Mind Machine


Hi Pooter People,

Thanks for your great web-site!

I'd like to be added to your list of 60s Light shows.

The name of my group was Mind Machine, and we were based in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Our dates were Spring, 1966 to Summer, 1968.

(I see that there is a UK group who went by the same name, but there was no connection.)

I had attended the Trips Festival at the PNE Garden Auditorium in Vancouver with lights by Sam Perry, and was hanging out with my friend, Vancouver School of Art student Ivan Stenson, who had returned from a trip to California where he had seen the light shows at the Filmore.

I was working as a photographer for the Vancouver Real Estate Board. The two of us began preparing a show which Ivan hoped to put into the Afterthought.

Ivan and I did the shows with the help of Keith Light, David Harpine and other friends and volunteers. Ivan was dedicated to pure light effects using neon tubes, strobe light and rotating mirrors.

My part of the show was more image dependant, using multiple slide and overhead projectors superimposed on one screen and flickered at varying speeds. I also mixed in 16mm movie loops of natural phenomena. We also used the usual liquid projections on the side walls because of their ability to cover large areas with vibrant colour mixtures.

We did the lights at the Afterthought for almost a year, probably from the spring of 1967 to the summer of 1968. The bands that I remember doing shows for were: The United Empire Loyalists, The Seeds of Time, Painted Ship, Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck, and Country Joe and the Fish.

The Afterthought closed shortly after that and that the scene shifted to Dante's Inferno at Davie and Burrard and soon became the Retinal Circus.

Keith Light and I also did a big show at Kerrisdale Arena for Cliff Moore where the headliners were the Yardbirds.

That was such a big venue to light that I asked Doug to bring in his show to help us with one screen. One memory stands out over all the others from that show.

During the matinee performance, someone threw a sparkler into the circular screen above the Yardbirds heads. It caught fire and rained flaming vinyl and polyethylene onto the band. I couldn't find an extinguisher.

Thanks to some roadies who had the presence of mind to drop the screen and stomp out the flames.

Credit to the Yardbirds who kept on playing through it all. It was disappointing to have to do the evening show without the main screen.

John Bower - September 2009

Mind Machine Light Show

July 31st, 1967 Kerrisdale Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia