CHAUVET Professional and Squeek Lights Help Quinn Brabender Keep Pace With The Plot In You

Fans never know what to expect at a live performance by The Plot In You. Sure, everybody understands that they will be treated to some razor-sharp riffs and take-your-breath-away melodic control that push (no, make that shatter) the boundaries of metalcore music, but sooner or later the band will thrill the crowd by turning on a dime and taking their performance in a surprising new direction.

As one critic put it during the quartet’s recently completed three-month 42-city tour with Beartooth, “the uncanny element of surprise has entrenched the gold-selling Ohio quartet on the cutting edge of heavy music.”

This “element of surprise” may make for a rewarding fan experience, but it can also present some challenges, albeit fun ones, for a lighting designer. Quinn Brabender met these challenges in stunning fashion — and had plenty of fun doings so — with help from some very flexible CHAUVET Professional Rogue R1 FX-B fixtures supplied by Squeek Lights.

Brabender positioned ten of the infinitely rotating pan-and tilt beam fixtures on five moving carts. Drawing on their endlessly varied movements and five independently controlled RGBW moving heads, he created a mind-boggling array of looks that dramatically transformed the appearance of the stage during the band’s 11-song 40-minute set. At times he conjured up a swirling effect by moving the linear units in continuous circles, while at other moments he went with sharper looks by directing the individual heads to intersect and angles.

“I’ve used the FX-Bs on a few tours in the past, so at this point I feel pretty well-versed in getting as much out of the fixture as possible, especially when it comes to movement,” he said. “The individual tilt control on each pixel really allows you to make these big movement sweeps when you have a lot of the fixtures in a row. Last year, The Plot In You went on a headline tour where we utilized the Chauvet PXL Bar 16, so I thought the logical progression would be to use a fixture that could also get us some horizontal looks.”

As is typically the case with impactful designs, Brabender avoided over relying on any particular effect from his Rogue fixtures. “I try not to overuse the infinite pan/tilt during the show, but there are a few moments where I use it symmetrically to create a hypnotic look,” he said. “If you stagger the tilt on each pixel, you can use the infinite tilt channel to create some really beautiful fly-out or fly-in moments that work really well for softer parts of the set.”

Working with the band’s touring LD Bryce Ballinger, who cloned and programmed the house rig each show, Brabender created a multi-faceted look that reflect the character of his client’s music.

“TPIY’s sound is really dynamic,” he said. “They have a lot of quiet, ethereal moments that quickly change to crushingly heavy parts. So, I get to use the whole spectrum of color, intensity, and speed throughout the set. For example, for the heavier songs I tend to use more flat grid-like looks. With the more gentle songs, I use a lot of fanned looks to fill the stage with the small beams from the FX-B’s. The band does a great job of creating a setlist that flows together nicely even though it’s very diverse.”

Accentuating the impact of the Rogue R1 FX-B’s many motions, Brabender typically ran the fixtures in white, against immersive (often monochromatic) stage washes. “The white LEDs on these fixtures are incredibly punchy for how small they are,” he said. “I really wanted to use the FX-B as the main star of the show for this tour. So, I felt that using brighter, lighter colors on them would create the most contrast with the color washes.”

At the end of the show, however, Brabender changed up his palette. “We certainly saved some big moments for the end,” he said. “For example, there’s a rocking guitar solo at the end of “Disposable Fix” where we throw in a rainbow chase effect that’s accented by bright white strobes.”

After a set of “full of monochromatic looks,” changing to this color explosion made sense, noted Brabender – especially for a band that’s made an artform out of turning on a dime.

Photo: © Sarah Hess