aLIVE Coverage

Martin by HARMAN Helps Bassnectar Light Up the Night at the Bass Center Festival

7 Sep 2016

Twin Designs lighting deploys a cutting-edge Martin lighting rig with new MAC Axiom Hybrid fixtures to deliver an intense visual experience

A full array of Martin by HARMAN lighting equipment, including new MAC Axiom™ Hybrid fixtures, recently helped EDM producer Bassnectar deliver exciting live performances at the Bass Center festival. The two-day event was held at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and featured two extended sets by Bassnectar as well as performances by Flux Pavilion, Wu-Tang Clan, Flying Lotus, Porter Robinson, Lupe Fiasco, Alunageorge, Minnesota, G Jones, Dabin and Thriftworks. Lighting directors Michael Smalley and Gabe Fraboni of Twin Designs began designing the lighting rig many months in advance, and selected Martin fixtures for their power, advanced performance and versatility.

“I’ve used Martin since the very start of my touring career, and I always know exactly what I’m going to get,” said Michael Smalley, lighting director at Twin Designs. “The firmware and the layout is generally how it should be on every lighting fixture. Martin thinks about lighting in a way that’s much more in line with how I think as a designer. They go out and talk to designers and ask us what we need and what we’re interested in—to have that kind of immediate rapport is really important. I know that when I see Martin lights, they’re going to be great.”

The sold-out festival took place July 29–30, with more than 25,000 in attendance each night. Although Bassnectar is one of the world’s top EDM artists, his live performances are presented more like traditional rock shows. For Smalley and Fraboni, the goal was to design a cohesive and dynamic lighting rig that could communicate a wide range of visuals to accompany the music.

“With everything Bassnectar, the main creative impetus is immersion—the audio and video are very immersive, and the lights provide an extension of that to the crowd,” said Smalley. “His music is all about counterpoints, so he’ll be very aggressive and then very chilled out. From a lighting perspective, we wanted to design a rig that had a great deal of power and could create a wide range of visuals—from big, bright and powerful to calm and beautiful.”

The Denver-based audio, lighting and video production company Brown Note Productions supplied the massive rig that Twin Designs deployed for Bass Center, which included 48 Atomic 3000 DMX strobes, 52 MAC Quantum Wash LED fixtures, 60 Martin MAC 101 moving head wash fixtures, 11 MAC Viper AirFX luminaires, 42 MAC Viper Profile luminaires and 34 Martin Axiom Hybrid fixtures.

The new MAC Axiom Hybrid fixtures played a huge role in the rig for its ability to deliver high-precision optics and exceptional contrast—both in mid-air and projection—as well as a surprisingly flat field. The Axiom combines beam and spot into one compact unit that also offers diffused wash functionality, with the best feature versus size and weight ratio available in the market.

“We put a ton of MAC Axiom Hybrids on this show, and I can’t say enough about them,” said Smalley. “They deliver fantastic color mixing, punchiness, zoom and overall output—they are the perfect beam fixtures for me. I require any light that I put into a rig to be versatile and able to perform more than one task, and the Axiom provides that. And for a club tour, it’s possibly the most versatile light that’s ever come on the market. I’m very excited about it.”

“Reliability is huge for us, and we’ve had a great track record across all of the Martin product lines,” said Ryan Knutson, president of Brown Note Productions. “The reliability and performance has kept us focused on purchasing Martin products because they always work. I send spares to every show, but I rarely have to use them. It has really been a great product line for us.”