SUNRISE, FL – At the start of their Midnite Mass Tour, trap music sensation Keys N Krates announced on their website that their show was going to be a “ visual extension” of their eponymous EP, which cracked the Billboard Top 20 the week it was released in late February. The Toronto-based trio went on to promise that “everything from the lighting and staging to the supporting acts” would reflect the “vibes” of their new EP. How right they were! Like their unique bumping beat blend of drums, keyboards, turntables and live sampling, the lightshow for the group’s 33-city tour is turning conventional wisdom on its head. In the process, it’s giving audiences the kind of exhilarating experience that comes from discovering something truly different.
LD Tom Nguyen is accomplishing this design feat with an overwhelming array of intense beam and strobe effects coordinated with some unique design flourishes that give his show extra depth and dimensionality. Chief among these expansive elements is his placement of eight Nexus 4 x 4 panels from CHAUVET Professional behind blow-through LED video panels.
Nguyen is arranging the video panels in different vertically oriented configurations, depending on the size and configuration of each venue’s stage on the tour, which has stopped at mid-sized halls like Terminal 5 in New York City, The Regency Ballroom in San Francisco and The Ogden Theater in Denver. In all cases, the panels are arranged in varying heights city skyline style.
When the intense output from the ultra-bright Nexus panels, which have 16 27-watt COB LEDs that produce 484 lux illuminance at 5 meters, bursts through the slits of the video panels and overwhelms their output; it creates a transformative sense of fusion on stage. Nguyen also draws on the color rendering capabilities of the RGB panels to flood the stage with different hues to reflect the varying moods of the music being performed. At other times he calls upon the Nexus units to serve as strobes and has them synced with the strobing action of the other powerful fixtures to his rig.
“The Nexus panels are an important part of our design,” said Nguyen. “Keys N Krates pushes the envelope with high-energy music that doesn’t fit into any neat little category. We reflect this attitude in our light design. We have a lot of bright fixtures on the rig to immerse the crowd and the Nexus 4 x 4 has the intense output needed to keep up. The brightness and the color of these panels gives me a lot of freedom to create some cool looks.”
Nguyen also appreciates the user-friendly features that make the Nexus 4 x4 panels easy to set up and the rugged construction that makes them easy to transport. The Keys N Krates Midnite Mass Tour is covering 33 shows throughout the US and Canada in 42 days, which makes trouble-free load-ins and transport essential for any fixture. The tour has been a transformative, bonding experience in every way, says the LD. In many ways so too is his highly expressive lightshow.