Electric Freak Out Lights

See also Planet Om/The Eye


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.

So them, and of course Neil Rice, the biggest inspiration in all our years of doing Light Shows, Light Show guru, Gentleman and fellow Space Traveller, all hail Neil!!

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.

The band split up and the the lightshow became The Eye for a couple of gigs. The name Electric Freak out came when there were a couple of crazy sexy Go-Go dancers at one of the psychedelic club gigs we did, the music was amazing that night and the whole night was a bit of a freak out. So that's where the Electric Freak Out was born.

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!

Well I was but that's another story...)

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.

Electric Freak Out Light Show part 2 was myself (that's Beano) and Colin Constance, another tech wizard and fellow spacehead, Col made all the slides for our slide projections, made all manner of crazy contraptions like the Bubbleicious Machine, which was like an OHP sized Splodascope, and in fact made our very first trippy projector even before he joined the lightshow.

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.

We were very unprofessional when it came to behaving ourselves at gigs, I don't remember me or Rab doing any shows without a wee chemical or herbal "enhancer" or two, and one night at a gig in Edinburgh the main band were about to come on, I'd wandered off spaced, with the gig promoter running around looking for me. I was in the foyer, peeing on the carpet and head rolling a mirror, so I got flung out with my trousers at my ankles, missed the gig, and had to go back next day to collect the gear and apologise.

We managed to get Hawkwind's huge 8ft robot off them, the one they used onstage during their "Alien" tour (you can see it in the "Love In Space" live Hawkwind DVD).

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.

Our friend was woken up at the crack of dawn by hammering at his door. He looked out the spy hole to see police and ambulance people everywhere. He panicked and thought he was being raided. When he eventually opened the door, the police told him the elderly lady downstairs had looked out and seen this big sheet covered thing in the stairway, lifted up the sheet to see what it was, and saw a shop dummy's hand in amongst all the rusty machinery. She thought it was a dead body and almost had a heart attack. There were reporters there and it ended up in the papers. Thankfully the old dear lived to tell the tale.

By the time we did Electric Freak Out Light Show part 2 Rab had moved on and I'd given up droogs and dreenk, so it was a much more sensible (and boring) affair.

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.

I'd just like to say that all through the heyday of the Electric Freak Out Light Show, everything was held together and kept going and made possible by the legendary Rab Swift.

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.

This is for you Rab, we love you brother.

RAB SWIFT (1965-2019)

Beano Jameson - 2002 (Updated January 2021)

Electric Freak Out Light Show
Electric Freak Out Light Show
Electric Freak Out Light Show
Electric Freak Out Light Show
Electric Freak Out Light Show
Electric Freak Out Light Show
Electric Freak Out Light Show
Electric Freak Out Light Show
Electric Freak Out Light Show
Electric Freak Out Light Show
Electric Freak Out Light Show
Electric Freak Out Light Show
Electric Freak Out Light Show
Electric Freak Out Light Show