Don Broco: Embracing Technology
Rising British rock band, Don Broco, have just completed a UK arena and club tour, and are now bound for the States. We go behind the scenes to find out all about their team’s state of the art production values, and bespoke lighting show, designed to complement the music.
The Don Broco journey has been an interesting one: they were making waves a decade ago, playing Camden Crawl and Download Festival in 2009, as well as supporting Enter Shikari on a short run of shows in May of that year. In 2012, their debut album, Priorities, entered the UK Top 40, peaking at number 33; and three years later, Automatic made number six, which helped the band land the huge support slot for the UK leg of Bring Me The Horizon’s 2016 tour. Don Broco’s most recent album, Technology, made number five last year.
Skip to present day, and this quartet have completed their own UK tour, and are heading to the US. It’s been a very fruitful musical journey so far, and Don Broco have certainly proven they have longevity - yet you can’t help but feel they’re just getting started.
For this tour, production values have been paramount; dominating their stage production is a very impressive lighting rig, centring around GLP Impression X4 Bar 20 LED battens, specified and programmed by Ben Inskip.
Inskip was asked to join the band’s team in 2017 when they announced a one-off show at Alexandra Palace to kick off their new album campaign, which at the time was the biggest full production show they had done. Things have moved on, of course.
“Since then, we have done shows of all shapes and sizes, but this arena tour was another big step up for them, and a fitting end to the Technology album cycle,” reflects Inskip.
In keeping with the Technology name, the LD set out to give the shows a futuristic look throughout the cycle, ‘using a lot of straight lines to create interesting shapes’. Taking the campaign artwork as a reference, he came up with tes idea of a portal to another dimension (think Stargate).
“The design evolved over many revisions, to a point where I had plenty of high impact looks, and tons of versatility at my disposal,” Inskip reveals. “The X4 battens were at the top of my list when choosing fixtures. There really isn’t anything comparable for highlighting the shape of the production, as well as having the ability to get those really cool sheets of light, and a substantial stage wash at times, too.”
In fact, Inskip has turned to GLP for his solutions many times over the years, dating back to the original GLP impression 90.
“I’m a big fan of the entire X4 range, as well as the JDC1 [hybrid strobe],” he says. “But for this project, I’ve blown my budget on as many X4 Bar 20s as I could get!”
He’s not kidding: he sourced no less than 76 from Siyan..! With variance in venue size, the lighting package had to be scalable, but that wasn’t a bad thing.
“The routing of the tour actually worked out quite well in this regard, as we started in the smallest venue on the tour, and scaled up a bit every day,” says Inskip. “The design scaled vertically and horizontally while maintaining the main shape, which is where the X4 Bars really helped give continuity to each show, no matter the size.”
As a regular user of the X4 Bar 20, Inskip is familiar with the vast number of looks that can be achieved.
“They are perfect for what I’m trying to do with the Broco show, so they were always going to feature in the design, however it ended up,” he admits. “I have used batten-style fixtures through the campaign, each for different applications, but for the bigger shows, I needed something that could offer more versatility.
“Of course, the classic sheet of light that the X4 Bar creates when zoomed in is something no other batten offers, and the ability to move them to create different shapes and scenes - almost like moving walls around the stage - was pretty awesome with the quantity I had to play with.”
Inskip ran all the X4 Bars in Single Pixel HR mode, and instead of pixel mapping through a media server, used the FX engine and timeline on his Vista L5 desk to get all of the looks he wanted.
As for the rig itself, he had four overhead trusses in a 45-degree chevron shape, and some returns on the back truss at the same angle, giving three distinct chevrons, all traced with X4 Bars.
“The riser arrangement on the stage mirrored the shape above, so I had X4 Bars running down each ramp, and also on the podium risers,” Inskip reveals. “This gave me some pretty good layers, and definitely made the shape of the risers and trusses a stand-out feature of the design.”
Inskip handled his own programming, a challenging undertaking when running the X4 Bar 20 in Single Pixel mode due to its large channel count.
“But having this much control over the units meant I could use them a lot throughout the show while still making them look different each time we see them,” he points out.
After another successful tour of duty, Inskip is unlikely to replace the X4 Bar 20s anytime soon – actually, he has already specified them on future designs.
“The versatility they provide is what makes them stand out,” he concludes. “Going from vertical walls of light all over the stage to a massive zoomed out audience effect with the same fixtures, as well as being responsible for giving the entire production its shape, made them critical to this design’s success.”