LOS ANGELES – True to his name, Machine Gun Kelly starts each concert on his No Class Tour with a scene of searing spine-rattling intensity that leaves his fans, awed, amazed and ready for more. Lighting designer Alex Kay contributes to this unforgettable moment by unleashing a massive volume of illuminated “fire red” fog, courtesy of five Geyser RGB foggers from CHAUVET DJ.
The high output fogger, which was provided to the tour by 4Wall Entertainment, sends a blast of fog 25 feet in the air, while illuminating it with 21 intense RGB LEDs. Kay arranges three of the Geysers, under the “blow through” perforated metal risers downstage, while the two other units are positioned upstage left and right.
For Kay and the legion of Machine Gun Kelly fans, the effect is pure magic. “During the intro MGK comes out, and halfway through the record he stands on some blow through metal risers that span the width of the downstage edge,” said the LD. “Then the stage goes dark, with the exception of a tight spot on him, when the track cuts out. As soon as the track comes back, all five geysers in our rig start shooting up fog illuminated by pure red LED light to create this thick smoky and fiery atmosphere on stage.”
At this point Kay uses strobes to illuminate the rapper from different directions; then after about 30 seconds, Machine Gun Kelly stands directly over the downstage center Geyser RGB. With the entire stage dark except for the strobes and red fog, the audience sees the rapper only as a shadowy figure. “A few seconds later MGK is gone,” said the LD. “I use the fog to make him disappear seamlessly off stage.”
As for the audience reaction, Kay says this: “When the Geysers are going off during the start of the concert, the room is always full of loud, excited screams. MGK loves them as well; he’ll purposely stand right on top of them and get engulfed in fog multiple times throughout the show. The impact on the audience is pretty astounding.”
During the rest of the concert, Kay will take advantage of the Geyser RGB’s impressive color mixing capabilities to create a variety of hues that match different scenes in the rapper’s show. “The Geysers help me create a lot of sick looks; everyone involved in the show absolutely loves them,” said the LD. “Also, being able to use harmless (water-based) fog, instead of potentially dangerous CO2 jets, has helped us work around quite a few ‘low ceiling’ venue problems during our tour.”
Kay, who’s been working with Kelly since the 24-year-old rapper was doing local shows in his hometown of Cleveland, relies on super intense Nexus 4×4 panels from CHAUVET Professional to add to the 6’4” rapper’s dramatic stage presence. “We have four 10’ towers of power truss setups on stage, each with two Nexus panels,” he said. “Sometimes we’ll frame MGK with the Nexus panels; it makes one very powerful statement.”
Creating a powerful statement is really what a Machine Gun Kelly performance is all about. This much is crystal clear, especially when the popular rapper is shrouded in fog.