To provide Grammy-winning hard rock band Halestorm with simple but impactful lighting for their 2022 U.S. tour, Bandit Lites deployed a dynamic rig using Martin Professional lighting solutions.
With budget and gear constraints still affecting the live music industry following the COVID-19 pandemic, the band wanted a lighting rig that heightened their classic-meets-modern rock sound and provided maximum impact for their fans despite the logistical limitations. To meet these goals, lighting designer Craig Richter worked with Bandit Lites and Scott Anderson from Martin to design a rig featuring Martin VDO Atomic Bold, Atomic 3000 LED, and MAC Viper Profiles.
“Coming out of the COVID situation and the entire world being on tour right now, we really had to figure out something that was impactful, different and still fit within the limitations that we had truck and budget wise,” said Richter. “I've always wanted to go back to an old-school PAR can style system, but obviously I don't want to carry around 180 actual PAR cans because that would be a nightmare. So, I had been looking around for the past couple of years for a light that could pull off that look for when the band needed a full production system.”
With a wide range of functions in a compact and easy-to-rig design, the Martin VDO Atomic Bold is a powerful addition to touring rigs of any size. The Atomic Bold features an innovative dual-layer lens that combines a full color beam with a pixel-controllable RGB Aura backlight, which allows for vivid color blends, deep washes and unique effects.
“The front lens and aura effects look super cool,” added Richter. “They cut through perfectly, and the color temperature range is ridiculous. I'm able to get a bunch of different eye candy effects out of them and wash my entire stage with backlight while keeping a unique look that's different from most tours rolling around right now.”
Crucially for Halestorm’s tour, the Atomic Bold also faithfully emulates tungsten-style lighting, which helped Ricther achieve visuals that harkened back to lighting from golden-age classic rock shows. For additional authenticity, Ricther rigged the lights to an old-school, double-hung PAR truss system, into which the Atomic Bolds fit seamlessly.
“The size is just about perfect for a replacement for a PAR 64, so that worked really well,” said Richter. “I was nervous at first because we only managed to get 60 Atomic Bolds for the tour and I wasn’t sure if that was going to be enough light on stage, but it worked out. The output from these lights is ridiculous. When I was finally able to get the whole system up to do a proper focus on everything, it was exactly what I was looking for.”
Along with the Atomic Bolds, the rig also included Martin Atomic 3000 LED strobes and MAC Viper Profiles for additional effects and visual flair. The former enhances the classic Atomic 3000 design with powerful LED technology for maximum brightness and color washes at minimal power, while the latter offers exceptional brightness and output up to 26000 Lumens. Ricther also added that the Viper Profile’s dual five-slot rotating gobo wheels added a variety of effects to the stage that complement the Halestorm’s high-octane, no-nonsense rock sound.
“I've been carrying the Atomic 3000 LED pretty much since they came out,” explained Richter. “I really think that the original Atomic 3000 was the best traditional strobe you could get. So when the LED version came out and I saw that it cuts your power consumption by more than half, and the output was more than double, I had to have them. Martin really improved upon a fixture that was already rock solid. I’m a big fan of the Viper as well. I like using a lot of gobos and textures within my designs, like dark color saturations with crisp edge gobos cutting through to add texture to the stage, or a super wide blowout to get that down-the-barrel look. The Viper is a rock-solid fixture that can handle all of that.”
The resulting rig offered a seamless blend of classic aesthetics and modern technology, giving Richter and the lighting crew the flexibility for on-the-fly programming and vivid effects while also maintaining the look of a 1980s hard rock show. Richter noted how the Atomic Bolds particularly delivered subtle but impactful effects throughout Halestorm’s set, perfectly toeing the line between vintage and modern visuals that heightened the band’s performing and onstage chemistry.
“I have this really subtle cue that I don't think anybody notices but me,” explained Richter. “It's in their new single, ‘The Steeple.’ There's this one verse where Lzzy [Hale, co-founder of the band] sings, ‘a choir singing in my head today,’ and the backing vocals come in as this very churchy choir, so I have the main cell cut through the aura effect on some of the Bolds, which brings in this really nice, heavenly white beam just for a moment. I think it looks so cool because the dimmer curve on it is just so smooth and not at all glitchy. It really just comes in and out almost like a sun beam fading in through a stained-glass window—it looks really, really cool.”