Jack White Kicks Off Headlining Tour with Claypaky Sharpy Washes and grandMA2 Consoles Along for the Ride

Jack White, frontman for The White Stripes and a top solo artist, has kicked off his headlining tour of North America and Europe with a large complement of Claypaky Sharpy Wash fixtures and two full-size grandMA2 consoles supporting the show. ACT Lighting, Inc. is the exclusive North American distributor of both brands.
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Credit: David James Swanson

Credit: David James Swanson

Jack White, frontman for The White Stripes and a top solo artist, has kicked off his headlining tour of North America and Europe with a large complement of Claypaky Sharpy Wash fixtures and two full-size grandMA2 consoles supporting the show. ACT Lighting, Inc. is the exclusive North American distributor of both brands.

White’s tour follows the release of his new solo album, “Boarding House Reach.” The Detroit native began the tour in his hometown in April and will play dates across the US and Canada before heading to Europe. Then he will return stateside for more dates in the fall.

Montreal-based Luz Studio designed the show’s production, lighting and video elements. Using a blue-and-white color palette and White’s penchant for the number three, or multiples of three, the design features “three column-shaped rotators upstage with video on one side and three rows of 12 Sharpy Washes on the other, which can be positioned individually allowing for a wide variety of looks,” explains Tour Lighting Director Michelle Sarrat. “There is an LED backlit stepped semi-circular riser, which the band plays on top of, while Jack’s world is downstage center allowing him to travel between the band members freely.” Additionally, there are two rows of nine Sharpy Washes on the floor upstage and downstage to provide aerial looks and band illumination.

“The show has no set list – it’s all live. We have a pool of about 70 songs, and the show is always different. Having flexibility in how we use lights and video is great for the show,” says Matthieu Larivée, Creative Director at Luz Studio.

“We chose the Sharpy Washes because they are very bright, beam-style fixtures that are still lightweight and compact enough to place on the back of the rotators,” says Sarrat. “And they also have color mixing capabilities, which is important because we need to maximize our options in a limited palette.”

In addition, the Sharpy Washes “have a vintage lighting look with the fresnel lens,” notes Larivée.

One active full-size grandMA2 console, plus a connected onPC system which provides an interface for MIDI peripherals, controls the show’s lighting and video. Also on hand are a full-size grandMA2 backup along with two active NPUs and a spare.

“I have been using the grandMA2 for many years – and the grandMA1 before it,” reports Sarrat. “I love the flexibility it offers, which makes it very easy to integrate into a festival that often already has a grandMA2 showfile and NPUs on site.”

Larivée is also a fan. “I use grandMA2 for all my shows. It’s great for networking lighting and video together. For this tour the Hippotizer media server is controlled by grandMA2 and a MIDI pad controls the grandMA2; that way the video director can actually have a MIDI pad on top of his camera video control desk.”

According to Sarrat, grandMA2 is a real asset on a show that has no setlist and is very fluid. “We needed to find a balance between structure and flexibility in our programming,” she explains. “We settled on cuelists and accent buttons for some of the most commonly played songs and a comprehensive busking system for the hundreds of other possibilities. grandMA2’s layout views offer a very powerful interface for easily busking a show, and I have very intricate macro setups to both facilitate my workflow and make changes during the show easy to deal with. We also use onPC with some USB MIDI peripherals for control of the video: Using LUA allows us to send LED feedback to the controller to keep better track of what is active.”

Sarrat gives kudos to the ACT Lighting team for their support of the tour. “I would like to express my extreme gratitude and appreciation for the wonderful job the ACT support team does -- they have not only taught and helped me hone the MA2 skills that have made this and many other jobs possible, but they are always on the ball with quick and insightful answers to any questions/problems I've had. Thanks for everything guys!”

Upstaging is the lighting vendor for the Jack White tour. Rob McShane is the Video Director, Kit Blanchard the Production Manager and Lalo Medina the Tour Manager.

About ACT Lighting

A leading importer and distributor of lighting products, ACT Lighting, Inc. strives to identify future trends and cutting-edge products, and stock, sell and support their inventory. The company provides superior customer service and value for money to all of its clients.

For more information, visitwww.actlighting.com.

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