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2 11, 2015

Gorgeous Stage Design for Alice in Chains

By |November 2nd, 2015|Clients, Projects|1 Comment

This is an oldie – but never ceases to be a goodie.  Here’s a review of the gorgeous and flexible stage design that was put together by Mike Baldassari of MIKE-O-MATIC Industries, LLC.  All images by Iron Mike Savoia.

More often than not, the elegance of a stage design is as much in what is NOT there as in what IS there.  This stage design for Alice In Chains was one that embodied flexible simplicity – and offered the benefits of “big” looks as well as “in the moment personal” scenes with the band’s musicians.  In the image below, we see how the intelligent lighting supplies the scene – and the Metal Mesh artist backings draw the concertgoers’ attention down to stage level.  The bold lighting in a gripping range of colors brings us excitement without being overpowered. Keeping the lighting away from the upstage drapery brings our attention forward and closes down the space for an intimate and mood filled look at the artists.

In contrast – we see now that the silver drizzle kabuki drapes have dropped from their hidden truss-line diapers – and now are a reflective surface perfect for gobo and image projection.  By shifting to flood lighting style and bold color washes, we now have a grand stage scene that is both wide and tall.  Bringing lighting to the dramatic red swagged border at the downstage edge of the stage salutes theatre design of the golden era.  Suddenly we are looking into a performance area with the look and feel of a traditional theater proscenium.


Using live projection onto a non typical surface such as the silver drizzle gives the opportunity for endless unique and textural looks and scenes.  Here we see the band projected in bold exaggeration behind the players on the stage.  Stepping away from the overused looks of IMAG screens and LED image walls – this is an old school look with almost a vintage “home video show” feeling to it.  Changing between live video feed and preset graphics offers a visual kaleidoscope that compliments – rather than distracts – from the artists on stage.


Never underestimate the power of a silhouette – it will always thrill the audience to see just a “hint” of what’s to come. In a spellbinding display of larger than life silhouettes and live convert sounds, the silk kabuki scene added a WOW moment.  Especially when the kabuki drape dropped – revealing the artists themselves in the flesh.



15 02, 2011

Rockin’ Clients – Alice in Chains

By |February 15th, 2011|Clients|0 Comments

This is number 4 in my “Rockin’ Clients” series.  I am finding it really interesting to learn about the artists that we work with.  Most of the time, my focus is on the custom stage curtains and other soft goods that we make for the clients, but I may know very little about the background of the artists.  I hope that blog readers are enjoying learning about them as much as I am!

Alice in Chains began in the late 1980s / early 90s as part of the grunge movement in Seattle.  Formed by lead guitarist Jerry Cantrell and the late Layne Staley (lead vocalist), the band incorporates elements of grunge, heavy metal and acoustic into the band’s sound.  After recording several demos, the band was signed by Columbia Records in 1989.

The band’s first album, Facelift, was released in August 1990.  While it had limited success initially, MTV airplay of the video “Man in the Box” boosted album sales, and the album went gold by the end of the year.  The success of  Facelift propelled the band, and their second album, Dirt, went platinum and remained on the charts for close to a year.  They also released several EPsincluding Jar of Flies, which debuted at number 1 on Billboard (the first and only EP to do so). 

By 1994, Alice in Chains was experiencing difficulties, primarily due to the drug problems of founder/lead vocalist Layle Staley.  Though they did release the self-titled Alice in Chains in 1996 and play live concerts sporadically, Staley’s drug issues made it increasingly difficult for the band, and little original music was produced or released over the next six years.

Following Staley’s death in 2002, the remaining members of Alice in Chains remained on hiatus from the band, pursuing solo work and other pursuits.  In 2005, the band reunited to perform a benefit concert and other live and televised events, including reunion tours, adding William DuVall on vocals in 2006.  Black Gives Way to Blue, the band’s fourth studio album, was released in 2009.

The band has toured steadily in the late 2000s, reporting on its website in December 2010 that it had played “150 live shows in the past 16 months.”

We made some really interesting custom stage curtains in 2010 for Alice in Chains, including several silver kabukis and some metal mesh pieces.  There are some great photos and videos on this blog, if you want to check them out.

25 02, 2010