Jeff Waful Rocks the Hell Out of New Years Eve 2009

Folks, I just cannot hold off on posting these images any longer.  I am editing a phone interview I just had with Jeff Waful of Umphrey’s McGee right now into a podcast, but I just felt I was actually depriving the world of these awesome images by not posting them.  Jeff Waful posted some info on his blog about the New Years’ Eve run at the Vic Theatre in Chicago (December 29) and the Aragon Theatre (December 30-31) also in Chicago.

These shots are unbefreakinglievably beautiful to me.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  Great work, Jeff.  Stay tuned for the interview!

For those who don’t know, Jeff’s out rocking the Mac III right now.  Video below, and photos below that.








Progress: Jeff Waful and Umphrey’s McGee on the Mantis Tour

I posted a while ago about a lighting designer to watch – a guy named Jeff Waful.  Jeff is the lighting designer for the band Umphrey’s McGee, a great improv rock band that falls into the Jam Band category in my head.  You know me and the jambands, I love it.

Jeff’s work with Umphreys is full of energy – it’s quick, changes rapidly like the music of Umphrey’s, and gives the audience a real visual sense of the music itself.  The UM website has a bunch of images from recent shows, and I grabbed some of my favorites for you to see.  The shows are October 9, 2009 at The Orbit Room, October 28 at McNear’s Mystic Theatre, and November 11, 2009 at the Opera House.

Visit the UM website for more images, and where to see them live.  I highly recommend the show, it’s a lot of fun, and you leave without your face because it will have been rocked off.








I’m Sorry to Hear About Michael Jackson, Patrick Woodroffe and Crew

Yes, Michael Jackson passed away this last week.  The CNN gang refused to let us know about that little fact (I’m a CNN watcher, it’s true) and by day three I was pretty sure that Michael Jackson had still departed this Earth.

What no one is talking about, however, is the fact that in addition to the rental costs that the supply companies (PRG) are going to lose, the MJ crew and designers are now out of work.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re all seasoned professionals, and I bet they will still all have work.  What I am most bummed about is that now we don’t get to see the wonderment, high production and design values, and overall art that the team had almost created.  Unless the “King of Pop” is planning a publicity stunt and we’re all about to be totally duped, these folks are out of a gig – and we all miss out on the excellent work, reviews, trade publications, and other cool stuff that happens when a huge show hits the papers.  Patrick Woodroffe, I was looking forward to reviewing your work.  I’ll just catch the next one.

I really hope that the networks at least spend 15 seconds talking about the production.  From what I am hearing, it was huge, and pretty beautiful.  I’m sorry to Michael Jackson’s family, friends, and fans about his passing, as it blows to lose a friend – but I’m also sorry that the people who make him look and sound so good are now out of work.  I hope you folks all find new work, and in short order.

Floor Lamps, Table Lamps, and Desk Lamps, Oh My!


Ellen Lampert-Greaux wrote an interesting article on Joel Wojcik’s lighting design for The Fray – a very different design, filling the stage with 50-100w lamps in various table and floor fixtures.  There are some chandeliers in there too.  It’s an informative article, please check it out.  Thanks, Ellen!

Interview with Chris Kuroda, Lighting Designer for Phish – Part 4

The final installment of the interview with Chris Kuroda, the LD for the band Phish.  Chris talks about Candace Brightman as an influence, Patrick Dierson as a teacher, and the business.  I hope you enjoy the final part!

Interview with Chris Kuroda, Lighting Designer for Phish – Part Three

The third installment of four parts of my interview with Chris Kuroda – Chris talks about the use of video in the future, the gear in his current rig, getting used to new gear, making less look like more, and just being a guy in FOH who’s designing a light show.

One of my favorite parts of the interview was Chris’ belief in shedding the mentality that he’s the fifth member of the band.  “I just want to be a guy who’s out there doing my job; I take a lot of pride in my work.  I’m trying to do the best I can.  I’m trying to become a bit more low-key – I don’t believe in the whole “CK5,” I believe in the four members of Phish and they are Phish.  I’m just trying to do my best to complement what they’re doing.”

Part Three:

Interview with Chris Kuroda, Lighting Designer for Phish – Part Two

The second installment of my interview with Chris Kuroda, lighting designer for the band Phish.  The interview took place on the afternoon of the second night of the Hampton Coliseum run early in March 2009.

I think there are going to be 4 or 5 clips in total; I wanted people to be able to watch these in pieces, as I know everyone is busy.  Chris talk about using the ShowPix in his Hampton rig and how bright they are, redrawing the show, upcoming changes, complex cue stacks, visualization software, perfection, and environmental consciousness during touring and festivals.

I hope you enjoy it!  A few more parts to go!

The Elation Impression LED Fixture


I’ve obviously mentioned about eleventy times already that I was at the three nights of the band Phish’s reunion concerts at Hampton Coliseum; I also mentioned that I was able to interview the lighting designer for Phish, Chris Kuroda!  That interview transcript and video is coming soon – but one of the things I wanted to talk about specifically were some of the LED sources that have made their way into the Phish lighting rig.

For the Hampton shows, Chris was using 32 Mac III‘s, 14 Mac 2000 XB Wash fixtures, 8 High End ShowPix, 14 Martin Atomic 3K Strobes with scrollers, and 38 Elation Impression LED fixtures.  Chris talked in detail about how he handles the difference between designing with the LED Impression fixtures versus the PAR64 sources he was using with a curve on the fader, and how much he likes the quickness of the LED sources.  He also had great praise for the ShowPix fixtures, which were used throughout very tastefully.

The Elation Impression fixtures were placed throughout the rig and used primarily for a toplight-esque system – but on several occasions they were used in a fan-delay tilt effect, and the brightness of the Impression fixture is amazing!  High output and low energy consumption at 60 lumens per watt through Luxeon K2 LEDs (90 of them) gives the Impression superiority over the 575W sources out there on the market.  Impression comes with a lens carrier and a choice between 10° and 25° – and it’s FAST!  660° pan moves in 2 seconds, 300° tilt in 1 second! Impression is DMX-512 controlled, taking a 3-pin XLR.  If you have a chance to spec some of the Impression LED lumainaires, I highly recommend checking them out!

25c2b0-lens-kit impression-six-pack

Also Sprach Zarathustra – Phish, Hampton Coliseum, 3-7-2009

I have a ton of posts in the works for the long weekend I just spent seeing the Phish Reunion shows at Hampton Coliseum over the 6, 7, and 8 of March – I interviewed their lighting director, Chris Kuroda, I saw some amazing lighting, and I got to dance my butt off.  It was a great weekend.

The video below is of the Phish rendition of Also Sprach Zarathustra during the second night of shows – it’s one of my favorite tunes, and Kuroda’s lighting is fantastic!  I hope you enjoy it!

Phish, Hampton Coliseum, 3-6-2009

I just got back to the hotel after four hours of great music from Phish!  Hampton Coliseum was packed to the gills, and everyone seemed to have a great time, especially the band.  I’m pretty exhausted, so I’ll just mention that Chris Kuroda provided an outstanding lighting design for the welcome back for Phish.  I’m trying to hook up with Chris some time tomorrow (call me, Chris!) and ask him about the rig, the show, getting back together, and what he’s been up to in the last few years.  I saw him light The Black Crowes at Riverwind Casino last Spring, so we know he’s been busy rocking and rolling and such.

A side note – Chris’ new rig is pretty fantastic.  ShowPix, (I think) some Martin Atomic Strobes, a bunch of LED wash fixtures, and Vari*Lite VL3000’s.  I’m going to try to confirm all this soon.  I also took a ton of crappy iPhone pics – I’ve posted some below, but they’re crappy – I promise!

What a great show!  Two more nights to go!