Major Lazer utilises Robe at Coachella

Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images for Coachella

USA: Major Lazer unleashed their new live show across the two weekends of this year’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, California, featuring lighting and visuals designed by Kyle Kegan of Voyage Productions. Amongst other lights, Kegan utilised Robe BMFL Spots, BMFL WashBeams and ColorStrobes – all recently purchased by Rainbow Production Services.

“Those strobes are simply mind-blowing,” said Kegan, who used them for the first time after receiving a demo and swapping the originally specified product for the new ColorStrobes. “At times you could hardly look at the stage they are so bright. That’s what a strobe is all about.”

Major Lazer’s new stage set includes eight three-sided Periactoi style 13ft high towers which are about 7ft wide, but only six were used at Coachella. The first facade is a scenic speaker cabinet design trimmed with LED tape and with LED blinders hiding in the cones. The second is an LED video surface, and the third contains moving lights and the Robe ColorStrobes. A pair of ColorStrobes is positioned on each of three levels – the top, mid and bottom of the tower.

The lights are all rigged on a trussing section that is also the structural backbone of the tower, and these have been custom engineered and fabricated by Rainbow for the tour.

The 12 x BMFL WashBeams and 12 x BMFL Spots also made a great impression for Major Lazer’s set. The BMFL Spots were used six a side, on the floor and on cases to vary the height, providing powerful cross lighting for the dancers in the fast-paced, fully choreographed show. Kegan only used them at about 50-60% intensity.

The BMFL WashBeams – which are even brighter – were located upstage on the deck, dotted in and around the set pieces onstage, used for beam and wash effects and to help light the other set pieces.

“They are bright, fast and the optics are great,” said Kegan. He’s been using Robe products in his work for several years, with the newest ones becoming more prominent on his specs as Robe has brought super-bright products like BMFL, Pointe and ColorStrobe to the market.

The entire Major Lazer festival lighting package is designed to be wheeled onto stage and up-and-running in 20-30 minute changeover slots, but in reality the crew achieved this even quicker at Coachella, a serious feat for the first time ‘in situ’ as Major Lazer readied for their highly memorable primetime sunset slots that captivated their audiences.

Joining Kegan on the Major Lazer creative team were tour director Jim Runge, lead programmer and lighting director Devon Brown – who ran the show on grandMA2 – video director Mike Burakoff and production manager Anthony Pitcher. The house lighting rig for the Coachella Stage was supplied by PRG.

In addition to Major Lazer, Kegan and Voyage Productions also designed a new set as well as lighting and visuals for Jack Ű who played both weekends on the Outdoor Theatre Stage. This was based on a giant scenic Apple Macintosh II. For this, he also utilised eight of RPS’s BMFL WashBeams, placed behind the computer for big ACL looks, and the 12 x BMFL Spots which were dotted around on the deck.

The festival package version of the new Major Lazer design featured at Coachella, and the full touring version – with lighting, sound, video and staging provided by Rainbow Production Services – can be seen at a combination of Major Lazer’s own headline gigs and festival headline slots throughout Europe and the US this summer, with two complete duplicate systems in operation.

Other Robe products in action at Coachella 2016 included 66 x Pointes used by Steve Lieberman on the Yuma Stage from Felix Lighting; 90 x Pointes and 48 x BMFLs on the Sahara Stage, supplied by Felix Lighting and Zenith to AG Production Services; and Robe ColorStrobes provided by Felix Lighting to Ice Cube for his main stage set, and to Halsey for her performance on the Outdoor Theatre stage.