Lighting control desk’s small size and full feature set are a “big plus” says LD Joël Huxtable
MIAMI, Florida - July 2017 -- Grammy Award-winning reggae royalty Ziggy Marley and his band, The Melody Makers, have been touring across North America again this summer in support of the artist’s latest record, Ziggy Marley: Live at KCRW. Helping to properly illuminate the trek, known as “We Are The People,” is LD Joël Huxtable, who is carrying a compact Avolites Tiger Touch II desk for lighting control.
Supplied by Innovative Concert Lighting of Bakersfield, California, the Tiger Touch II is loaded with Avolites’ latest Titan v10.1 software, which reportedly offers Huxtable the power, portability and predictability he needs out on the road with this spontaneous reggae band.
Huxtable, who has been using Avolites consoles since he first joined the industry back in the ’90s, appreciates their reliability. “Titan and Tiger Touch have been my ‘go-to’ since I discovered them,” he says. “I’m pretty proficient on all desks, but I like how Avo have stepped up their game to compete. Most of time, other desks are just too much to carry out on the road. The Touch is really good for us on the Ziggy tour as we have a very tight pack, so its small size is a big plus.”
The tour itinerary has taken the group through outdoor festivals, including Milwaukee’s Summerfest and Minnesota’s Music at The Zoo, to a wide variety of venues, such as the Hampton Beach (NH) Casino Ballroom and iconic Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, where Marley was joined for the first time ever by an orchestra.
The LD points to the “fixture exchange” feature as a key benefit and a major reason why he needed it on this tour. “Of every console I've used, cloning of fixtures into my show works flawlessly every time, especially since the Avo team keep the fixture library up to date,” he says. “With Titan v10.1, at long last I have on-board Capture visualization, which helped tremendously for doing our show at the Hollywood Bowl. While the band was rehearsing, I could be there with them and make live changes.”
He says this is a big improvement over the first generation Tiger Touch, which he toured with for close to seven years. “The new hardware in the Tiger Touch II, along with the latest v10.1 software delivers much improved speed and reliability.”
Another feature that’s helped him tremendously is the remote access with his iPhone. He explains, “I created a private network with the desk, so on those daytime festival load-ins I can walk on stage and tweak every position to perfection and my show looks as it should later that night. It’s definitely 21st century stuff—a long way from sending a tech up the truss to kick around par cans!”
He continues to say that the Titan Remote is a “godsend” for the outdoor daytime load-ins. At the recent Hollywood Bowl show, he used the fixture exchange feature to run the entire house rig, including the LED strips in the coves. “It was the first time they had seen an Avolites desk at the venue!” he exclaims. “They weren’t sure it would do the job, but it certainly did.”
When it comes to the show’s set list, Titan comes to the rescue again, Huxtable says. “Ziggy can use the energy of the moment to improvise and keep me on my toes—sometimes lengthening, shortening or even re-arranging songs on the fly. While I have a song per page—I can’t use a cue list because of this reason—Titan allows for me to busk on the fly to accommodate his creativity.”
There’s one song, however, which remains a constant on the set list. Ziggy, son of the late Bob Marley, pays tribute to his reggae roots by performing one of his dad’s songs, “Wild and Free.”
Huxtable says the song does influence some of the lighting design in his show. “I try to stay away from the obvious, but Ziggy did want the green, yellow and red colors on some of his father’s songs that we are doing. ‘Wild and Free’ is about marijuana, so… I’ve got green and yellow for the chorus!”
The reggae band finishes its North American run on July 22, then heads off to the UK and Europe in August, where Avolites’ Tiger Touch II console with v10.1 software will continue to allow Huxtable to be “wild and free” for his festival shows there.
For a list of Ziggy Marley’s upcoming tour stops, visit www.ziggymarley.com.