Acid Rain Light Show formed in 1974 when I noticed all the light shows had disappeared.
Not wanting to see this distinctly Twentieth Century art form become extinct, I started to assemble my own. Performed for decades in the Vancouver, British Columbia area mostly at underground events. Knowing no one who had done light shows, we had to figure things out for ourselves.
Couldn't do liquids for at least the first decade , so developed a slide and movie-based show, which, when the liquids were added in the Eighties, became our state of the art for years.
In 2000, I, and so the light show, moved to Victoria on Vancouver Island. In 2010 I met Max Andersen, who was running a B&B in Victoria. In the late Sixties Max had run Ectoplasmic Assault Light Show in Vancouver, which had been one of the two resident shows at the Retinal Circus, the city's psychedelic ballroom.
Besides that, Ectoplasmic Assault backed many major rock acts coming through Vancouver and virtually all the local bands. At our first meeting he gifted me some dyes to colour oil. Then, less than a year later, when he retired and was going to move to Mexico (where he now runs a B&B), he asked me if I would like what he had left from his light show days. It was a huge boost. There are still gadgets I haven't figured out the use of.
Acid Rain can vary in size from just myself to three people, and lately we have had four. Our usual set-up consists of two 16mm movie projectors, three Kodak Carousel slide projectors, two over heads and an oil wheel projector. Lately we have added a second station with one slide projector and one oil wheel projector.
Improvisation is key to what we do and seems to be the way the best combinations come up.
Here's a story...
We were doing a gig with a band called Crazy Fingers in an old theatre in the skid row section of Vancouver. A slide came up that I had taken of rain puddles on blacktop. A car had leaked gas so each little droplet was a different colour. The black background didn't show up so there were just these coloured globes. We removed any other slides and took off the movies, letting the liquids guy improvise over the unmoving blobs.
After a few minutes some of our friends came up to the balcony-you can guess their state-and asked how were we doing that? I think they might have been disappointed it was something so simple.
Not to say the movies and liquids are anything but important. Until the National Film Board of Canada phased out the 16mm part of their lending library, they were our main source. Since then we have acquired a few old N.F.B. films, plus old cartoons and weird stuff.
The underlying philosophy of Acid Rain Light Show is to try (but we'll never mange) to show what one sees with their eyes closed when they are high.
Over the years Acid Rain has worked with about a half dozen Grateful Dead tribute bands, other Vancouver area stoner bands, several reconstituted Vancouver Sixties bands (Waves, United Empire Loyalists, Hydro-electric Street Car, Brain Damage), and even a couple of punk bands. Names you might have heard of would be Wavy Gravy, The Country Joe Band and Eric Burden and the Animals.
Acid Rain has a Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/AcidRainLightShow
Greg Evans - 2003 (Updated August 2020)
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