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The XX perform one-off gigs at MIF with LS-Live staging

We undertook our debut stage set rental project for atmospheric indie pop band The XX in June for their series of special one-off performances at the Manchester International Festival. This biennial event that takes place over 18 days in venues across the city is known for showcasing original, creative new work and special events.

The XX performed a run of unique, intimate gigs for 60 people at a secret location under Victoria train station. Guests were told to go to a red door and descend beneath the ground where they were led through a series of corridors and tunnels beneath the station and into a dark room.

They were greeted with low ceilings and the band positioned in the middle of the room on a sunken stage. As they began to play, the ceiling gradually rose up to reveal a very tall space and images projected onto the walls.

Show designer Antony Randall, from Tour Support, approached us to build the entire stage set, incorporating the band and audience staging, and the truss ceiling above, which was automated by UK Rigging. We were able to provide a cost-effective rental package using our off-the-shelf, industry standard staging equipment.

One of our house stages was built in a configuration of 40’ x 40’ for the audience stage, which incorporated a central 20’ x 20’ area sunk 1’ below the audience where the band performed. The lightweight and quick assemble house stage is based on a LiteDeck stage system, complete with legs, handrails and step units.

Above the stage, a 40’ x 40’ white ceiling was created from our hire stock of truss in a square configuration, wrapped in white stretched joelastic material provided by J&C Joel.

Said LS-Live Director Ben Brooks: “We were pleased to be involved in such a unique event that gave the audience a very memorable experience. Antony Randall is a very good client of ours who knows we can design and build stage sets of high quality very quickly and efficiently because of our large hire stock of modular components and skilled crew.”

Massive Attack @ MIF

We were also involved in Massive Attack’s one-off shows at Manchester International Festival, where they combined live music with a politically charged film broadcast on giant projection screens in a disused warehouse for a highly unique gig experience.

The show was created by Adam Curtis and Robert Del Naja. The latter of the two designed and staged the production with UVA in collaboration with Es Devlin.


Production Manager Dave Lawrence booked two days for pre-production at our 17,664 sq ft rehearsal arena at the end of May. They needed a large and flexible space where they could work round the clock to construct the video screens. Although we weren’t the staging rental company on the project, the production team was able to make use of the on-site staging rental department to borrow some LiteDeck staging in order to visualise the end result before it went into the venue.

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