Steve Granville chooses Ghibli for Australia’s Parkway Drive
Formed in 2003, Parkway Drive are an Australian metalcore band from Byron Bay in New South Wales with an international following. Fresh from back-to-back ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) no.1 spots, the band’s Reverence tour in support of their sixth studio album kicked off in Canberra in October 2018 and, hailed as their best live show to date, proved a total sensory overload. Parkway Drive delivered their most fire laden show yet, which included a spinning, flaming drumkit and, of course, employed 16 Ayrton Ghibli LED spots for the main beam fixtures.
Lighting provider for the Australian leg of the tour was New South Wales-based ei Productions who purchased the Ayrton Ghibli units just prior to the start of the tour.
“This was a complex show with lots of lighting, moving staging and pyro flames, and it relied heavily upon the Ghiblis to provide much of the lighting’s punchy looks,” commented Neale Mace, managing director of ei Productions. “The fixtures were chosen by the band’s lighting designer, Steve Granville, after he heard we were looking at them, and I don’t think I’ve seen a light (especially an LED-based one) have so much punch and colour output, not to mention its zoom.”
Granville positioned the Ghibli fixtures across three flown trusses where, Mace remarked, “they looked incredible! Having seen this show, I’ve never seen an LED based fixture that is as bright as the Ghibli.
“They also have intense colours and can produce beautiful air / beam effects,” he added. “We didn’t actually use the motorised framing feature on this tour, but it’s great to know that we can also use them for front truss profile work when needed.”
Granville agrees: “The Ghibli is the first LED profile fixture I’ve seen that is super bright and has a perfectly flat field that doesn’t drop off over a distance,” he says. “The prism and zoom are nice, the gobos are really good, and the colour mixing is great. I didn’t get into the framing but had a play with it and would love to use it soon on a tour.”
ei Productions continually looks to expand and update it production inventory and, after seeing the new Ayrton products at some overseas trade shows, decided to add some Ayrton Ghibli units to its stock. The decision process was carefully researched as the team at ei looked at several options that would fulfil their requirements for an LED-based spot / profile that had motorised framing shutters, before deciding on Ayrton.
“There are a few options on the market,” says Mace. “However, as we mostly look to comply with local and overseas lighting riders, we needed a product that was going to be universally accepted, and right now, Ayrton is an extremely popular brand with their products being used on lots of shows. We also have experience with the Ayrton brand as we already own a lot of Ayrton MagicBlades which have been a rock solid product for us.
“As usual, Show Technology (Ayrton’s exclusive distributor in Australia) has provided amazing sales support in getting us demo fixtures and answering any and all of our stupid questions!”
Steve Granville’s design for the huge and dramatic Parkway Drive rig featured a lot of firepower from other fixtures, but the Ghibli fixtures were able to hold their own: “The Ghiblis cut right through them, even in some of the rooms with higher trim height,” confirms Mace. “Out on a tour, they performed flawlessly every night and being trucked across four States and a Territory didn’t faze them a bit.
“The Ghiblis are amazing! There’s a lot to like about these fixtures and although this tour didn’t use all their features, it certainly proved to us (and anyone who saw the show) that they’re a great light and I know we’ll be ordering more.”
Also included in the Australian touring rig were 64 Ayrton Magic Blade-R fixtures which Granville ran in full extended mode, running the pixel mapper and content through the High End Hog. The manner in which they were setup was, in Steve’s words, big and offensive. “The MagicBlades were arranged in a big block on touring frames and I got so many looks out of them,” he said.
“It’s nice to have the options in extended mode where I can, for example, have them all on and use them to wash the stage, and then swap to just having a single cell on to give me a totally different look. I’ve had this design out for nearly two years, in one configuration or another, and I’m still finding new things to do with them. I will no doubt add them back into another design in the future.”
Steve admits his MagicBlade-R units were quite badly treated on tour as they were rigged on touring frames, thrown around by their hydraulic lifts and nearly set on fire every two minutes! But, he says, they were solid throughout with very few failures. “I think we toured Europe the last time with only two spares,” he added.
Parkway Drive’s Reverence tour travelled across Australia from October to November 2018 and is currently touring Europe until the end of February before transferring to America between April and May 2019.
Text: Cat Strom & Julie Harper
Photos: © ei Productions