Electric Freak Out Lights
It was in 1987, when I wandered into the Blues Basement in Edinburgh and saw a local space rock band called Sponge. They had all manner of trippy projections, bubbles and swirly visuals all over the place. I'd never seen anything like it, and after that I was hooked and I thought "I want to do that".
Fruit Salad Light Show were our main influence, just about every spacey gig or event we went to back in the day, they were there, and they blew our mind enough to get our arses in gear and start doing trippy visuals too.
We've worked with Ozric Tentacles, Acid Mothers Temple, The Damned, Nik Turner's Space Ritual, the Wickerman Festival, the Swamp Room Happening in Germany, The Solar Flares, Legendary Pink Dots, MandraGora Lightshow Society, Baby Woodrose, Yucca Spiders, Big Boss Man, too many others to remember.
Also we were the in-house light show at the Go-Go psychedelic club in Edinburgh.
At the beginning we were first called Planet Om light show as Planet Om was our band at the time, we did music and projections.
In 1997, 10 years after that night when I saw Sponge and thought "I want to do that" (I'd been playing in bands over those ten years I wasn't just standing in some acid-fried trance for a decade!
From 1997-2003 the Planet Om - Eye- Electric Freak Out light show did its thing. Then 5-6 years later we resurrected it for a few more years.
It's now the Minds Eye Light Show and run by our good pal Ricky Toner.
Electric Freak Out was myself (that's Beano) and Rab Swift, our tech wizard, driver, solver of problems, and all round lighting genius who kept everything together and still found time to photograph the gigs (the good pictures are his, the crap ones are mine).
Rab went on to work for audio visual companies full time freelance. If you're ever at any large scale stadium gigs or events in Scotland and you see the huge LED screens, chances are Rab either built them or operated them.
Back in the Planet Om days he constructed a revolving swirling psychedelic pattern projection machine from a slide projector, a cinema projector lens and the insides from his Mum's rowing machine, with the psychedelic pattern from the outside of an old wage packet. Doesn't sound anywhere near as trippy as it actually looked. It was amazing, wish we'd kept it!
A Road Story:
On the way to the Swamp Room Happening in Germany, Rab got drunk on the ferry after half a pint as usual, bouncing about the ferry freaking out all the other passengers, and ended up getting flung in the Brig. On the ferry home it was the exact same crew and a lot of the same passengers, and we were in the bad books so we got made to sit in a crappy wee room on our own, on little plastic primary school chairs. I never let him live it down.
Anyway, me and Rab drove down to collect it from them. Spent a fantastic drunk and stoned night at Ron Tree and Mitzi's house (thank you for having us Mitzi).
Went to Dave Brock's farm to collect it the next day. It had spent the winter in an outside barn and looked like a bit of rusty farmyard machinery! Definitely not the big amazing robot we saw on stage with Hawkwind.
So we drove home with this huge rattling bit of rusty machinery in the back of the van. Eventually we got back to Edinburgh, just before midnight, and we started to realise we didn't have a clue what to do with this huge rusty monster we'd brought home with us.
Where were we going to keep it? It was pissing water and muck all over the van, no way I'd get to bring it into the house. So we phoned a friend and asked if we could keep it in his lockup til tomorrow, then we could figure something out. When we got there he was stoned and couldn't find his keys anywhere, so we carried this half a ton beast into the flats, stuck it in the stairway of his block of flats and flung a sheet over it, then went home to get some sleep.
I've told you about the slide projector/wage packet/rowing machine gizmo. That was our first ever bit of light show kit.
We started hiring Solar 250 projectors then eventually started buying or making our own gear, but it was mostly Opti Solar 250s, overhead projectors, liquids, bubble machines, strobes and slide projectors.
By the end of it we had four Solars left, two of them melted inside and burnt out thanks to lending them out to some arsehole who will remain nameless, which we restored, and a whole load of effects which Neil Rice donated to us when a load of our gear got nicked or wrecked at the Wickerman festival.
The gear was inherited by Ricky Toner when he took over the light show and it became the Minds Eye Light Show.
Unlike me Rab hated the spotlight and never wanted credit for any of it, he just wanted to get the gear up, do a great gig, chill out and enjoy the show then go home.
He never got the credit he deserved. Sadly we lost our brother and fellow space traveller Rab in 2019.
Gone far too soon and with so much still to offer the world, he's off in search of space and we look forward to seeing him again at the great gig in the sky.
Beano Jameson - 2002 (Updated January 2021)