Founded by multimedia artist Joshua White in 1967, the Joshua Light Show was a preeminent “liquid light show” effects operation—the house lightshow at Bill Graham’s legendary Fillmore East during its late-Sixties and early-Seventies heyday, where White’s troupe performed their distinctive, trippy visuals behind performances of the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Joplin, Hendrix and many more. (“Liquid light” refers to various techniques involving liquid dyes, slides, color wheels, film and projectors to create a kind of organic and fluid visual effect.)
After sporadic performances in recent years, the ten-piece collaborative (which includes composer and W researcher Nick Hallett) is now back for a four-night stand at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, collaborating with musicians including John Zorn, Lou Reed, Bill Laswell, Terry Riley, and Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT. It’s not hyperbolic to say that the combined effect of music and visuals can be truly mind-blowing—but be sure to stick around for a few minutes after each performance, when the curtain is raised (the Joshua Light Show performers themselves are generally unseen during these pieces) and you’re privileged with a glimpse of the method behind the madness.
Performances start tonight through September 16. For more information, head to joshualightshow.com.