Just about everyone who saw The Struts on the UK band’s recently concluded North American tour felt two things when they left one of its sold-out shows: exhilarated and exhausted.
“Exhilarated,” because the irrepressible glam rockers kept pedal to the metal with their relentless stage presence and hard-driving music from the moment they kicked things off with “Dirty Sexy Money.” And “exhausted,” well… that was due to many of the same reasons, as the high-powered quartet continued to engage their audience with intense crowd interactions and singalongs throughout their 19-song set.
Helping to keep the energy level sky high all evening was a dynamic lightshow by Carlos Katsurayama that moved seamlessly through dramatic mood shifts with help from a LIT Lighting supplied rig that featured the Maverick Force S Profile, STRIKE Array 4 and Rogue Outcast 1 BeamWash from CHAUVET Professional.
Reflecting band’s bold emotional swings, Katsurayama brilliantly played light and darkness off one another to rev up the crowd. For example, his show started out in darkness, before moving to a lighted backdrop, and then busted out with intense blinding effects.
“Beginning the show in complete darkness is a classic way to build anticipation,” said Katsurayama. “Lighting up the backdrop was a big way to let the crowd know that the wait was almost over!”
Katsurayama worked his way in and out of shadows to great effect at every turn. “In this show, my priority was to keep the band members lit well, since they are known for being such an incredibly talented and energetic act,” he said. “However, doing that also lent itself to contrasting things with some dark and dramatic moments throughout the set.”
In addition to juxtaposing light and shadows, Katsurayama relied on colour changes to pump up the flow of emotions. “Each song’s colour palette was chosen carefully to go with the specific vibe and feeling of each song,” he said. “I do my best to not take attention away from the music, so I tend to keep my color choices pretty tame—at least most of the time.”
Such an exception happened during the song “Wild Child,” when Katsurayama conjured up some captivating trippy red and blue psychedelic combinations to create one of his favourite looks in the show.
Contributing to Katsurayama’s evocative looks were the rig’s 10 Maverick Force S Profile fixtures, which he praised for their tight beams and wide prisms. Also in the rig were eight Rogue Outcast 1 BeamWash fixtures, which helped connect the band to their fans by serving as key lights.
Generating what Katsurayama calls “major punch” for the show were 24 STRIKE Array 4 blinders. With their intense output, these fixtures not only created the kind of interactive atmosphere that is so much a part of any show by The Struts, they also helped their lighting designer move in sync with the band.
“Since this was not one of my time-code shows I really got to play along with the band for the whole set,” said Katsurayama. “Their show is very interactive and is constantly changing. Luke Spiller (the band’s lead vocalist) loves to call out what he wants in certain moments and thrives on having whatever he calls out happen.”
Generally, this kind of stage presence allows no time for rest — but, along with the exhaustion it creates, it leaves everyone feeling exhilarated, and that’s exactly what everyone expects at a concert by The Struts.