ADJ Jolt Panels Create Impact On Russell Dickerson’s Big Wheels & Back Roads Tour

Twenty of ADJ’s multifunctional Jolt Panel FX LED strobe / wash / blinder fixtures were utilized on country music artist Russell Dickerson’s recent US tour. Providing high impact blinder hits, vibrant color washes and dynamic ‘eye candy’ effects, the luminaires proved to be a perfect match for Dickerson’s energetic performances. Meanwhile, Production Designer Scott Cunningham was impressed by the units’ solid build quality, versatility, and affordability.

A force to be reckoned with in country music, Russell Dickerson’s career began with four consecutive US Country Airplay No. 1s. He has since released three albums, resulting in a further collection of hits, and developed an enviable reputation as a talented and entertaining live performer. Hitting twelve states across 15 dates, the Big Wheels & Back Roads Tour visited large theatres and arenas throughout the fall of 2023. While ensuring the focus always remained on Dickerson, his band, and the music fans had come to hear, the tour’s production was big enough to provide a fitting backdrop for the artist’s signature blend of epic country pop.

Experienced tour designer and longtime Russell Dickerson collaborator Scott Cunningham of Cut2Black Designs served as Production Designer for the shows. Programming was carried out by Scott working together with Luke Elrod, while the role of touring LD was filled by Nathan Augustyn. From the outset, Scott was clear that a strobe fixture had to feature in the rig and it soon became apparent that the Jolt Panel FX ticked all the right boxes.

“Russell is a very high impact show,” explains Scott, “so we knew we needed some kind of strobe and wanted to go with something that offered the versatility of both a pixel color wash and strobe/blinder in one fixture. Financially, the budget for motorized fixtures just wasn’t there. And, to be honest, we just didn’t need the tilt function! In fact, for most of the tours that I put motorized panels on, the tilt function isn’t a necessity. So, I had been hoping that someone would come out with a static version for a while. When Chuck [Dillingham of ADJ Rep Firm Freed Sales] showed me the Jolt Panel FX I was instantly impressed. The intensity blows other fixtures away and it has all the functionality but at a price that works for a lot of the smaller bus and trailer tours. For Russell, it was a really obvious choice, not just budget-wise, but because it was the perfect fixture for what we needed.”

Combining intensely bright while strobe LEDs and zone-controlled vibrant color mixing LEDs, the Jolt Panel FX delivers a huge amount of creative potential. It incorporates 48 x 5-Watt cool white SMD LEDs, surrounded on both sides by a total of 800 x 0.3W RGB SMD LEDs. Both types of LED are grouped into independently controllable zones (6 white and 40 color), allowing for the creation of eye-catching animated chase patterns. With dimensions of 6.3” (159.5mm) x 15.95” (405mm) x 9.85” (250.5mm) [L x W x H], the fixture is big enough to assert its presence within a lighting rig but compact enough to be easily setup and transported. The white LEDs are extremely bright and, when combined in a multiple of 48, generate truly intense strobe effects. A wide variety of vibrant color options can be achieved using the RGB LEDs through individual dimming control of the independent red, green and blue elements. Used as a single-color source, the fixture is capable of generating potent washes that cover a large area. Alternatively, through use of the zone control function, each independent block of LEDs can be controlled separately to allow for the creation of dynamic chases and other animated pattern effects.

“Because of the channels available on the touring console, we didn’t go full holy-moley 141-channel mode,” states Scott. “But we did have them in 81-channel mode, which gave us 20 segments of color as well as the six strobe segments. This allowed us to create a variety of different wipes and other pixel effects as well as using the fixtures to create big blinder looks and flood the stage with vibrant color. The color wash is great, the strobe/blinder hits are really intense, and the pixel mapping allowed us to make use of the panels almost all the way through the show.”

The majority of the Jolt Panel FX fixtures on the tour were rigged in four groups of four to upstage columns that interspersed sections of video wall. These units were used extensively as blinders, to provide back color wash to the stage, and for animated pixel effects. The final four fixtures were deployed on the stage itself, two at either side, to serve as side and scenic lights. Two units were positioned at each side of the stage to wash the band members while the remaining pair of fixtures illuminated two risers built into the set which were dressed to look like huge tires.

“I have been extremely impressed by the Jolt Panel FX’s durability,” concludes Scott. “For Russell’s tour, we had them loaded on set carts, riding in a truck, being used and abused each night and they proved to be rock solid. From a practical point of view, I also like the flexibility of having a yoke as well as an omega bracket mounting point on the back. Overall, I’ve been blown away by the durability, versatility and functionality of these fixtures and am sure that I’ll be using them for other future tours.”

Russell Dickerson’s Big Wheels & Back Roads Tour

Production Designer/Programmer
Scott Cunningham (Cut2Black Designs)

Associate Programmer
Luke Elrod

Lighting Director
Nathan Augustyn

Lighting Vendor
Integrated Production Solutions

ADJ Gear List
20 x ADJ Jolt Panel FX