UK singer-songwriter and musician Howard Jones is back on the road celebrating 35 years since his massive Human Lib hit album, complete with a striking lighting design by Yenz Nyholm from New Illumination Lighting Design.
The moving lights include 12 x Robe MegaPointes, and 26 x LEDBeam 150s which were supplied in the UK and Europe by rental company Siyan.
Jones is considered one of the defining figures of the mid-1980s UK synth-pop genre and he has generations of loyal and new fans who enjoy seeing him live.
Yenz collaborated with Howard and his producer Stephen Tayler on the production design and look of the show, and the brief was to create something off-beat and interesting. The artist also wanted it to look and feel contemporary in an electronic / robotic way. He wanted an aspect of video in the production but stipulated that this should be part of the band rather than overpowering or a distraction to the music.
Yenz and Stephen created a stage set with an 8 x 3 metre transparent screen, which shows a variety of content throughout the performance.
On message with the futuristic vibe, the idea was to keep the stage clean and streamlined, so most of the lights are concealed behind the screen, and the rig is always trimmed as high as possible.
One rear truss has the screen hung below it, and there is a black silk backdrop upstage of this.
Eight of the MegaPointes are rigged on this back truss, with the other four hidden behind the screen on the floor just in front of the backdrop.
The top ones are used for back lighting, gobo looks and animations onto the back as well as for some aerial interaction into the crowd. The deck-based fixtures behind the screen create powerful moody beams and silhouettes throughout the show.
Upstage of the screens are four ‘robot towers’ which are fully loaded with strobes and Moles.
The LEDBeam 150s are on the back truss - used for colour washes - and side-stage on the floor for cross washes and low-level key lighting.
It is the first time that Yenz had used MegaPointes, a decision energised by “other people raving about them.”
“The light weight and flexibility are fantastic,” he commented, together with the fact that they can go from a narrow pin-point to a super-wide wash. However, it’s the clarity of the gobos that has probably impressed him the most so far, enabling his backdrop looks to really stand out.
He has used LEDBeam 150s on all his designs since discovering them in a Howard Jones tour three years ago. “They are light and perfect for smaller venues and designs, and while they look amazing in a club, they are also not lost in arenas. They just always do their job.”