Lighting design review: Mutemath in Orlando, FL

I don’t go to many concerts.  I don’t want to spend the money to hear a band play a poor version of their CD.  But I heard from several people that Mutemath was a great live act, and it turns out that the rumors were true.  I saw them on November 2 at House of Blues in Orlando, FL.  Not only were the music and showmanship excellent, the lighting design was first-class.  Too many rock bands have a cloud of haze, a bunch of colored par cans, and some moving beams.   Mutemath is not  your average rock band, and I have the poor-quality cell-phone-camera pictures to prove it.

Mutemath
First, we have an overall shot of the stage.  Nothing too special about the lighting in this view.  Note that there was almost no front lighting.

Mutemath

Here is a creative look.  Notice the beams coming from below the video screens, illuminating everything within three feet of the floor.  The LD told me they are MAC 250’s that tour with the band.  These lights were only used for floor-level illumination.  Most of the lights on the truss overhead were wash lights and par cans belonging to HOB.  In this picture you can just barely make out that the drummer has taped his headphones to his head with gaffers’ tape.

Mutemath

A blinding, cold white look.  Notice the vertical white stripes visible below the video screen panels.  Those are fluorescent light bulbs, rigged to turn on and off instantly in chase sequences.   The LD told me there is one brand of bulb in one specific fixture that will do that.  I wish I had gotten a good pic showing how effectively the fluorescents provide cold, dynamic light.   Another interesting thing about this photo is that the bass player is sitting behind the drums, the lead singer/keyboard player is also playing drums, and the drummer is doing some improvised percussion on top of the keyboard.  This is part of what makes Mutemath so much fun to watch.

I didn’t get a picture of one of my favorite looks.  They managed to find some huge, clear incandescent bulbs and hang a couple of them on either side of the video screen.  With the stage nearly dark and filled with haze, the bare bulbs were turned on to a low intensity, allowing the glowing filaments to illuminate the haze with an eerie warm glow.

This was easily the most creative lighting I’ve ever seen in my limited concert experiences.  I did stop by after the show to compliment the LD, but I didn’t get his name, and there are so many things I want to ask him!

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