NORTHRIDGE, Calif.—In support of their long-awaited album “Us and the Night,” multi-platinum-selling group 3 Doors Down embarked on a world tour to bring the album to life both sonically and visually. Leading audiovisual rental company LabeLive provided lighting designer and director Jay Branson of TwoPairCreative LLC with Martin by HARMAN MAC Axiom Hybrid, MAC Quantum Profile and MAC Aura fixtures. Branson utilized the fixtures to define a unique stage aesthetic, deliver high-impact lighting experiences and overcome rigging challenges at theaters around the globe.
Josh Berry, President of LabeLive worked closely with the 3 Doors Down lighting team to outfit the U.S. leg of the tour. Throughout his 20-year experience with Martin, Berry has been able to provide countless lighting teams with quality fixtures that withstand the rigors of touring and provide quality lighting experiences every step of the way.
“I’ve been working with Martin products for over 20 years—they are a staple in the industry,” said Berry. “These fixtures were specifically requested by 3 Doors Down, and they haven’t had any problems with the products. When it comes to reliability, serviceability, the abilities of the fixtures, Martin just makes more sense. Because Martin fixtures are so reliable, we are able to provide quality products to great acts like 3 Doors Down and help create memorable shows.”
Martin is known to provide quality products that allow for memorable lighting shows day in and day out. Berry noted that the Martin fixtures have been a driving force in his business for years and that lighting designers, including the 3 Doors Down team, don’t have problems with the Martin products LabeLive provides. Using dependable products during the 3 Doors Down tour was crucial as they were on the road for most of 2016. The lighting team was able to overcome the rigors of the road and create stunning visuals night after night with Martin fixtures
“I can sum up why we chose Martin fixtures in one word—reliability,” said Branson. “The gear is absolutely rock solid. We haven’t had a single problem with any of our fixtures during the whole tour, and some of them ride in the truck without cases just on pre-rigged trusses, and we’ve never had one go down. I love that my head elect can set up the rig, and when I sit down at the console it’ll work perfectly.”
In addition to requiring dependable fixtures, Branson also needed a lighting solution that could help them realize their creative goals. Branson and his lighting team worked closely with the band members and tour manager Gary Pettus to design a lighting rig that would recreate elements of the “Us and the Night” album cover and bring new creative accents to the stage. The design they chose required lighting fixtures that were small enough to easily fit into tight spaces without sacrificing light intensity. Martin fixtures were chosen for their streamlined form, powerful performance and reliability to ultimately create the center piece of the stage: five custom, built, oversized lanterns hanging in front of a forest backdrop.
“We wanted to put lights in the lanterns, but didn’t know of any light that could do the job,” continued Branson. “At a festival this summer with 3 Doors Down, the crew showed me a video of Martin MAC Axiom Hybrids, and I immediately called the band to tell them ‘I found the light!’ They checked it out and loved it.”
The full 3 Doors Down lighting rig is comprised of MAC Axiom Hybrids in each of the lanterns, along with 15 MAC Quantum Profiles for aerial effects (eight upstage and seven mid-stage), and eight MAC Auras under the drum riser. During the European leg of the tour, eight MAC Quantum Profile Wash fixtures were used for drum lighting. Each Martin fixture provided unique functionality that contributed to the overall success of the light show.
“I don’t know of any other light that’s as versatile as MAC Axiom Hybrid,” said Branson. “Ordinary fixtures lose at least 50% of their intensity when zoomed all the way out. MAC Axiom Hybrid carries the same intensity when it’s wide as it does at a pinpoint. I can even throw a gobo on at full zoom and light up the entire lantern. It’s the only light that delivered the performance we wanted and fit in the space our design required.”
According to Brandon, the MAC Axiom Hybrid is small, fast fixture and can go from a really wide zoom all the way down to a pinpoint in less than half a second. He couldn’t be happier with their performance. Overall, Branson was impressed not only by the MAC Axiom Hybrids but also the MAC Quantum Profiles.
“In my opinion, Quantum Profiles are the best profile lights on the market,” said Branson. “I’m amazed by how bright they are, and the fact that it’s an LED is incredible. I can cut straight through strobe hits. The gobos are great. They look great in the air, are super-fast and light weight. And on top of all that, they’re reliable. They’re just great lights, and I love the way they perform—I couldn’t be happier with them,” continued Branson.
Martin lights also helped Branson and his team overcome weight restriction issues at a variety of venues. The lighter fixtures made it possible to reproduce the band’s stage design night after night amidst rigging challenges.
“Weight is always a challenge,” said Branson. “When we play theaters, we have to hang fixtures on house pipes, and in some older theaters we are hanging on pin-rails which have a really low weight limit. We needed fixtures that were lighter weight, but still provided the intense performance needed for a rock show—MAC Axiom Hybrid was the answer.”