All across Canadian social networks over the past couple of days, photos of rainbow-coloured, illuminated bracelets have started popping up. Well, you can thank British sensation Coldplay for these 21st-century glow sticks. They are part of the band’s Mylo Xyloto tour, which is currently glowing across North America but, more specifically, you can thank British Coldplay fan and inventor Jason Regler.
Check out the wristbands in action on The X-Factor:
The Xyloband, as it is known, is worn by concert-goers and blinks in time with the music. It has been a staple in Coldplay performances since October 2011. You may have seen the contraption in action at the 2012 Grammy Awards or in the video for "Charlie Brown" but according to an interview with Regler on Coldplay.com, who conceived the invention when seeing the band as a fan performing their song “Fix You” at Glastonbury in 2005, there was a chance the bracelets weren’t going to work out at all.
“We had a product that was untried and untested,” said Regler. “We knew what we thought it could do, but we had to put it on stage with Coldplay at this huge YouTube show [Madrid Unstaged] and hope that it worked. Everyone said we were mad. The wristbands only arrived in Madrid on the morning of the show in a van which had brought them overnight from the U.K. the minute they landed there from China. So it was a really scary night, but it worked.”
It was a curious bit of technology that we wanted to see for ourselves, so when the band made its Vancouver stop CBC Music went to investigate.
Check out our photo gallery of Coldplay live at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena above
Upon entering Rogers Arena, every single audience member (note: Rogers Arena holds 19,000 people and the band played two nights) was handed a bracelet with a plastic fob in the centre of it, from a Rubbermaid garbage can filled to the brim.
It wasn’t until the third song of the set, “In My Place,” that the audience discovered what this concert keepsake was intended for. At a particularly charged moment of the song, all of the bracelets lit up and flickered in time with the music. People’s reaction to this was like finding out they had a super power: stunned look at the wrist, delighted scream and fist pump.
According to Regler, the device’s blinking is controlled by radio frequencies and, while this effect isn’t so impressive with one bracelet, when you gaze upon a sea of rainbow-coloured lights it is quite magical. The effect isn’t quite as nostalgically romantic as holding up a Bic lighter but it is much cooler than hoisting your cellphone.
Catch Coldplay in California later this month or when they return to play Toronto and Montreal in July. For more tour dates head to Coldplay.com.
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