Setting The Stage
- By Abby Miller
- Published on May 23, 2012
|EOTO - Photo Credit: Abby Miller|
Musicians, just like any other artists, have a narrative in mind when they hit the stage. Often times, it’s difficult to enlighten an audience and tell their story without a reference point – especially in the electronic music scene with its lack of lyrics. Providing the full, conceptualized vision has always been an ongoing challenge.
Throughout the years, projection screens and videos have been incorporated on stage alongside live music performances. These added technologies have been a catalyst to some of the most amazing live music in the 21st century.
|Shpongle - Photo Credit: Holly O'Connor|
Roger Waters once asked almost 30 years ago, "Will the technologies of communication in our culture serve to enlighten us and help us to understand one another better, or will they deceive us and keep us apart?”
[FIND complete lineups, ticketing information and analysis of all your favorite festivals via our 2012 Festival Guide.]
Now, Waters is touring with his Magnum Opus production of The Wall, which includes a 240-foot projection, live fire, 3-D mapping and one of the most enlightening experiences one can have at a “concert.”
There is a new level of imagination that's being shared between the artist and audience. A childlike magical appeal is proposed as technology provides the audience with a journey into space and time. Now, you can plant your feet in the ground and travel to the moon and back while listening to your favorite music.
Here are some noteworthy artists who are revolutionizing the concert experience with their elaborate and advanced stage set-ups.
|Amon Tobin - Photo Credit: Abby Miller|
Amon Tobin worked with designer Vita Motus who created a 2.5-ton structure made of wood and steel that was 3-D mapped for Tobin’s ISAM tour. Focusing on a cube-oriented design, Tobin is perched inside one of the cubes from which he performs live.
The structure surrounding him is 3-D mapped and transforms into hundreds of visually amazing scenes. He brought this production to the U.S. for the first time in 2011 and it was simply amazing.
The UK producer will be performing his live ISAM set at Camp Bisco in Mariaville, New York this summer.
EOTO will be traveling to many major music festivals, providing quite the visual experience. For the past two years, Jason Hann and Michael Travis have worked with the visual artists mastermind, Zebbler on their stage production.
This year the two improvisational musicians are seated inside a 14-foot Lotus flower structure that is 3-D mapped alongside projections.
|Pretty Lights - Photo Credit: Krystle Blackburn|
Colorado producer Pretty Lights commemorated his recent EP, "Filling up the City Skies," with a thematically created cityscape structure for his tour last year. The visuals provided his audience with the surreal feeling that they were part of a nightlife scene somewhere in space, soundtracked by Pretty Lights' electronica tunes.
At times, the set-up mimics an equalizer and creates a larger-than-life stereo scene built on the skyscrapers, all synchronized to the music.
Shpongle and the Shpongletron Experience provided viewers with an amazing 3-D show last summer. Lead designer Zebbler (yep, him again) masterfully carved a six-foot Shpongle mask, covered by a translucent screen surrounded by custom screens and surfaces that have video mapped images projected onto them. Check out the video below to learn more about the Shpongletron and what makes it work.
This year, Shpongle 2.0 will be performing “Shpongle: The Masquerade” live from the Glyph stage created by Lucid Technology and Design, a company that is, "blurring the line between technology and magic."
Bands like STS9 and The String Cheese Incident have upped their production as well, incorporating videos and projections more and more. The technology and music work hand in hand to create a concert experience that is nearly indescribable. At a time when cookie-cutter music is churned out constantly, these artists are leading the way to create art never before seen by the masses.
One can only imagine that the sky is the limit as technology continues to progress exponentially. Now, concertgoers are pounded aurally, visually and mentally with images and sounds meant to completely envelop them.
So this summer, be sure to pay attention to trends in stage set-ups. Because going to a concert is never going to be the same.
What’s the best stage set-up you’ve ever seen? Let us know in the comments below.