The fuzzy, happy, pop-rock style of Sacramento’s Vasas pairs beautifully with the pulsating, colorful light show projected on the musicians in their most recent video for their song Pinholes.
The video was shot at a show at the Starlite Lounge in February using three iPhones. Aaron Zeff, one of the founding members of the group, edited all the recordings together to make this video.
Lance Gordon of Mad Alchemy is the man behind the colorful liquid visuals. He grew up in the Bay Area in the 1960s, where he learned the method of using dyes and projectors to create trippy light shows. He now lives in Lincoln and tours with bands providing analog visuals at concerts.
He took a break from light shows in the 1970s until the economy crashed and his photography business began to suffer.
“I ran into these young people in 2008 in Park City [Utah] and they just reminded me so much of people I grew up with,” explained Gordon. This got him thinking about doing what he did when he was young. He was tired of his corporate job and wanted to give his art a chance. So he started traveling with bands. He now works with two other people to operate between five and eight projectors at a time.
When he first got back in lighting game he met resistance from venue owners who saw the practice as dated.
“But people under 30 going to these shows were really intrigued, and that’s what keeps me going,” he said.
Gordon uses a mineral oil and rubbing alcohol with liquid dye and transparent ink to create a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes on a glass plate projected onto the performers. He moves the plate to the rhythm of the music, keeping a close eye on what the drummer is doing.
“I’m kind of like a jazz drummer – I improvise. I’ve done this so much I kind of know where most songs are going.”
You can catch an eight-project Mad Alchemy show in San Fransisco on May 22 at Brick and Mortar Music Hall. You can catch next Vasas at the Press Club on April 26.