TOWSON, MD – To say that Fetty Wap’s career has taken off like a rocket since he burst on the music scene in February 2014 is akin to suggesting that Star Wars The Force Awakens drew a nice crowd at its opening. In the entire history of popular music, only two artists have seen their first three singles occupy top 11 positions on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart at the same time. Fetty Wap is one; the Beatles are the other.
Unfortunately, the 24-year-old New Jersey-born rapper’s magic ride came to a sudden pause in September 2015, when he suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident. A few months later, though, he was ready to resume touring. One of his first performances was close to home for a sold-out crowd at the SECU Arena on the campus of Towson University. Lighting designer Brett Angstadt of Round Peg Productions was ready to support the lyrical rapper’s trap boom performance with a powerful light show anchored by 18 Rogue R2 Wash moving LED fixtures from CHAUVET Professional.
“I was excited to light such a hot new artist, especially since this show was so important to fans that hadn’t seen Fetty Wap perform since his accident,” said Angstadt. “The Rogues were critical to reflecting the mood of the music and highlighting the artist on stage. We used beams and aerial effects as well as some blinders in our rig, but we avoided spots to evoke a more intimate mood. Without followspots, we really counted on the high output and the wide zoom range (12°-49°) of the Rogue R2 Washes to provide front light on stage. They delivered all the brightness we wanted.”
Angstadt flew the Rogue R2 Washes on two rows of overhead truss. Arranged in groups of two and linked via DMX, eight of the RGBW fixtures were flown on the upstage truss and ten on the downstage unit. Positioned between beam and profile fixtures, the LED washes had more than enough output to stand out and fill a variety of roles during the course of the show.
“This was a fully busked show covering a wide range of emotions, so I used a little bit of everything these fixtures had to offer to keep up,” said Angstadt. “We relied on the Rogues’ zoom to create different looks. We used lens effect macros to create some cool audience lighting for high-energy parts of the show – and fast pans and tilts to add to the eye candy effect throughout. We also used them to colorize the artist’s backdrop.”
Pulsing, tight, and thoroughly melodic, Fetty Wap’s sound blurs the lines between R&B and rap. His voice, which he uses to sing as well as rap, has been aptly described as a “forceful honk,” and evokes all the raw power of southern trap music while still retaining an ethereal quality that moves it into the realm of the romantic. Lighting this unique, complex sound calls for creating subtle, deep and rich colors, which is precisely what Angstadt was able to produce with the Rogue R2 Wash.
“The Rogue washes were our color workhorse,” said Angstadt. “We used lots of saturated colors for back wash and white/cto/ctb for front light to give some variation – but at the same time the audience was still be able to see the performer properly. I used red and purple often on the backdrop, which created a really deep moody look to complement the music.”
Fetty Wap’s distinctively evocative sound has made him a star on social media and the internet as well as on the concert circuit. The video of his first hit “Trap Queen” has been viewed over 372 million times on YouTube in the year since it was introduced. Any fans who migrate over from that video for an online look at his January concert at SECU Arena, will not only view a powerful performance, they’ll see an impressive light show too.