Eminence Ensemble and Jake Gibson hit the road again with Chauvet Professional

Eminence Ensemble and Jake Gibson hit the road again with Chauvet Professional

United States – Being on the road never fails to make its way into the heart and soul of a touring LD. Jake Gibson knows this very well. “It becomes part of your lifestyle and your life,” he said of his time traveling the United States with the popular progressive jam group Eminence Ensemble.

Of course, as with so many other things, the onset of the pandemic brought Gibson’s perpetual tour bus to a screeching halt last year. This spring, when he started to rev up his engine again, he wondered what the resumption of the road would give him.

“I would be lying if I said that having a year off in my own bed every night didn’t soften me up a bit,” Gibson recalls. “But as soon as the wheels of the truck started to turn, it all came back to me.”

These spinning wheels took Gibson on his first out-of-state trip in a year, taking him over 1,000 miles from his Colorado home to Rancho Relaxo, a hip outdoor camp festival site. Austin for two shows in May.

Like his sense of the road, Gibson’s knack for conjuring light shows that move fluently with his client’s freewheeling music crossed the lock without caring. Arranging his eight Chauvet Professional Rogue R1 Spot lights on road cases along the wall at the top of the stage, he unleashed wave after wave of bright, colorful and fast-paced looks, each seemingly celebrating the band’s return to tour.

“It was a happy and dynamic occasion,” said Gibson. “Eminence Ensemble is a wild progressive rock band that indulges in multi-genre madness. The traffic jams are deep and we do not know what will happen next. I have to create peaks, valleys and everything in real time with the group. So 95 percent of my work with EE is musical and improvisation. This of course leaves a lot more room for error, but I much prefer this style of live operation. No two emissions are the same, audible or visible.

Gibson also woven the natural setting of Rancho Relaxo into its light show, using the beams of its Rogue fixtures to accentuate the surroundings of the stage with a rainbow of colors. “It’s a great setting that really evokes a festival vibe, even when it’s not a festival,” he said. I used a lot of spot colors and a few Chauvet pars to blend the scene into its surroundings.

While the 70-acre Rancho Relaxo site provided an evocative setting for the Eminence Ensemble show, its relatively small stage presented some challenges for Gibson when lighting the six-piece group.

“There were a few limiting factors when it came to the design options,” he said. “These revolved around the trim level of the stage and the available deck area. So, I filled in as much space as possible. The energy of the group and the crowd was both incredibly high, and I reflected that as much as possible through my style of operation. Fortunately, my touring rig with the Rogues is compact so I was able to put as much firepower as possible into my rig.

Drawing on that firepower, Gibson endowed the stage with a presence that belied its relatively small size by directing broad bands of multicolored light into the air around her and spreading her design over nearby trees. He also used deeply evocative effects with monochrome washes in bright colors. All the while, her bus show was adjusting to her client’s richly textured music like a glove.

When asked to describe how he felt after the second show at Rancho Relaxo, Gibson replied, “It’s great to be back with my band, doing what we’re doing!”

It was a feeling that started to gain momentum the moment the tour bus started to roll.

Eminence Ensemble and Jake Gibson hit the road again with Chauvet ProfessionalEminence Ensemble and Jake Gibson hit the road again with Chauvet Professional

June 25, 2021

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