Marc Janowitz unique design for MMJ with GLP workhorses

My Morning Jacket (MMJ) has been serving up its own unique brand of rock music for more than two decades, starting from Kentucky nd then going worldwide. Piloting their lightshow for over 13 years, Light Designer Marc Janowitz of E26 Design has been frequently drawing on different generations of GLP LED solutions to meet his requirements.
He has expanded his GLP toolbox on a recent occasion, adding X4 Bar 20s and JDC1s to his usual Impression X4 range inventory, to form innovative pixel mapped crystal shaped pods across the back.

Photo: Jay Blakesberg Photography, Inc.

Being the first LD to take the original impression X4 on the road when it was launched, the GLP impression range has provided him with a solid workhorse. “From X4 S to X4 XL and all in between, the wash lights have been part of my toolbox for many years. Now adding the X4 Bars to that the family just makes sense.”

Before embarking on a limited four-date run in August, MMJ had been on hiatus for 17months. This was the reason for an unique new scenography. This short leg included one show at the Capital Theatre in Port Chester, New York to celebrate the 20th anniversary and reissue of their first record, two shows at Red Rocks Amphitheater (Colorado), and a further show at Queens’ Forest Hills Stadium. Marc notes “From shop prep to the end of the tour was less than three weeks. We wanted to make sure that the first shows back after so many months looked new and fresh.”

GLP X4 Bar 20

Marc started the whole concept from the band request for different ‘shapes’ of light. “I therefore updated the design and added six pods across the back. Each pod had a crystal shape with the outline of the shape, incorporating, among other fixtures, X4 Bar 20s with a JDC1 in the centre.” As some of you SoundLightUp readers might already know, JDC1 is now a GLP flagship as a hybrid strobe.

Marc described the addition of the X4 Bars to the design as “seamless”. Explaining this, he said, “The show already had so much carry-over programming with the X4 and X4 S from previous MMJ tours and I wanted to build from that. Because the engine is the same, the colour space and the reaction time of all the fixtures melded together seamlessly, and the X4 Bar 20 was the ideal tool for that application.”


He also remarked, reviewing the JDC1 hybrid, “While I’ve always loved a good xenon strobe I felt it was time to add more versatility and variety to the arsenal. I’d been impressed by the JDC1 since I first had my face melted by it at LDI a few years back.
In fact I still have the sunglasses,” he quipped. “I was glad to finally get to take them out for a spin.

Speaking of his pixel-mapping design for both X4 Bar and JDC1, he explains that the X4 Bar 20’s were used in pixel mode, sometimes mapped to the internal pixel mapper in the Wholehog desk, and at other times as conventional light curtains. “I enjoyed using them just a few pixels at a time for some songs then full linear for others,” he said.

“I also ran the JDC’s in 68-channel mode so that I could break up the face and make it sparkle. They were part of the Hog pixel map as well—they are impressive in their abilities as white strobes, colour strobes, eye candy, motion inducing, or even just as audience or stage wash.” The equipment was supplied by Pulse Lighting. “They provided great support,” appreciated Marc. “Paul and Mikey, being LD’s themselves, have a knack for predicting what a designer might need and helping to prepare for that ahead of time.”

Marc stated that an essential part of his team was assistant LD/ FOH tech, Chase Nichols. “He’s instrumental in the process, as I serve a dual role on this tour as both Production/Lighting Designer and Production Manager. Knowing that Chase is keeping the lighting moving along while I’m keeping the tour machine running makes the whole process manageable.
He’s also a great programmer and can help offer insight and create looks and effects that I then implement into the show.“ Marc concludes: “In fact the entire MMJ crew is really top notch—it’s a great family vibe out there … band, crew and fans.”

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