STATELINE, NV – Lake Tahoe is 2,964 miles from Jamaica. That may seem like a long way, but it’s a mere hop, skip and a jump compared to Hawaii, which lies over 5,200 from the Caribbean island. Still, in a testament to the universality of music, the Nevada resort hosted a wildly popular Reggae Festival headlined by Iration, a Billboard chart-topping group that hails not from the island of Jamaica, but from other islands in Hawaii.
Keying the lightshow for the group’s Lake Tahoe performance, which took place at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, was a collection of pixel-mapped CHAUVET DJ COLORbar SMD strip lights. Lighting designers Chris Boardman and Cullen Noon, working for LIT Lighting (Phoenix, AZ), used the intensely bright fixtures to engage the large enthusiastic festival crowd with audience lighting and dynamic pixel-mapped chases and animations.
The band’s festival rig was built around 16 COLORbar SMD fixtures. Boardman and Noon positioned 12 of the RGB LED strips on set carts and flew the remaining four above the band on downstage pipes.
“We have the 12 Chauvet fixtures mounted permanently on two set carts – six each,” said Noon, who tours with the popular sunshine reggae quintet. “These COLORbar fixtures are pointed straight out to the audience. The light they blast into the crowd engages people with the band, which is what Iration is all about. We get the audience standing and singing along with the band’s upbeat reggae sounds. The lighting makes the audience part of the performance.
“The four COLORbars that are hung on pipe above the band are used to create great silhouette looks,” continued of the LD. “All of the Chauvet fixtures are linked using DMX. We control them with an Avolites Tiger Touch controller, mainly using the Avolites Pixel Mapper and new key frame shape generator.”
Iration, which has topped Billboard’s Reggae charts with its third album Automatic and has reach the No. 1 position on iTunes’ Reggae album chart with its hit “Time Bomb,” has attracted a large following by incorporating a wide range of musical elements from alternative rock to pop into its happy, upbeat reggae sound.
The diversity of the group’s unique sound makes it essential to have a lighting system that can reflect the changing moods of its performances. According to Boardman and Noon, the COLORbar SMD, with its eight individual sections of RGB control and extensive pixel-mapping capabilities, gives them the flexibility to keep up with the group’s far ranging performances.
“Lighting a group like Iration is fun, because its music knows no boundaries,” said Boardman. These words are a fitting tribute to a group that’s added some new twists to a musical genre that originated over 5000 miles from their home — and for a lighting fixture that’s consistently able to create fresh new looks that support that sound.