To provide rock band Nothing But Thieves with immersive and expressive visuals for their sold-out UK arena tour, lighting designer Sam Tozer crafted a dynamic rig featuring Martin Professional lighting solutions, provided by Christie Lites.
The tour, which kicked off at the Birmingham Academy on October 10, 2021, and included shows at London’s O2 Arena and Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena, promoted the Essex band’s latest chart-topping album, Moral Panic. For Nothing But Thieves, a staple on the festival circuit, the tour marked its long-awaited return to live performances, as well as its arena debut, and so the band wanted to provide audiences with an especially memorable and high-quality live experience.
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However, with no opportunity for dress rehearsals due to pandemic restrictions the lighting rig needed to be reliable and adaptable in order to adhere to the strict time frame. To meet these requirements, Tozer relied on Martin’s MAC Aura PXL and MAC Viper fixtures. His team included account holder Andy Stratum, crew chief Adam Morris and production manager Andrew Sweeney.
“When drawing up plans for the tour, we tried to match the new art design of the latest album,” said Tozer. “We wanted to create a clean-looking show and build dynamically during the performance with lighting added throughout the set. I wanted a rig that could light the band, but also was versatile to provide some eye candy when needed.”
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The Martin MAC Viper served as the main workhorse for the tour and provided the essential key lighting for framing the band. With a 140-millimeter front lens, CMY color mixing and two five-slot rotating gobo wheels, the Viper is a high-output yet compact tool capable of fat beams, colorful accents and a wide range of effects.
For extra production flair, Tozer selected Martin MAC Aura PXL fixtures as his sidelights, providing elegant and well-articulated effects throughout the show. Featuring its characteristic multi-lens “bubbles” and Aura backlight technology, the Aura PXL offers to-the-pixel control via DMX, Art-Net, sACN or P3 for a wide range of detailed washes and vivid effects. Tozer added that he hid the Auras behind a transparent plastic drape, which deflected the light hitting the stage and gave an increased illusion of depth.
“When selecting the fixtures for this tour, I wanted a wash light that was bright and bold,” explained Tozer. “The MAC Aura PXL met these requirements and delivered brilliant whites and an unbeatable color range. It’s one of my favorite fixtures to work with. I love the pure output and the wide range of colors, especially the pastels.”
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Nothing But Thieves’ 2021 tour was a hit with audiences and critics alike, and showcased the band as a bona fide, arena-filling live act. Tozer praised the predictable, intuitive nature of the Martin fixtures, which behaved exactly as expected.
“Going straight to the stage, we needed to make sure the lights worked reliably—and they did,” said Tozer. “Everything remained in sync, giving the audience an unforgettable show. The way the Martin fixtures easily interfaced with our console allowed us to be really creative.”