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Eric Price Debuts Elation SŌL I Blinder on Taking Back Sunday Tour

©Salma Bustos

Taking Back Sunday lighting designer Eric Price is the first to tour with Elation’s new SŌL I Blinder, integrating the tiny yet impactful LED light into the rock band’s set on their current North American outing. Celebrating their new album, “152,” the tour kicked off in New Orleans and continues through the summer.

“I was looking for a low-profile blinder to skirt the risers, set pieces and steps—something powerful, functional, and small enough to put on a pipe for easy travel, install and pull—and the SŌL fit the bill,” Price said. First shown at the LDI tradeshow in December, the SŌL I Blinder is not only compact and versatile enough to seamlessly integrate into virtually any stage setting, its RGBLAW LED engine offers full-spectrum colour and packs a punch at over 8000 lumens. Its modular design, coupled with a variety of mounting options, makes for endless creative options.

Throwback aesthetic
Price and tour manager Andrew Sprague talked design ideas with Taking Back Sunday vocalist Adam Lazzara, who Price said is very hands on with the look of the show. Looking back at styles as diverse as Queen shows of the 70s and the iconic sets of Soul Train, Price noted that Lazzara wanted a bold, traditional aesthetic with eye candy looks on stage and minimal moving lights.

“Obviously we weren’t going to bring out 100s of PAR cans so we explored custom set pieces,” Price explained. “Looking at venue sizes and logistics, we needed something efficient and effective and we settled on an idea of a lot of blinders.” After talking to Jason Reberski at lighting vendor JRLX, as well as Ross Blitz at Elation, Price says he realized that the SŌL fixtures were an interesting option. “With few moving lights, we needed something with versatility and the SŌL fit the need well.”

Skirted risers
The setup includes a 24-ft wide by 4-ft tall riser with steps, a drum riser stage left and a vocal riser stage right, all skirted with 44 SŌL I Blinder fixtures. The SŌL live on pipe in racks of four which clamp onto the back of the legs of the riser decks, a quick set-up and tear-down rigging plan that was worked out by stage provider Gallagher, along with JRLX. Elation SixBar 1000 LED battens provide side lighting.

Colour and tempo
Price does not go overboard on colour, which he says was a design point, instead accessing the fixture’s RGBLAW LED engine to discriminately shade the set and match the video content. “The colour mixing is great on them,” he states. “The Lime is nice to see in a fixture like this and makes for a wider colour palette, including nice whites.”

The band’s passionate, melody-infused music, a mix of heavy numbers with quick transitions into quieter more emotional songs, gives Price the opportunity to use the fixtures in a variety of ways. “I enjoy transitioning from big white CTO looks or saturated colour sweeps down into a dark moody blue, just following the music,” he said. “You don’t need a lot of gobos, just colour and tempo.”

Toned intensity
Taking Back Sunday music pairs well with strobe looks, which Price turns to tastefully at medium to low intensity. “They would destroy the crowd at full intensity they are so bright,” the designer said, noting that he generally runs the SŌLs at 30-35 percent with an end-of-show walk-off look at up to 60 percent. “People are always surprised when they find out I’m running them at 35%.”

JRLX’s Reberski is enthusiastic about the SŌL fixture and its inherent possibilities, stating, “The SŌL I blinder is a perfect multipurpose blinder fixture for JRLX and we have been very happy with their performance on this tour. The ability to attach any Bowens accessory to the front also increases the versatility in scenic applications!”

Price, who previously lived in Chicago, calls JRLX his go-to vendor and has enjoyed a long-time relationship with the Chicago-based company. “We’ve done a lot of jobs together over the years and really have a symbiotic relationship,” he said, adding that Jason and his team know how he wants things prepped “so I’m able to give them a spec and I know they’ll get it right.” That kind of good relationship trickles down to the client, Price said. “They know that they’ll be taken care of.”

The designer concluded by calling the grid of SŌLs a “pixel-mapping dream” and that when going into venues, he often meets house LDs who are excited to see the fixtures. “It’s an enticing fixture with lots of possibility and I look forward to seeing what others do with them as well.”

Lighting Designer: Eric Price
LX/Video Tech: Ryan Kestler
Stage Manager/Carpenter: Worm
Tour Manager: Andrew Sprague
Stage Design: Eric Price, Andrew Sprague and Adam Lazzara
Lighting Vendor: JRLX Inc
Video Vendor: DCR Nashville
Staging: Gallagher Nashville