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Eye Gate II will Psychedelicize Your Show.

November 15, 2011

Text by Brendan Menapace.

Light shows add a lot to the aesthetic of a concert – the bright colors and strobe lights flying across the stage and through the crowd make the experience of a show even more enjoyable. But light shows have become, well, common.

“When you go to a show, the maximum of what you’re going to see is some colored lights, maybe some fog, and a screen with some lasers on it,” says Andrew Baker, one of the members of Eye Gate II, a projection lighting team.

How about going one step further, Baker asks. How about projecting old educational films or colored oils that make the walls look like a giant lava lamp?

That’s exactly what Eye Gate II does.

After forming in Athens, Georgia under the name Eye Gate, some of the members relocated to Philadelphia. They’ve continued the style, doing shows for local bands in Philly like Da Comrade! and Gondola at venues like Bookspace and PhilaMOCA.

Most of the film reels, Kodakchrome slides and overhead projectors were salvaged from old schools, thrift stores and yard sales. The Eye Gate II team splash light and imagery behind bands, creating what they refer to as a “live painting.”

They create a tailor-made experience meant to enhance the crowd’s experience.

“We feed off of how they’re responding,” says Wes Kays-Henry, one of the members who moved from Georgia.

They’ll go from atomic bomb explosions to butterflies flying through a field of flowers, to straight up psychedelic bubble movements, and sometimes everything at once.

“It’s such an improvised thing with the music,” says team member Brian Kelly. “Sometimes when you’re watching it, things tend to just go perfectly with the music.”

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