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Umphrey’s McGee at House of Blues Dallas – Video from the Lighting Position

Back at the beginning of June I spent a day with Jeff Waful of Umphrey’s McGee at House of Blues in Dallas.  I helped load in, took some pics, shot some video, and generally just had a fantastic day.  I got so much content from my day that I am just now getting to it.

I just cut this video up for the web – top of set two, “Miss Tinkle’s Overture.”  If you listen closely at the end, you can hear my enthusiasm for the amazing work Jeff Waful pulled off for that tune.  You do realize that he busks a lot of the shows, yes?  The man has some excellent timing.

Check out the video – pardon the terribly overexposed blues, the Flip HD absolutely sucks at saturated colors, much to my chagrin:

Umphrey’s McGee at House of Blues Dallas – Miss Tinkle’s Overture from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

JimOnLight.com Hangs with Jefferson Waful of Umphrey’s McGee at House of Blues in Dallas

I had the absolute pleasure this last week to hang out with Jefferson Waful, lighting designer for Umphrey’s McGee, at Dallas’ House of Blues  establishment downtown.  It was great to see Jefferson again – he and I spent some quality time together at SeaChanger‘s booth at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas back in April, and we waxed philosophical about lighting, music, and all things design for the camera.  Videos coming soon of that, just for your information!

The day at House of Blues was great – I’m a master electrician whenever I’m not being lighting designer/writer/nerd-rockstar guy, and the UM crew was down a man, so I helped Jefferson with the load-in.  First – the House of Blues crew is superb.  Within the first five minutes in the venue, I discovered a friendly, helpful crew that all seemed to enjoy what they did, and the house’s L1, Boombah, was just an amazing guy to crack cheap jokes with and keep the energy in the room pumped high.  Fun was had by all.

A little bit about the Umphrey’s McGee crew – four guys, every one with a department head job.  Jefferson Waful in the lighting department (and lighting designer); Kevin Browning, the Sound Caresser (that’s FOH Engineer for you non-hackers); Bob Ston, Monitor Engineer and EPG (Extremely Professional Guy); Robbie Williams, Stage Manager; and Don Richards, Tour Manager and General Cool Dude.  A great crew, most of whom have been with the band for quite some time – Bob was telling me he’s been on with UM for nine years.  NINE YEARS!  When he says that he stays at the same emotional intensity level all day and doesn’t get angry, he’s totally telling the truth.

Load-in was quick and simple – Jefferson does six Mac III’s on cases on the deck, six Mac III’s from a rear truss, A7 LED heads on a FOH truss, and some Mac 700s to compliment the rig.  Some ACLs and specials from the house rig, and we’re off!  Mac IIIs have some punch, my friends.  That’s all I’ll say about that.  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Finishing up lighting load-in:

Updating focus positions:

More focus position updates:

It was outstanding to hang out with Jefferson during his programming time – I’m not quite yet a grandMA programmer, and Jefferson uses a full-size grandMA (I’m a Hog programmer).  After watching him work the grandMA, I think I need to get my rear in gear and learn this system.

Soundcheck was – well, it was amazing.  Not only do I enjoy the band, but watching Jefferson run some looks was impressive.  I’m a big fan of watching other lighting designers work – as a lighting designer myself, I’m never really conscious of the world around me when I’m driving a lighting desk, and it’s nice to know that others are so focused on the work themselves.  Check out a few of these Soundcheck looks:

The show was equally as amazing.  Here’s a few shots of the actual show, and below that I have added a gallery of ALL of the shots I wanted to post.  Click on the thumbnails, they open a gallery view.  Enjoy!

The anticipation of the first note and the first light cue:

The first cue of the show:

with Brock Butler sitting in:

The driver driving

Thanks to Jefferson Waful and the entire Umphrey’s McGee organization for allowing me the opportunity to spread the word of great music and outstanding design!  Let’s do it again!

Umphrey’s McGee at House of Blues Dallas – Crappy Cell Phone Pic Tease

So, while I’m writing this article about my experience hanging out with outstanding lighting artist Jeff Waful of Umphrey’s McGee last night at House of Blues in Dallas, I want to tease your vision with some crappy iPhone pics I tweeted frequently throughout the show last night.  Lots, lots more images, video, and other stuff on the show last night to come, but while I’m sorting 1943 images and compiling 14 video clips, here’s a sample of what went down all day yesterday.

For those who care – the setlist:

Set One
Sociable Jimmy, 2nd Self, Example 1 > Passing, Prowler > Can’t Find My Way Home, Utopian Fir

Set Two
Miss Tinkle’s Overture, Cold Gold^, Graceland^, Dump City, Spires > End of the Road > Thin Air*

Encore:
The Bottom Half

Brock Butler opened
^ with Brock Butler on dobro and vocals
* with Pink Panther theme teases

Enjoy!  More to come, so stay tuned!

Analyzing the Design: Jeff Waful, LD for Umphrey’s McGee

I made a new friend this week at NAB in Las Vegas after having three days to wax poetic about lighting and Phish with Jefferson Waful from Umphrey’s McGee.  You get to know somebody better over drinks, and after all, we were in Vegas.  By the way, Patrick Woodruff’s lighting installation at the Wynn is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.  Ever.

When you get to know a designer, it’s interesting to meld the conversations you have before you meet them to the conversations after.  I talked to Jeff back in January about his exploits as lighting designer for moe. and Umphrey’s McGee and a host of other musings, and I just had the chance to talk geek again with him this week.

I was sitting here going over my notes from NAB, and I glanced at Jeff’s blog to check out a video I hadn’t seen of the band playing “Nothing Too Fancy” on February 28 of 2010.  Take a moment to check out this video – it’s actually ten moments, but it’s well worth your time:

I always think of a good LD as a pilot of an intangible, fast spaceship – the more in tune that person is to the music at hand, the faster and harder they’re going to fly you in and around all that is awesome.  My favorite LDs are the ones who know when to use a slow move in a period where most LDs would bang on the audience abusers to emphasize their point.  I think I am also one of the few LDs left that actually kinda link the audience abusers for what they represent.  But that moment when you’re at a show, the lighting designer is flying hard and fast in their lighting spaceship, and all of the sudden some actual art hits your eyes – those are the moments I live for, when you have to remind yourself that you’re standing at a show and not flying around the universe.

Lighting designers like Jeff Waful make it hard to remember that yes, your stinky Tevas are actually still planted to the sticky floor of the venue that is being rocked.  Thanks for kicking some serious ass while doing what you do best, Jeff!

Jim’s On the Way Home from NAB 2010

I am sitting in the Vegas airport waiting for my flight to board, thinking of all the absolutely awesome times I had over the last 72 hours.  The NAB Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center was a HIT for me – lots of people, lots of interviews, and tons of fun.  A word to the wise though – Phil’s Steakhouse at Treasure Island gave me food poisoning, so I spent Monday afternoon and night holed up in my room puking my guts out.

<start Google Sarcasm tracking>Thanks a lot for the day of vomit, Phil’s Steakhouse.</sarcasm>

Tuesday was an unbelievable day – not only did I get to interview two of my favorite lighting designers (Jefferson Waful from Umphrey’s McGee and TJ Gerckens from – well, everywhere), but I also got to talk to Jeff Ravitz, John Gates, Jon Griffin from Saddleback Church, and many other great pros.  A major thanks to Tom Stanziano and Phil Buchsbaum from SeaChanger/Ocean Thin Films for flying me out and allowing me to have outstanding conversations with outstanding people on film.  What an amazing few days.  Amazing.

Videos coming soon – stay tuned!

A Day in The Life of Jeff Waful, LD of Umphrey’s McGee

Talking to fellow lighting designers and seeing how they do things is one of my favorite parts of writing JimOnLight.com – just recently I had the absolute pleasure of having a nice long chat with Jeff Waful of Umprey’s McGee, and this morning I awoke to an email from Jeff about a two-part video he’s posted on his day.  From the bunk to the coffee, to the venue, to the focus, to the dinner, to the show – and then the out.  We end at the bunk again, as we always do on tourdays.

This is a great look into the life of a rock and roll lighting designer.  It’s well worth the watch.

Jeff, I will be buying you and Wade some drinks at some point soon.  Stay tuned.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Thanks, Jeff!

(and for all of you people out there who thought it would be awesome to assume his last name was not pronounced like that wonderful flat thing that goes with syrup and sausage, it’s actually pronounced “waffle.”  I’d like to see a waffle light UM like this Waful does, though.)

The JimOnLight.com Podcast – Episode 4: An Interview with Jeff Waful of Umphrey’s McGee

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Another episode of the JimOnLight.com podcast hits the airwaves!

I was fortunate enough to interview Jeff Waful – a lighting designer who’s been out with moe. and is currently lighting the excellent jam band, Umphrey’s McGee.  I got to talk to Jeff right before New Years’ Eve 2010 as he was programming Umphrey’s New Years run in Chicago.  We talked about his switch from moe. to Umphrey’s, the grandMA, the Mac III, what young lighting designers should know, and a lot more.

Check it out below – I’ve also included a link for download, and it should be hitting the RSS feed right away!

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.

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Great.

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.

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Umphrey’s McGee’s LD Jeff Waful is Someone to Watch

The jamband Umphrey’s McGee underwent a change in lighting designers in the last 9-10 months, from Adam Budney to Jeff Waful.  Adam has moved on to pursue other interests, and Jeff has taken on the task of lighting Umphrey’s.  Music mag Glide Magazine’s Hidden Track section posted some images of their performance at NYC’s Nokia Theatre a little while ago – I’m just catching up on a whole bunch of stuff after my month-long trip to Columbus – these shots are great.  I’d watch for Jeff Waful – his stuff is looking interesting.

Check out some images:

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