Lights, Mirror Balls, Fog Machines, Strobes - who uses 'em?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by pir8matt, Feb 15, 2009.


  1. pir8matt

    pir8matt Member

    Messages:
    5,698
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location:
    Trampa Bay
    For as much as gear gets discussed around here, no one really talks much about lighting or effects at their gigs. I assume that means folks probably don't use them, but I'd be willing to bet I'm wrong.

    How many of you are using lights or visual effects? What are you using? Where'd you get them? Did you do anything to modify them, or use them as-is?

    I've seen a couple bands use strobes/lighting on a small level in interesting ways using foot-triggers.

    Another local band I know put two of those 'multistar' things inside old Fender amp shells (no chassis or speakers, obviously) with a thin mesh instead of the original grills - that was kind of cool looking.

    The cover band I play with has a basic DJ/Band light setup. A few cans on stands, a couple of LED strobes, a fog machine, etc. They also bring out a remote camera on a stand and hook it up to any TV's or projected screens that the venue might have (which is most of them, these days).

    What are folks here using, if anything? Post pics if you got em!
     
  2. thewex

    thewex Member

    Messages:
    645
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    we just use two Am DJ spots and a rack with 3 or 4 pars and then a fog machine. its pretty low budget, but it does the trick.
     
  3. Elmer

    Elmer hell is chrome

    Messages:
    2,919
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    Location:
    DFW
    My 80's cover band has 4 American DJ PARs on stands and 2 sets of multicolor sound-activated chase lights. I want to replace the cans with LEDs - the cans make the stage way too hot, and they've tripped the breakers a couple of times in the past. A fog machine is next up on the list.

    I think you've got to put on more of a show as a cover band in order to keep the crowd's interest up, and stage lighting helps out a lot. Several times I've had people comment on the lighting effects, which makes the extra hassle of setting them up and tearing them down worth it.
     
  4. PosterBoy

    PosterBoy Member

    Messages:
    3,072
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Location:
    Galway, Ireland
    Strobe, bubble machine, lasers, but only in the bedroom
     
  5. billm408

    billm408 Member

    Messages:
    3,015
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Lights always, fog machine about half the time.
    I can geek out all I want about my gear and tone, but people in a bar just want to be entertained. Having a show is a big part of that.
     
  6. pir8matt

    pir8matt Member

    Messages:
    5,698
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location:
    Trampa Bay
    Cool, yeah I think it definitely helps to have some kind of lighting, or at least a little effort put out to make the show visually interesting. People watch so much tv/movies/internet these days that even if you tone is great and your songs are awesome and your stage dress is cool, people still want something else, to be visually entertained, too.

    I'm thinking of trying to do something like my one friends band that I mentioned, maybe hide some lights in an old amp shell or even build big fake amps ala Neil Young/Ryan Adams, but maybe put strobes in them, or daisywheels or something. Just something to make things interesting but maybe not totally overt like just having a light stand with cans on it, or chase lights or whatever.

    I've actually seen some cool stage setups that just used white xmas lights and dropcloths. I think when you set a visual backdrop people become a little more interested, even if its just briefly - and yeah, for a cover band you gotta have some lighting bling..even if you're doing dead-on renditions of the originals, you're still basically competing with a CD player. You gotta entertain.
     
  7. HHB

    HHB Member

    Messages:
    6,643
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2002
    Location:
    East Flat Rock NC
    lights but no fog. our singer owns a DJ company so we usually have several moving lights and a few trees depending on whats rented, just a few lights make a huge difference, well worth the expense and hassle IMO
     
  8. epluribus

    epluribus Member

    Messages:
    9,175
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Anybody notice residue from the fog machines?
     
  9. Schafrocks

    Schafrocks Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    I play in an 80's cover band. We use a truss setup and an assortment of about 35 lights, and yes, lots of fog to enhance the lights. Especially now, since in Illinois smoking is prohibited in bars. Par cans, pin spots, front lights and a couple of special effects lights. But. we are really out of the norm for our area. It really sets us apart from everybody else. The musicainship is pretty weak around here. Maybe not musicianship, but lack of good bands that put in a decent effort.

    We do it for fun. We all work day jobs. But we gel really well and feel it is important to put on a good show. We could go in with a minimal setup, but want to do more than that. We also have put the money in a good PA. We have a pretty kick ass FOH setup and also run a full monitor mix on stage.

    The downside is the amount of time to set up. It usually take about 3 hours to do everything. We are working to streamline that. We hope to get it down to about an hour and a half. The only hard part is we are constanly adding to our show, so it's something new all the time. And because we all work, trying to incorporate all of the stuff and rehearse, learn new songs, etc, it's hard to do the extra work that it would take to streamline our setup. Still to me, it's worth it.

    Schaf
     
  10. Schafrocks

    Schafrocks Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    Oh, and no I have never noticed a residue from our fog machines.

    Schaf
     
  11. ratkent

    ratkent Member

    Messages:
    317
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Sugar Land, TX
    My band has an automated light show that was programmed by our drummer and I don't know that much about it other than it's pretty killer. Lots of haze as well. I do know it sometimes takes us twice as long to set up our light show as our sound system. He uses a laptop live and runs a program made by Nicolaudie-Sunlite which is in France if I'm not mistaken.

    We have four High End Systems Techno Beams, four HES Track Spots, two strobes of some kind and color changing floods in the front. It's not that many lights but because of their movement and pattern capabilities along with the fact that they are programmed to cues in our set they are extremely effective. The Techno Beams were around 3K apiece new nearly 10 years ago. I don't think they even make them anymore since everyone is changing to moving head fixtures but they still look fantastic and have held up remarkably well after 200 shows each year since we got them.

    We used to have a huge mirror ball but we got tired of finding places to hang it so we left it at a club one night.
     
  12. sixty2strat

    sixty2strat Member

    Messages:
    10,175
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Have an overhead projector and used to do a liquid amobea light show when were had a early acid rock floyd influenced band
     
  13. pir8matt

    pir8matt Member

    Messages:
    5,698
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location:
    Trampa Bay
    That sounds killer! Got any pix?

     
  14. zzzezums

    zzzezums Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,015
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    i use 'em all in the bedroom. chix dig.
     
  15. Schafrocks

    Schafrocks Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    Look on myspace. Believe it or not I cant think of the link. Just type in Thunderbox West Frankfort. Look at some of the more recent picture dates because we added a lot of stuff recently. I'm the guitar player. The one with short hair. I say that because the keyboard player plays some guitar. I usually play either a red and a blue Kramer, V, LP, or maybe even more recently a Wolfgang.

    Let me know what you think.

    Schaf
     
  16. B_of_H

    B_of_H Member

    Messages:
    4,547
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Location:
    Jayhawk Country
    I used to do lights for a regional jamband in college. I still have a few straglers in the basement that aren't being used.

    i'm a big fan of a properly performed light show. a good LD can really impact the music and experience. That being said I'm also a believer in using effect lighting sparingly if your rig is limited.

    we just use venue lights usually but have some par cans if needed.
     
  17. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

    Messages:
    19,412
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    upyerasskickinfootballs
    I use them every night, when the ladies open the door to my pad, they're greeted with the finest faux leopard print furniture, faux tiger fur wall paper, and an assortment of champagne that any lady of exquisite taste will enjoy. And once the "party lights" come on...
     
  18. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

    Messages:
    9,032
    Joined:
    May 15, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere near White Rock Lake, N. Texas
    I play in a blues and groove oriented band doing our own versions of deep cut tunes from Allmans, Albert King, Little Feat, Steely Dan. Another band I get regular work with is a "punk jazz" band.

    And still I get pickup work with other bands.

    Yes, I have lights, and use them with whoever I play with, if the venues doesn't already have them. They're nothing fancy, 8 static 50 watt halogen par cans with colored gels, but they make the difference between making you look real and making you look like a hack. It is important, doncha know.

    BTW, my first club gig with Dallas agent, Debbie Meyers with The Fins back in 1988 was at the old Cadillac Bar and Grill, sharing a stage with The Dixie Chicks before they became big.

    Debbie showed up at the gig and told us, "Don't ever show up at another one of my gigs without lights. If you don't care how you look, I don't want to work with you."

    In hindsight, I agreed with her, and have taken her critisism to heart ever since.
     
  19. mcknigs

    mcknigs Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,199
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    I've played on stage with fog machines twice.

    1. A friend of mine worked for a company that had a small fog machine on loan. He came to a gig for a band I played with - a large-ish band - 8 piece or so - and he put it on the stage hidden behind some cases or something. He sat at the bar and ran the thing all night by remote control. The bandleader/lead singer never did figure out where the fog was coming from, or who was running it. I figured it out but kept my mouth shut. It was kind of funny to watch the leader's face when he realized we had a fog machine. Towards the end of the show he was saying things like "I don't know who's running the fog machine but now would be a good time to fire it up."

    2. In the early '80s I was in a band and three of us were unhappy with the fourth. We decided to break up the band after an upcoming show. We didn't tell the fourth guy. At the show 3/4 of us know it's the last show for the band and give it our all. The fourth guy, having a theatrical bent, had rented a fog machine. At a climactic moment of the show we're rocking very hard and sounding good and totally in sync and the fog machine goes off and the crowd goes nuts. And the three of us just look at each other knowing it's the last show. I can still picture the scene, and the fog machine is a big part of that memory.

    Other than that, no real experience with any of that fancy stuff.

    -Scott
     
  20. Schafrocks

    Schafrocks Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    I take that back. There are no good current pics of our show on our myspace page. We're playing tomorrow. I'll see if we can get some good shots and post them. The transition is pretty dramatic since we started with 8 cans on stands to the truss system with a lot more lights. I guees I should pay more attention to our page.

    I'll see what I can get tomorrow. The stage is decent sized and they should turn out pretty good.

    Schaf
     

Share This Page