Last night, Shpongle celebrated the unofficial counterculture holiday with a show dedicated to creative expression and sensory stimulation.
For the 75th annual Bicycle Day Tour, the ambient techno project by Simon Posford of Shpongle curated a crew of visual artists, producers and other creatives to commemorate the psychedelic. For the last night of the tour in New Orleans, the artists showcased a menagerie of music and art at the Joy Theater. Support for the show included CharlestheFirst, local artist OTTO, and visionary legends Alex & Allyson Grey.
The theater was filled to the brim. Wide-eyed hippies in colorful parachute pants danced next to middle-aged men with blue ponytails and maxi skirts. All along the edges of the room, painters in action stood on display. As the night went on they brought their surreal, trip visions to life before the crowd. All the while the otherworldly, tribal bass sounds of the night thickened the smokey air.
Before CharlestheFirst‘s performance, Alex and Allyson Grey took the stage. As life-long partners and artistic collaborators, they have been working together for over 40 years. Through live paintings, art workshops, and massive installations, their work has circled the new-age scene for decades. They often speak to the desired transition from a singular, egocentric mindset to a more social, theological outlook.
During their speech, they proposed a holiday of their own: Sacred Mirror Day.
Named after an art series created and compiled by Alex Grey throughout the ’80s, Sacred Mirror Day is a suggested recognition of the interconnectedness of all beings through the 21 “sacred mirrors” of the body.
They touched on the opening of their new nonprofit temple space – the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors – and donation options to help with its construction. The Grey’s hope the space can be a haven of spiritual renewal through contemplation and art. They envision “a new type of sacred space with both a personal and a planetary perspective … a Chapel of transformative art that aligns the individual self: body, mind, and spirit, through contemplation.” The couple would return to the stage during Shpongle’s performance, continually dabbing at a painting that had sat completed onstage since the beginning of the night.
Without question Simon Posford’s performance was the highlight of the night. With LED assistance from Bassnectar’s former light technician, Michael Austin Smalley, it was a psychedelic showcase for the ages. Cartoon bikers rode across the screens, and the crowd never stopped moving. Posford’s performance ranged between bouncy, Eastern-tinged house to soupy, ambient tracks. Nothing was predictable, and all was crafted with care. With over 20 years of experience, Shpongle has perfected their kaleidoscopic vision – with a little help from their friends of course.
Check out Shpongle’s curated Bicycle Day playlist below:
Featured image by Alie Krohn.