Alec Morris uses Obsidian NX1 console on Steve Hackett Foxtrot at 50 Tour

Alec Morris from Anthrolight Productions in the UK embarked on a North American tour this fall with English guitarist and ex-Genesis member Steve Hackett, illuminating the performances using an NX1 lighting console from Obsidian Control Systems.

The 31-show tour, Foxtrot at 50, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Genesis’s Foxtrot album, kicked off on October 3 in Montreal and concluded on November 18 in Los Angeles. It marked Morris’s first time designing and operating lighting for the legendary guitarist, with Tour Manager Adrian Holmes overseeing the logistics.

Alec began designing lighting on a Martin LightJockey and M-Series consoles years ago, transitioning to Obsidian after Elation took over the console line. “The software kept developing and improving,” he says. “I saw improvements in functionality and the support was excellent so I continued to use it.” In early 2023, he acquired his own NX1 through Obsidian UK distributor Entedi, which he utilized on the Steve Hackett tour. Previously he had used Obsidian’s NX2 for a couple of projects, also supplied by Entedi, but found the NX1 to be a perfect fit for his needs.

According to Alec, there are a lot of different factors that made the NX1 a good console for this tour. He comments, “I wanted the show to be cue-stacked and more polished rather than a busking show. I wanted it to look more or less the same each night. The NX1 allowed me to do that because it’s so versatile and is a working environment I am used to. It just flows so nicely and just does what I need it to.”

Alec praised the NX1’s motorized faders, allowing swift adjustments and easy navigation between fader banks during the show. He highlighted the instant access to inhibit groups, emphasizing the console’s quick and efficient functionality. “I’m always doing little adjustments during the show. It’s very quick.”

The NX1 offers an expandable playback wing (NXP) along with a 10-digit keypad (NXK), modular components that combined with the NX1 create an even more powerful and flexible console. Alec took advantage of both. “I needed the additional faders the NXP offers but also with the 8-universe licensing it gave me 8 physical DMX outputs. The NXK gives you a tactile feel for control which really speeds things up.” The modular system proved beneficial in adapting to limited spaces during the tour, allowing him to rearrange the add-ons as needed. “Sometimes space at FOH was a little limited and with the modular system I could easily move elements around as I needed to.” A simple magnetic alignment system allows the components to attach to either side of the NX1.

Alec adds that both the NXP and NXK are handy when preprogramming or editing on the move. “You can take it on the bus or hotel room, open up the software, plug it into your laptop and away you go. Having a physical touch pad really speeds things up.” Additionally, the compact size of the NX1 proved advantageous for easy transport in the tight confines of the bus trailer pack. Alec also travelled with a NETRON EN12 Ethernet to DMX node as a backup, which he says he relied on during the tour.

The designer used the NX1 to control a lighting rig that consisted mainly of house lights, which varied from show to show, supplemented by a small floor package of seven moving lights. The base rig he used for programming consisted of 9 spots, 16 washes and the floor package. Floor package lighting vendor was Solotech.

Reflecting on the seven-week tour, Alec praised the smooth collaboration with the band and crew while expressing his satisfaction with a design and execution that came together on relatively short notice. His NX1 console remains in the United States, awaiting the start of the second leg of the Foxtrot at 50 + Hackett Highlights Tour which kicks off in March. Full details are available on Steve Hackett’s official website.


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