Greensky Bluegrass Rings In 2020 With HES SolaPix

Date Posted: 2/4/2020

Photography by Dan Ojeda

Lighting Director Marc Tiskewicz works with the Pabst Theater Group and the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, where Greensky Bluegrass played three epic shows, including a New Year’s Eve concert featuring a stunningly effective lighting design from Andrew Lincoln. The lighting rig at Riverside included 12 High End Systems SolaPix 7's, 12 SolaPix 19's and six SolaFrame 1500s.

The Riverside Theater opened in 1928 as a Vaudeville theater and is now one of four venues operated by the Pabst Theater Group. These days The Riverside Theater hosts a wide variety of show from comedy, rock, dance to major political events.

Tiskewicz says PTG purchased their Hog 4 Full Boar console in 2016 from Studio Gear. “We next added the SolaFrame 1500s that mostly live on a mid-stage pipe where I can get the most out of them show to show. Then, during the Greensky Bluegrass three-day NYE show, we used 12 SolaPix 19's and 12 SolaPix 7's to demo from Tim Cooksey at Studio Gear. We then subsequently purchased the 12 Solapix 7's.

LD Andrew Lincoln specified his own rig coming into the space. Tiskewicz says the designer was thrilled to learn they had the extra fixtures available to demo, and he came up with a plan to place them on two mid-stage pipes and the downstage truss.

The SolaPix’s huge output combined with a smaller fixture fit Lincoln’s design goals for the shows. Tiskewicz adds “the organization of the DMX footprint (using base, flex and pixel modules) made it quick and easy for him to clone the fixtures into his show and have them work perfectly with his extensive existing programming. Then he could explore the Flex macro effects later after feeling comfortable with his standard show being set and ready.”

Commenting on his crew and the support from Studio Gear, Marc says, “Technical Director Simon Bundy is the glue that keeps The Riverside Theater running! And Studio Gear has really been there for us for a long time. Whether it's full video production, rental gear that is immaculate or great deals we've done for gear new and old, owner Bob Wiese, GM Mike Atkins and their team are so solid and just nice people to work with.

Tiskewicz learned Hog programming from ‘Laser’ Bob Mullins, who hired him to help with multiform gigs on the Hog II and III platforms. Marc adds, “We used a lot of his Studio Spot 575's and other HES gear running off PC wings and we pulled off a lot of really cool gigs. This new generation of gear just continues to deliver with improvements that users have asked for.”

Marc and the team placed 12 SolaPix 7's on two mid-stage pipes to mix in with the profile fixtures, washing the stage and serving as eye candy to work the room with their narrow beams. He continues, “We placed the 12 SolaPix 19's on the down stage truss to really up the front light. It allowed Lincoln to get some nice bold saturated color looks on the band and then settle into a very nice-looking CTO in other moments. We placed the SolaFrame 1500's on the floor on the down stage edge to add another layer of depth to the rig.”

Joining the High End Systems gear in the rig was a ‘sturdy as hell 48 channel Sensor touring rack’ on stage, their newer ETC install rack in the basement and the Paradigm brain running the house lighting. “We also have a good inventory of ETC Source Fours and Source Four PARs. For the Greensky show, 12 Source Four PARs with wide flood lenses did a nice job on the 1st Electric as crowd blinders.” The rest of the rig was filled with other movers that Lincoln specified and five mirror balls.

Tiskewicz says that both Andrew Lincoln and Criss Angel’s touring LD noticed how much brighter the SolaPix 7's are than comparable fixtures. “Lincoln was a bit nervous about using them for the first time; he has a lot of programming that requires fixtures to cooperate with cloning and the SolaPix were great. Everything in his showfile just worked right away and the Flex and Pixel modules never got in the way. They were just there to play with and build new looks if he had time. Everyone seems to notice the Halographic Pixel Definition right away and like it. It adds a new face looking out from the stage. It's cool and nothing else on stage looks like it. The pan and tilt speeds are insanely fast, and there is no jiggle when it lands on a position hard.”

Marc runs shows at The Riverside Theater on its Hog 4 Full Boar, adding a Hog 3 playback wing because “it still works great. I like that I can make the desk do what I need very quickly when someone is standing over my shoulder, and also that it has the flexibility to be ready for any show that comes my way.”