With its intersecting patterns of light wrapping around a diamond-shaped configuration of risers, and cool colour schemes, the stage on Jacob Sartorius’ current tour evokes images of cyberspace. It is a fitting impression, since this Top 40 teenage artist catapulted to fame on the internet in 2016, when he was the ninth most frequently searched musical artist.
Lenny Sasso, who lit Sartorius’ first headlining shows two years ago, came up with the futuristic concept for the singer’s 2018 tour. Helping him in this endeavour was a collection of CHAUVET Professional Épix Strip Tour and Rogue R1 FX-B fixtures, supplied by Squeek Lights.
Sasso arranged the linear fixtures in a matrix-like formation, filling the upstage area with light while creating a mesmerising high-tech look. “I knew that I wanted to wrap the band in Épix Strips,” said Sasso. “It was just something that I kind of dreamt up. After several different designs, this was the one I landed on. It all revolved around the placement of the risers in that diamond style, which was something that we had done on Jacob’s original tours. Wrapping the fixtures around the upstage side of the risers pulled it all together.
A total of 32 Épix Strip Tour fixtures was used in the wrap-around design. Hung on eight 10’ vertical pipes and 12 8’ horizontal pipes, the Épix units displayed light as well as video content run from a laptop with Resolume software.
Also arranged on the pipe structure were eight Rogue R1 FX-B fixtures, each with five individually controlled moving heads. Drawing on the versatility of this fixture, Sasso added a myriad of “futuristic vibe looks” to his upstage display.
“Because of the layout of the FX-Bs and how their light crisscrosses, they give us a lot of geometric patterns. They also make the room look larger, regardless of how I arrange them,” said Sasso. “We got some nice ‘spaceship’ looking positions that I loved from the FX-B fixtures.
“I generally try to keep everything as symmetrical as possible when I design,” said Sasso. “Usually, I don’t use too many positions. For me, it’s mostly a straight design with a couple of X positions, an audience blind, a fly out, and maybe a centre position – that’s basically it. I had never used the FX-Bs in this type of configuration before, so it was cool figuring out what worked. Again, I don’t like things having too much of a ‘closed off’ feel to them, so I try to make the FX-Bs throw light as wide as possible.”
Adding extra colour and depth to Sasso’s lightshow, as well as aerial effects, are six Rogue R1 Wash fixtures arranged across the deck near the risers. “We get great colours out of the wash fixtures,” said Sasso. “With Jacob, I definitely tend to lean more towards cool colours. Recently I’ve tried to keep a very pastel colour feel going in his shows, but I’ll also do some looks that are specific to certain sections of songs that’ll completely flip the texture of the vibe. For example, with his song ‘Hit Me Back,’ I keep the look very natural with a blues and purple feel, but when the song hits the bridge, everything flips to a very stereotypical red, gold, green reggae feel. It comes way out of left field and takes the audience completely by surprise –which of course is my goal.”
Sasso credits his lighting director Sam Parker with adjusting his rig for different venues, so it retains its look and feel. “Sam has been operating for me on the run, and has crushed it,” he said. “I owe Sam and the people at Squeek Lights a big thank-you. I believe that when you’re working with pop music you really need to keep everything super clean and new looking. With this show, we tried to do something that we’ve never seen or done before – and I feel that this is what we accomplished.”