NASHVILLE, TN – Viral country superstar Walker Hayes is back on the road for The Duck Buck Tour with a lighting system from Bandit Lites. The “Fancy Like” singer songwriter is known for his warm, family-friendly shenanigans and authentic lyrics. In fact, the whole Walker clan tours together, with his kids joining him on stage to take part in some of TikTok dances millions have learned.
The family vibes don’t simply stop for Walker and his wife and children; the entire tour brims with a welcoming atmosphere, a sensation that Nathan Alves and Seth Jackson notes Bandit also prides itself on.
“The Bandit experience is always like working with your family,” Jackson said. “Mike Golden (Bandit VP) and I reminisced that I first walked into his door twenty-five years ago.”
“It was fantastic to have Seth and Nate come to Bandit’s Venue 1 for pre-tour programming,” said Golden. “It was all any of us could do to keep from reminiscing about our many endeavors and long histories together all day; however, when it became time to program their focus was intense and their efforts were on full display at rehearsal.”
Jackson and Alves of The Darkroom Creative upgraded their original design for Walker’s 2022 tour with a big step forward on the lighting.
“When we did the first tour we tried to get as many fixtures as we could on a tight budget, relying completely on Nate’s video imagery to add the spice,” explained Jackson. “That worked, but we knew it should be a lot better. This time, I decided to stretch that budget another direction. Working with Mike Golden and Jake Tickle we were able to “spice up” the rig and add some more impactful effects to play alongside the video content.”
To achieve that impactful effect, Alves and Jackson sought out gear that would pack a punch while striking that ever-necessary balance between budget and truck pack.
“After speaking with George Masek (Clay Paky,) we decided to add an element to the Volero Wave that would give us the ability to use the light functionally as well as an effects fixture,” said Jackson. “Clay Paky’s Matthew Burstein and Jake Tickle added a frost to the lenses for us that allowed them to be terrific dancer torm fixtures as well as take full advantage of their incredible effects.”
Bandit Lites also supplied Clay Paky ReflectXions, Elation Smarty Hybrids, GLP X4S, HES Solapix 37 and GLP JDC1 LED Strobes as well as truss and multiple mirror balls.
In designing the look of the lighting for the Duck Buck Tour, Jackson shared their goal at Dark Room Creative was to “Put everyone on the dance floor!”
“Walker’s show is a high energy hybrid of country, pop, hip hop; you name it!” he said. “It runs at 100mph without a breath. To the kids in the audience, every song has a TikTok dance that they know by heart. The lighting is there to take everyone into the experience. Sometimes when you do a show you are creating an environment for an audience to experience; this show you are making the whole room the experience.”
An example of the lighting setting the scene can be seen in Walker’s performance of “90s Country,” as the ReflectXions transported the audience back nearly 30 years with an amped up new spin on mirrored fixtures.
“Naturally, we had the mirror effects, which people haven’t seen in a long time (or in the case of this audience’s age, not at all), but Clay Paky has done remarkable work with the mirror surface,” said Jackson. “Using Elation Smarty Hybrids (a personal work horse favorite) a relatively narrow beam shot down on the mirror became a massive beam reflected out with almost no loss in brightness. It added tremendous depth and dimensionality to the rig.”
The Duck Buck Tour also offered a new challenge to the seasoned designer, as Alves’s workload on the video content meant Jackson would be programming the lighting. Bored with consoles and not entirely comfortable in MA world, Jackson sought Jake Tickle’s input on a console.
“He suggested the Hog 4,” said Jackson, “I was hesitant at first, but I trust Jake. I called up Paul Hancock at HES and sent me a desk to try out. Jake was 100% right. I took to the desk in seconds, and it gave me such freedom and new creativity in programming it made the show a joy to create. As a veteran Hog 2 guy, this was like coming home.”
The joy felt in the show is carried over into the design process, as Alves and Jackson found themselves rising to the challenge of making an impactful show that makes sense fiscally and physically.
“I think what we were able to craft, alongside the dynamic 3D visuals Nate created, is a production that appears much larger than it actually is,” said Jackson adding, “This doesn’t happen without a great production manager, and Chris Newman is just that. He was an absolute pro. Every detail was covered, every decision thought out and logical. Additionally, Nate and I were blessed with some incredible people to take this down the road. Our returning ‘lone Bandit’, AJ Quintel, is a rockstar. Our new lighting director, Jacob Padgett was a late hire and came in right at the start of rehearsals and immediately looked like he had been there all along. Our returning video director (MooTV), Jordan Karow became Nate’s right arm in crafting the final edits and programming of the show.”
“I visited during the second day of rehearsal and was immediately impressed with the family environment,” finished Golden. “I attribute that to the leadership and attitude of Production Manager Chris Newman. I was also impressed with Jacob Padgett with his work ethic and skill as well as his ability to immediately join in as the second lighting technician. This will be a great tour and I speak for all at Bandit in saying we are very proud to be a part of this team.”
Walker Hayes Tour continues into August of 2023. For more information about tour dates and tickets, visit https://www.walkerhayes.com/#tour.
About Bandit Lites, Inc.
Bandit Lites is a full-service design, management and producer of live events, theatrical productions, and live shows. Bandit Lites has a full staff of highly trained professionals to deal with all types of production needs. Bandit’s presence will ensure seamless transitions no matter where your next show takes you. More information available at www.BanditLites.com