Three key live music venues in New York City managed by The Bowery Presents – Brooklyn Steel, Webster Hall and most recently the Mondo Award-nominated, 2800 capacity Terminal 5 in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan – all feature Robe moving lights in their house rigs.
The lights have been specified by Luciano Savedra, head of lighting for The Bowery Presents which is the East Coast regional partner of AEG Live and owns and operates a diverse mix of venues across NYC and in other major metropolitan centers.
At Terminal 5, where Luciano also oversees and runs the lighting day-to-day, the 12 x MegaPointes and 12 x Spiider LED wash beams have greatly added to the flexibility of the existing lighting rig. The lights were supplied via BML-Blackbird.
Brooklyn Steel – on the site of a former steelworks and named one of the 10 best live music venues in America by Rolling Stone Magazine – has 16 x Spiiders. Webster Hall has 10 x MegaPointes and is among New York City’s most historically significant theater halls, having hosted social and performance events since the club’s construction in 1886.
Luciano has worked for Bowery Presents in different capacities since 2003, and in 2007 was hired to design new and contemporary lighting for Terminal 5, which had just joined the Bowery franchise, and also for another venue, Music Hall of Williamsburg, after which he stayed on as the house LD.
All the house rigs are designed to provide top-level touring artists with the facilities to produce a comprehensive show, although that’s not exclusively the case, and productions can ‘mix and match’ systems by bringing in their own specials, or in some cases, their complete rigs.
Top of the agenda is to provide a straightforward lighting system with plenty of creative scope to embrace the wide collage of styles and genres of music staged there.
Luciano’s starting point for any house system design is ensuring all the basics and bottom line “needs” are covered first – including front, back and side light. From there, a combination of physical and financial aspects influences how enthusiastic he can get with additional layers of lighting and effects!
In all these three mentioned NYC venues, the Robe products are providing direct back light plus an assortment of eye candy and high-impact effects.
They were chosen by Luciano for three main reasons.
The first was reliability. “With a little love and keeping them clean these fixtures will work and work and work,” he commented, recognizing the tough lifestyle that house lighting rigs tend to lead!
Secondly, if there is ever an issue that Luciano cannot solve himself, “either BML Blackbird or the Robe North America team are always available to help – the backup is excellent”.
Thirdly, he observes that numerous touring acts are now carrying and specifying Robe products, so it’s a judicious choice to keep the house rig in the air for more shows, saving the hassle and cost of removing it for own productions to come in … and, it’s easy to clone and adapt.
Remote controllability of the lights via RDM means that fixture changes can be made even quicker and more straightforward to suit the needs of travelling lighting designers.
He thinks that Robe as a brand has “always been positive and rider-friendly,” and has watched their market presence grow with interest.
The Terminal 5 lighting is run from a grandMA3 console.
The first Robe products that Luciano ever worked with were the original flagship ColorSpot and ColorWash 1200 series, and that was in 2007. “I loved those fixtures. They were bright, robust, and serious workhorses,” he affirms.
He also has another connection to Robe now … although, neither person realized that is how it would be at the time!
Around 2003, lighting designer Marty Postma – who joined Robe as Regional Sales Manager of the Northeast US in 2018 – was working as the house LD at Webster Hall, and Bowery Presents staged numerous shows at the venue.
Marty – known for his ‘inventive and imaginative’ approach – hired Luciano as a cover LD when he needed days off.
Before then, and since moving to the city in 1997, Luciano worked as a freelance lighting tech / designer. He credits Marty during that period with sharpening his programming skills and introducing him to the intricacies of working with automated lighting fixtures.
When Marty left Webster Hall, he handed over to Luciano who looked after lighting all the Bowery shows plus their banging club nights for the next couple of years and then in 2007, Bowery Presents hired him to design the upgraded lighting system for Terminal 5.
The kit back then was also supplied by BML-Blackbird, which has proved an enduring and successful working relationship – and Luciano subsequently stayed on as the house LD.
He has also designed lighting for the Music Hall of Williamsburg as well as for non-Bowery Presents venues including The Bowery Ballroom, Mercury Lounge, Teragram Ballroom, Moroccan Lounge, and TV Eye.
Photos: Ryan Muir