Robe Rocks at Nottingham Rock City

Legendary UK live music venue, Rock City in Nottingham, boosted its house lighting rig for October this year – a busy period including some lively university Freshers Week events – with a rig of 60 Robe moving lights, with extras supplied via rental and production company Zeal.

Rock City’s lead project lighting designer Will Brown explained that with the post Covid re-opening of live shows, they wanted to make a big impression, especially to make up for last year when everything had to be cancelled!

Will designed lighting to cover an array of events, from popular bands to heaving club nights, as people from all over the city celebrated being able to congregate, have fun together and enjoy live music again!

While many bands will bring their own productions and floor packages, historically for crew the venue is famous for band productions loading out while the disco is pumping full tilt, full of ravers – so the house lighting rig is smartly designed to work with this on both functional and creative levels. This ensures that Rock City club nights continue to be the exciting visual extravaganza of colour and movement for which they are renowned!

The 18 x Robe Pointes are owned by Rock City and were in residence before Will arrived 6 years ago.

“They are a perfect fixture for us – fast, very versatile, robust – and we use them ALL the time,” he stated, adding, “it’s hard to find another light of its class that can do as much as a Pointe!”

They get moved around a bit – rigged and re-rigged according to the event schedule – with a typical set up being 10 in the roof and eight on the stage, and are frequently used as side stage washes for shows.

For ‘Freedom Week’ (celebrating the first round of Covid crowd gathering restrictions being lifted in July), Rock City hired additional Robe Spikies to up the production values, and this was so successful that Will and the team decided to do it again, this time for Fresher’s Week with LEDBeam 150s. Forty-eight of these small and powerful little fixtures were added to the mix.

The main criteria were that any ‘house extra’ lights had to be small and light enough to be moved offstage very quickly as the DJ kicked in at the end of the live show.

“A lot of smaller fixtures can go a long way, especially when they are as adaptable as the LEDBeam 150,” says Will.

Twelve of the LEDBeam 150s were rigged on the front truss together with 6 x Pointes, with the rest attached to six vertical trussing towers, deployed on the stage during the changeover to fill the stage space for the club format. The balance of LEDBeam 150s were downstage on the floor, so there was an LEDBeam 150 effect from multiple angles.

“They are so bright and quick, the size is ideal, the optics are excellent, and they are simply fantastic beam lights,” enthused Will, adding that while he has used them before in the venue, not in these quantities and not like this on the onstage towers … a move that was a massive hit with artists and guests!

Lighting control is an Avolites Tiger Touch console with a wing, and there is more lighting including strobes, profile and wash moving lights, LED pixel tubes plus generics and some architectural fixtures around the room.

Will started working with Robe products when he took the position at Rock City and comments, “It’s always great to work with Robe, it is a proper industry standard and you see the products everywhere, particularly with so many touring productions!”

Will works alongside a passionate and dedicated team from venue operator and concert promoter DHP Family to ensure the true spirit of ‘indie’ continues to excite, buzz, and enthral all who have stepped through the hallowed portals of this iconic performance space since 1980.

Photo: © Brad Wood