It’s a good bet that a livestream with a name like “Couch Tour” is going to be a mellow affair; the kind of show that invites viewers to kick back and flow with some smooth music. That’s precisely the performance that the popular New York quintet Lousy Sloughter delivered from High Peaks Event Productions’ livestream studio in early April.
For 50 minutes, the band wove its way through a mesmerizing blend of blues, funk and jazz. With them every step of the way, note-for-smooth-note, was a fluid, artfully crafted lighting design by Christine Sharp that drew on the color and gobo rendering prowess of over 30 CHAUVET Professional fixtures.
“The looks I create are pretty varied depending on the genre of music, even and down to the song being played,” said Sharp, who runs High Peaks with her husband Roger. “For a low-keyed show, or an acoustic performance, I try to create an aesthetic frame around the musicians on stage. If I know the vibe of the song, I saturated the stage with colors that reflect the feelings, at least as I interpret them.”
Following this design approach, Sharp kept the area to the sides of the stage mostly in shadows, making it easier for the camera to center on the band. To accentuate each of the five musicians, she highlighted them during solos and other key points in the show with top and side lighting from the six Maverick MK3 Spot fixtures hung on upstage truss, six Maverick MK1 Spot units on upright towers and eight Rogue R2X Washes on the deck behind the drum towers.
To colorize the stage in tones that matched the music, she relied on her rig’s six Rogue R2 Wash fixtures. Her palette throughout the livestream was dominated by deep richly textured, blues, reds and purple in combinations that engendered a mellow mood. At times, she also punctuated her color washes with crisp gently flowing gobo patterns, always created with the camera in mind.
“We’ve done quite a few livestreams since the pandemic, but prior to that we were slammed with live shows,” she said. “There are definite challenges transitioning from live music to livestreams. Having to be aware of where the cameras are so I don’t blow them out is very important. It took some time for my video guy Bryan Madarasz and me to figure out how to work together to make things look good.”
Busking is also always a challenges for a one-off livestream show, says Sharp, noting: “I don’t always know the music coming in when we do a livestream like this. So, I just have to focus and feel out cues and hope I can hit some cool looks at the right time.”
As those who saw the Couch Tour video would readily attest, she did just that.