NASHVILLE, TN – Lighting designers often like to talk about how they capture music in light, but Chris Lisle has taken this concept a step further on the Chase Rice tour. The well-known Nashville LD, who’s done standout work for the likes of Miranda Lambert, One Republic and Robert Plant, wove images of music and light together in dramatic fashion for the up-and-coming country star by converting faux guitar cabinets into lighting effects, courtesy of 16 Nexus Aw 7×7 LED panels from CHAUVET Professional provided by 4Wall Nashville.
Lisle positioned the Nexus Aw 7×7 panels inside eight of the replica cabinets, which were arranged on top of set carts along a row that ran across the upstage deck. When the Chauvet fixtures were off, the set props looked like standard guitar cabinets. Then, when the show kicked into high gear, the “cabinets” came alive, shooting out intense beams of warm white light from the Nexus’ 49-watt LEDs. Pixel mapped sweeps created the sensation that the scenic element amps were actually responding to the hard-driving guitars riffs on stage.
Like many startling ideas, Lisle’s creative use of the Nexus Aw 7×7 panels grew out of practical concerns. Rice’s recent Number One Billboard album Ignite The Night has transformed him into a hot commodity in country music. This led to his being selected to open for superstar Kenny Chesney on a tour that stopped at large arenas. From a design standpoint, this meant two things: Rice would be appearing on a much bigger stage than usual; and as the opening act setup and tear down time would be critical for his rig.
“In a big arena setting like where Kenny Chesney plays, I always want to fill as much visual space with light as possible,” said Lisle. “This helps make the make the show look bigger without a gigantic budget. The faux guitar cabinets were an existing part of the set already. However, I knew that by adding the Nexus inside of them I’d be able to pull out some cool fun tricks during Chase’s 25-minute set that engaged the audience and filled the stage. Of course once that set was over, we wanted a rig that could be moved off the stage promptly. Having the Nexus panels set in the cabinets really helped with this process.”
Lisle mounted the panels flat facing outward inside the cabinets. Each of the cabinet/fixtures was linked to the next via DMX. The LD credits his programmer Mike Marcario for creating impactful pixel mapped images on the Nexus panels.
“Mike did a great job of pixel mapping them and doing some great sweeps and motion with them for sure,” said Lisle. “He did more effects than anything – generic sweeps and use of geometrical patterns. It really created the look we wanted on stage.”
The acclaimed LD also praised the Nexus panels and 4Wall Nashville. “I love the color temperature of the Aw 7×7,” he said. The fact that I get those nice CTO punchy beams out of the guitar cabinets makes for a great look. I am a big fan of the warmth of tungsten light, and this fixture does a good job at giving us that. The team at 4Wall Nashville was also great, helping me every step of the way. It’s always a good feeling when you come up with an offbeat idea and everyone says, ‘Hey! it actually worked.’”