UK – Lighting designer, Louisa Smurthwaite utilised the award-winning Jands Vista system to provide an elegant lighting design for hotly tipped Oxford indie rock band, Glass Animals’ recent biggest UK headline show at London’s iconic Roundhouse venue.
Since releasing their debut album in 2014, the band have quickly gained a legion of fans all over the world, along with appearances at premier music festivals such as Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds, Coachella, and Lollapalooza. Their latest album, How To Be A Human Being, was released in August to much critical acclaim, and their debut amassed over 200 million Spotify streams.
For the band’s Roundhouse show and current international tour, Louisa’s lighting design, along with the set design by Rob Sinclair, together reflect the lyrical and visual themes of the band’s latest album – which is about lead singer, Dave Bayley’s interactions with people when touring their previous album across North America.
Louisa commented, “As far as design concepts go, Dave and the band wanted to feel like they were playing within the album cover.”
As such, the band are framed on stage within large ‘Tetris’ shaped cubes, representing the ‘coloured blocks’ which frame them on the album cover. The Tetris cubes spring to life during the show with some creative uses of Martin Viper Performances.
Louisa is a long-time Vista user, having programmed and operated the flagship Vista L5 console on international tours for high-profile artists including Florence + The Machine and Kylie Minogue, amongst others.
For the Glass Animals tour, Louisa purchased her own compact Vista S1 control surface, which is complemented by an additional two Vista M1 fader wings – all powered from her MacBook Pro.
Louisa commented, “When touring, space is money. I needed a lighting control solution which was lightweight and portable. At first I was a little apprehensive about leaving the Vista L5 console behind, but I have now realised that the S1 / M1 combination offers absolutely no compromise in terms of creative possibilities or power.” Louisa was also impressed by Vista utilising the same simple, powerful and visual software across the whole hardware family – allowing her the flexibility to seamlessly transition from the range’s largest L5 console to the smallest S1 / M1 hardware package.
The Roundhouse concert was a special event in many ways. As well as marking Glass Animals’ largest UK headline show to date, it was a chance for them to perform in one of the most iconic performance spaces in the world, and during celebrations commemorating the venue’s 50th anniversary as an arts centre.
The show lighting rig featured Martin Viper Performance / Air FX, Martin Aura XBs, Clay Paky Mythos, various generics, and a huge golden mirror ball.
Summarising her experience with Vista, Louisa commented, “I am always impressed with Vista’s fixture swapping and cloning capabilities. Adapting existing programming to incorporate fixture substitutions or the house rig is a daily occurrence on tours. Having Vista automatically handle every single attribute for me, and for it to simply work every single time, is a massive advantage. Vista’s extensive factory library makes encountering the world’s most obscure fixtures a stress-free scenario.”
Louisa and Glass Animals are touring Europe, North America and Asia from November through to January. They will return to the UK in March for another series of shows.
Roundhouse photo ©Nick Pope. Instagram: @nickpopemedia. Facebook: Nick Pope.