures, a combination of MegaPointes, Pointes, LEDBeam 150s and Spiiders, all supplied by Intralite.

Photo Credits: Louise Stickland, Crt Birsa, Adrian Pregel, Alan Orlic

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