Talking Light – Matt Collier from Brothers Gow

Up and coming LD Matt Collier from Arizona-based jam band Brothers Gow is in the blog today, talking about light, inspiration, and rock and roll with our Customer Engagement and Education Manager, Jim Hutchison. Check it out!


Jim:  Tell me about Matt Collier the lighting designer.  How’d you get started with Brothers Gow, and how has the journey taken you?

Matt Collier:  Well, Brothers Gow was founded in 2007 in Flagstaff, AZ and I started out helping them on shows more for the free drink tab than anything else haha. But honestly, they started the band in September of that year right after the college school year started. In the beginning I just took pictures and helped load in and out. After we got to the point of having too many sound channels to run from stage, I learned the basics of sound, which spurred my interest in working in live music production.

Thats right about when I saw Phish live for the first time and Chris Kuroda’s show blew me away. I’ll never forget my first show at the Gorge in ’09, and after that I’ve been all about lighting. The feeling that I got when a deep blue would wash over me when they went into a slow section or the beautiful scenes he created that seemed to match the music and intensity of the show perfectly. Those feelings were really my inspiration to be a Lighting Designer. I wanted to be the one to bridge that gap between performer and audience member and put my artistic spin on how I hear music.

Lighting has become my life and I love it. Being able to run lights for my band Brothers Gow every show still is just as fun as it was in 2009. In addition to BG, I’ve also got to run lights for some of my favorite acts, like Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Galactic, Particle, Greyboy All-Stars and Nahko and Medicine for the People. Lighting just suits me I think because I’m very much a hard working, logical based guy (which is good for troubleshooting and rigging/staging) but I also have a creative mind from my photography background. All in all, the journey has been great so far.

What has pushed you to develop new looks while lighting Brothers Gow?  Where do you draw your artistic inspiration?

Being creative in this business is critical to push yourself to become a better LD. In my opinion, finding new looks is important especially when working a lot of shows like I do with Brothers Gow. Switching it up and keeping your design fresh also allows you to see your rig from a different perspective and discover cool new ideas. I watch a lot of lighting videos from many different artists and genre’s, but my influences are Chris Kuroda, Saxton Waller, Luke Stratton and Jefferson Waful. All of those guys run lights for bands that are similar to Brothers Gow so seeing how they interact with the changes in the music inspire some looks or chases I use. Lots of tempo changes, deep grooves and intense climactic moments so being quick on the music changes is crucial.

I like to pull design ideas from all over the place but mostly its cool architecture or art. Im very big on symmetry as are most designers but I just like how it looks when you have everything set perfectly and all the scenes move together fluidly. Its seems to be more organized than an asymmetrical look and I’m more of an organized person I guess. I’ve become a better designer trying to emulate the looks and programming that Phish and Umphrey’s [McGee] have for their live shows. Not trying to copy or steal what they do, but rather teach myself how to create looks like the professionals and run a show like a professional. They must be doing something right if they’re in that FOH position.

What control surface do you use?  When you started out with the band, what was your controller then?

I currently use the Martin M-PC for my controller. I love it and don’t plan on switching anytime soon. I’m pretty inexperienced in running anything other than M-PC so I can’t gauge how much I like other control platforms. Martin M-PC does everything I need as of right now and I’m planning on going up to LA on our time off this summer to take a course and further my programming knowledge. Originally, we started with 6 scanners and a Chauvet Obey-50 DMX512 controller so we have come a long way since then but I’ve stuck with our Chauvet roots cause they continue to evolve and push the limits, just like my lighting and the band.

Can you tell me a bit about how the energy of the crowd impacts your show, be it positively or negatively?  What’s the crowd vibe do for you as an LD?

Being the LD in a packed room is unlike anything I can describe, and definitely takes the show to another level.  The trick is still having that same energy when the show isnt very busy. Putting forth the effort to still run a good show is important even if there isnt a full house because the bands feeds off your energy and lighting and the people in the house still deserve the best show possible for coming out to see the show. If the show isnt too busy I like to try out new FX and color schemes too… but NOTHING compares to a hot sweaty packed house of dancing fools!!

What’s the next technological tool you want to incorporate into the Brothers Gow lighting rig?

Martin just recently release a touch console called the M-Touch that is very affordable at under $1000 dollars. Right now I run my show with a mouse and external monitor so it would be nice to upgrade to a small console but in all reality, Im sure I will be buying more Chauvet Rogue R1’s next. Just ran my first couple shows with them and am very, very stoked on how well they perform.

Check out this second set video from Brothers Gow’s set at the Orpheum Theatre in Flagstaff, AZ:

For more on Matt Collier and Brothers Gow, check out:

The Brothers Gow Facebook Page

The Brothers Gow Lighting page, Facebook

The Official Brothers Gow website


The Weekly Rig #10, from CHAUVET Professional and Trusst – Duas Arces!

Back by popular demand after a small pause for the LDI Show preparation…  THE WEEKLY RIG from CHAUVET Professional and Trusst!!!


This week’s installment is called Duas Arces, which means Two Towers in Latin.  But obviously DUAS ARCES sounds way cooler than Two Towers, right?!  And look — you just learned some Latin!  How cool is THAT?!

Our imaginary band, Todd’s Crazy Shirt, is rocking and rolling with a mix of keys, percussion, a mix master, and vocals — and a full rig of CHAUVET Professional fixtures cutting through the air and making magic pictures!

A few things to take away from this week’s Weekly Rig — design liner notes!

  1. Never forget about your background.  Often in venues that you’ll play, you’ll have a terrible-looking back wall that can be made amazing with a simple focus palette that you update from venue to venue that gives you gobos along the back wall.  Spin them, pulse them, rotate them with colors and varying directions, and you just blew the audience’s mind!
  2. A great gobo usage scenario is having projecting heads on a FOH truss.  Sure you can spot the band, you can highlight parts of the band at certain points…  but what about a front gobo wash?  Turn your band from a front-lit bunch of musicians to a gobo front-lit bunch of musicians that are in motion and vibrate!
  3. Toners:  You have the ability to make every piece of your truss into its own member of the band by just paying a little bit of attention to add your toners to your cues…  truss is gorgeous while lit, why not make it part of your stack?
  4. Add a powerful backlight to each band member — in the case of Duas Arces and Todd’s Crazy Shirt, I added a COLORado Batten Quad 9 Tour behind each band member for a burst of LED color and intensity to turn each member of the band into their own silhouette that lives and breathes with every single human movement the band members make.  Try it, you will not be disappointed.  Try it!
  5. A single front light on each band member can give you the control you need to simply highlight each human and keep your rig tight without having to use an entire system of wash fixtures (or PARs, depending where you are in the world, of course) to accomplish the look.  You can definitely still design in the front washes (and maybe a GOBO WASH system from the front!) while having specials for each band member.  It’s all about how you want to control your rig!

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DUAS ARCES:  CHAUVET Professional Lighting Products
We’ve got a sizable rig for this week’s Weekly Rig — but for a theoretical band of this magnitude, what choice do we have?!!

Direct from the virtual truck pack — fixtures on the stage deck:
30 @ COLORado Batten Quad 9 Tour

Fixtures on Trusst:
48 @ COLORdash Par Quad 7
8 @ Legend 330 SR Spot
4 @ Ovation E-190WW ERS
24 @ ROGUE R2 Beam
28 @ ROGUE R2 Spot

DUAS ARCES:  TRUSST Trussing Products
Lots and lots of Trusst!

32 @ 3m Trusst Arc sections
3 @ 1m Trusst straight sections
24 @ 2m Trusst straight sections
21 @ 3m Trusst straight sections
32 @ 6-Way Trusst corner blocks
28 @ 1m Trusst extension pipes
8 @ 30″ Trusst base plates

Enough of the bullet points, let’s check out this week’s Weekly Rig!  Ladies and gentlemen, Duas Arces with Todd’s Crazy Shirt on the mic!

Check out more episodes of The Weekly Rig here!








This rig is completely theoretical, and there are lots of things like chain motors and required safety devices that would need to be implemented to make this a reality.  Just keep in mind that no matter what rig you build or how you adapt these designs, you need to consult riggers, structural engineers, and all other appropriate experts before attempting to build any of these designs!  The optimal phrase here is “IF YOU CAN’T RIG IT RIGHT, DON’T RIG IT AT ALL.”  Safety is paramount.  Nothing else is really that important.



The Weekly Rig from CHAUVET Professional and TRUSST — Quatuor Erro!

weekly-rig-7-chauvet-professional-dIt’s that time again – another installment of The Weekly Rig from CHAUVET Professional and Trusst!  This week’s installment is called Quatuor Erro, which translates to Four Hallways in Latin.  Now you’re learning Latin!

Particular attention was paid to this week’s design with respect to repetition – an important design element that is often overlooked is the power of repetition and symmetry in your lighting and truss designs.  This brings up another very important aspect of design – do you want even numbers of fixtures in a row or odd numbers?  Each gives you different looks, and the even vs. odd debate also lends itself to different combinations of aerial and wash looks.  Even numbers of fixtures lends itself to interesting center splits in a design, especially when fanning, and the odd numbered fanned splits will require you with a beam right in the center of your view.  Keep in mind this isn’t a bad thing at all; it’s just a different kind of aerial look!


This week’s installment of The Weekly Rig features the bright and powerful Legend™ 330 SR Spot and the eye-popping Nexus™ 4×4 LED panels, with the COLORado Batten 144 Tour being utilized for architectural blasts.  All of the four lighting positions are made from Trusst™ trussing, all self-standing, and self-supporting!  The Trusst “doorways” are made from 2m straight sections with 90° corners creating the top of the doorway.  COLORdash™ Par Quad 7 LED wash fixtures are used for truss toning – with truss used as scenic elements, it’s best to have a bright fixture lighting your structure up!

Check out some renders of this week’s Weekly Rig, Quatuor Erro!












The Weekly Rig from CHAUVET Professional and Trusst – Digital Buddha!


It’s time for another installment of The Weekly Rig from CHAUVET Professional and Trusst trussing!  This week’s rig is geared towards EDM and unconventional bands like The Black Keys and The White Stripes  — meet Digital Buddha!



This week’s installment of The Weekly Rig brings a relatively new fixture to the forefront of design and maximum output — the bright, versatile, and punchy Nexus Affinity AW7x7 pixel-mapping panel!  Nexus AW7x7 can be mounted in myriad configurations, what we’ve provided here for you is a mere scratch to what can be done with the Nexus AW7x7.


Also in this week’s Weekly Rig is the venerable Legend 330 SR Spot, the COLORdash Par Quad 7 for truss toning, the COLORado 2 Quad Zoom Tour for backlight blasts, and a FOH truss sporting the Legend 330 SR Spot for maximum audience enjoyment.



In addition to the CHAUVET Professional lighting fixtures, this week’s edition of The Weekly Rig features several excellent pieces of TRUSST trussing, including 1m sticks, 6-way cornerblocks, 3m truss arcs, and the versatile, strong, and easily configurable universal TV mount for adding displays and monitors to your design!  A media server and some fun content, and you have some excellent dynamic graphics to go along with your rocking light show!






Stay tuned for next week’s rig where we incorporate circles, triangles, and squares of truss into a design!  Check out our other episodes of The Weekly Rig as well, we hope you find something that rocks you!


THE WEEKLY RIG from CHAUVET Professional and Trusst – THE GREAT WALL!

It’s the fifth installment of THE WEEKLY RIG from CHAUVET Professional and Trusst!  This week’s installment is affectionately called THE GREAT WALL — check it out!


The Great Wall, built from TRUSST Trussing, gives a solid structure on stage for you to use in any configuration you can invent — the edges of The Great Wall design features built-in out-rigging support in the form of truss legs that keeps the design upright and weight-balanced.  Make sure that if you modify this design at all that you plan in these pieces on the edges to support the structure!


THE GREAT WALL utilizes several different models of TRUSST trussing, including 6-way corner blocks (strong and dependable!) 3m straight sections2.5m straight sections1m straight sections, and 24″ base plates.  THE GREAT WALL is a tall-standing backdrop for your tour, band, event, or for anything else to which you can add light and truss!

This week’s installment of THE WEEKLY RIG features the powerful and fast LEGEND 330 SR Spot from CHAUVET Professional — a moving head spot that is just as much of a feature-packed tool as it is a photon cannon.  Also included on the FOH Truss are the venerable Q-Wash 419Z LED fixtures, used in THE GREAT WALL design for front light color washes, and the excellent 3200K LED fresnel in the Ovation line, the Ovation F-165WW, as low backlight blasts.  Truss toning of THE GREAT WALL is done by the COLORado 1 Tri-7 Tour, one of CHAUVET Professional’s hot LED PARs that blasts color down the chords of the truss effectively and intensely.

Spread the word, The Weekly Rig #5 is OUT!














THE WEEKLY RIG from CHAUVET Professional – The Three Towers!

It’s that time again — time for THE WEEKLY RIG from CHAUVET Professional and TRUSST!

This week’s rig is a very vertical design featuring three 4m towers loaded to bear with a mix of narrow shooting COLORado 4 IP wash fixtures, LEGEND 412 washes, LEGEND 230 SR Beam fixtures, and COLORdash Par Quad 7 truss toners!

On the TRUSST side of business, we’re looking at 3m sticks, 1m sticks, half-meter sticks, and 6-way corner blocks — all of which create the makings of a fun and exciting design!

Check it out — this week’s WEEKLY RIG, The Three Towers!  Click on each image for a full-size version that you can take to your rep and make this rig!

Front view:the-weekly-rig-2-chauvet-front

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Top view:the-weekly-rig-2-chauvet-26

The View from backstage:the-weekly-rig-2-chauvet-23






Check back next week for another episode of The Weekly Rig from CHAUVET Professional and TRUSST!



Some Awesome Umphrey’s McGee for Your Monday – Sociable Jimmy Live #UM


If you haven’t heard of Umphrey’s McGee, you’re really missing out!  How about a little taste for your Monday afternoon?  Here’s a great tune called Sociable Jimmy, and this cut is live from this summer’s UM Summer Camp, an event the band throws every year in Chillicothe, IL.  Umphrey’s is also playing a sold out run at the Fillmore in Denver this New Years’ Eve…  Are you going?