With live events at a slow trickle, those venues that have been able to open up, albeit with restrictions, are elated and generally selling out. Madlife Stage & Studio, a 284-capacity live music venue and recording studio in Woodstock, Georgia, which like other live venues in the U.S. was forced to close earlier in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reopened in late July with a delighted staff, eager public and a full lineup of acts on the schedule.
“Madlife reopened over a month ago at half capacity as one of the few places around holding live events,” said local lighting designer Caleb McClesky, who often helps at the venue, supporting house LD Brendon Rosenbaum and frequently supplementing the house rig with his own Elation lighting gear. “Patrons have to sit at tables so everyone is socially distanced. Staff is required to wear masks and the venue is sanitized between shows. It’s been nice to be back, for everyone, and the majority of shows have been selling out.”
Caleb says that from a young age, when attending shows he was always looking up in the rig to see what type of lighting was being used to get ideas for what might be good to purchase. “When out on the road or vacationing on a Royal Caribbean cruise, I’d see Elation gear and always asked the lighting staff how they were. I’ve always heard great things about their reliability, even out at sea, and the weather toughness. I’ve always been impressed with the quality of the Elation products.”
When Caleb started designing lighting for a local Atlanta band, GLOW, he began to buy Elation gear to improve their stage presence, eventually acquiring Platinum Spot 5R Pro™ and Platinum Spot III™ moving heads. “I did the band’s lighting for seven years,” he says. “At some point, one of the band members knew of a new venue opening up so I asked them if they needed help with the lighting and they said absolutely. I started helping out at Madlife, bringing in my own Elation gear and eventually they started expanding and bringing in more acts.” Madlife Stage & Studio has been open now for about four years and since reopening have hosted a number of live shows including Eagles and Pink Floyd tribute bands and many more.
Madlife’s permanent lighting rig includes Elation Colour Pendants™, versatile color-changing LED wash light pendants used for full-venue atmosphere changes, along with other lighting gear and Antari hazers. For bands like the Eagles and Pink Floyd tribute bands, Caleb adds his own Platinum Spot 5R Pro and Platinum Spot III moving heads to the mix to raise the production level a notch or two. “We usually place the Platinum Spot 5R Pros on stage for backlighting and side lighting,” he says. “Especially with the CMY mixing and frost filter you can get a nice wide wash from behind or from the sides. The Platinum Spot IIIs we have at the corners of the stage for punch effects or we can dim them back for slower songs. They add a nice look to the rig and give the overall feel a more professional quality.”
Madlife is committed to presenting and preserving live music. The intimate venue, which also serves superb food, is hosting live music across genres as well as other entertainment, several times weekly with a full schedule of events that extends well into the New Year. The concert-quality music venue also has a patio stage and professional recording studio, and even offers live-streamed concerts for music lovers who would rather stay at home.