2016 was a hugely successful year for Skepta which saw him playing Field Day, Park Life, Glastonbury and winning the Hyundai Mercury Prize 2016 for his self-released album – Konnichiwa. To round the year off, on 2nd December 2016 Sketpa performed a homecoming show in North London’s Alexandra Palace. This was the biggest headline show in grime history and was streamed live globally by Apple Music reaching up to 120 countries.
With a sell-out crowd of 10,000 and a who’s who of UK grime on stage, LRI were there to produce the show with Skepta and his team.
The event was designed to showcase Skepta as a leading figure in UK music and to offer him a platform from which to show off his significant talent. The brief from Team Skepta included a burning car, pyrotechnics for high impact moments and the desire to create something truly outstanding.
Working with Skepta’s Creative Director Grace Ladoja, LRI were commissioned to look after all elements of live event production for Skepta. This included regular contact with Apple Music and selection of, and negotiation with, all production suppliers.
Tobias Rylander was selected as the key designer on the project, and his unique ability to manipulate light and video was integral to realising the vision of Skepta and his team. With stunning visuals created in three different countries, these were displayed on a variety of LED screens on the night to maximum effect.
One of the big challenges of the show was how to keep everything synchronised smoothly, and the decision was to use timecode to lock music and visuals together. This seemingly simple solution had an added complication as DJ Maximum had to keep control of the music and our audio team from Plus 4 Audio led by Mark Ballard designed a system that allowed timecode to be fired directly to lighting and video whilst control was kept on stage.
Creating bespoke effects such as a burning car was a key part of the brief and LRI worked with ForceFX on the design of this effect whilst also negotiating with Ally Pally (a venue that has burned down twice!) to show step-by-step how we intended to create this finale effect in a safe and controlled way. This led us to spend a cold Friday afternoon watching test burns with our safety team who were able to satisfy Ally Pally that we could safely raise a burning car up through the stage as the final sequence of the show.
Using over 252m2 of high resolution LED screen, more than 250 lighting fixtures, a 24m x 12m stage with built in hydraulic lift and a Vauxhall Vectra stripped back to a tin can with only a steering wheel, LRI helped to build a stage show that sounded clean and crisp, and looked like an arena-ready show while keeping the attention on Skepta.
LRI were chosen for this show because of “our clear communication throughout” and the fact we were “easy and fun to work with”. The show was visually stunning and fulfilled the brief to create a homecoming gig fit for the King of Grime.