American pop-rock band, Maroon 5, well known for hits including Harder to Breathe and Moves Like Jagger, with their latest album Red Pill Blues released in November, are especially popular with Las Vegas crowds where they have played a regular New Year’s Eve fixture at the Mandalay Bay Events Center for the past six years.
Brian Jenkins of Flicker Designs, a long-term advocate of Ayrton products, chose MagicBlade-R fixtures as the backbone of his lighting design for 2017’s sell-out occasion. Jenkins designed, directed and programmed the show working alongside Jason Alt from Delicate Productions who handled lighting and rigging supplies, and Joe DiCarlo as crew chief. “I’ve worked with the guys many times and we have a great relationship,” says Jenkins.
Maroon 5’s annual show takes place over the two nights of December 30th and 31st: “We usually design a one-off rig for this event,” states Jenkins who, for the 2017 show, used 176 MagicBlade-R fixtures rigged on horizontal trusses. “They were yoked out and double-stacked with just enough clearance so the heads would clear each other. For this particular design I felt the MagicBlade-R would accomplish exactly what I needed for the looks I envisioned and, although 176 fixtures is quite a number for a one-off, we found enough to do the job. I didn’t primarily chose them for their infinite pan/tilt (although that came in handy… and was tastefully done!), but more for the linear looks you can achieve, and because they work well in large numbers in close proximity. We only had about 45’ of workable trim, so the use of a smaller product like the MagicBlade worked perfectly.”
Jenkins used the fixtures to provide a solid base for the rig, giving each song a foundation and, as the show built, let loose with all the fun pixel-dancing tricks that designers love to program: “Getting creative with the entire pixel selection is key,” he says. “The classic ‘one pixel on’ with offset and a slow, infinite pan is always a crowd-pleaser! And I didn’t plan to use them for a truss toner but, for one song, that worked out really well too.
“Much of the time I treated all the MagicBlades as one big fixture instead of 176 individual units. This is possible when using large amounts of Ayrton products – they really shine when grouped as a whole. Ayrton has found a huge niche market and, while many have attempted to copy them, very few have succeeded in getting the same results as the ’Magic’ line of fixtures. Over the years they have proved reliable and hold up well. They are also easy to acquire, as many companies have invested heavily in these products.”
Jenkins used a grandMA2 to control the lighting, with a few creative layout views to achieve most of his looks. “Although the on-board fixture macros have inspired some ideas, we usually don’t use them, as we can usually create more complicated looks with a little extra programming ‘elbow-grease’,” he says. “For most of us programmers, it’s just taking the time to create groups to isolate columns, rows, pixel orders, pixel groupings, creative selections, different layout orientations, etc. We usually do this for both the “head” and “pixel” of the fixture. It takes a little time but the payout is worth it. It provides the base for the showfile and allows us to translate ideas rather quickly. That’s not to say that if we come up with a new idea while programming a song we don’t take the extra time with a new selection order! This is the same story with any of the Ayrton multi-instance fixtures.
Looking to the future, Jenkins’ next project also involves MagicBlade-R fixtures, with the addition of MagicPanel-R units, which he has incorporated into his design for Little Big Town’s current North American tour of The Breakers.
Photos: © Brian Jenkins