Concert series at the planetarium will offer four shows with lasers, local artists

Gongs, trippy lasers and local music will combine at the Peoria Riverfront Museum’s planetarium for a new summer concert series.

The first of four shows in the Deep Space Concert Series will kick off Saturday at 8 p.m. Every show will have a different artist and genre along with a special video/laser performance.

Jack Daleske, the museum’s learning coordinator, wants to move away from just Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin laser showers — even though he still loves to do them — and invite a variety of artists to perform an original show at the planetarium.

“We wanted to do something new, something unique with this series,” Daleske said.

According to Daleske, the videos and visual performances are a collaborative project between the riverfront staff and the artists. For Saturday's performance there will be three artists performing different acts.

Cory Flanigan will perform on gongs connected to a modular synthesizer. The gongs will be making laser shape representations connected to Bubba Ayoub’s, known professionally as Juggable Offence, hardware rig.

“I think they are just great instruments,” Flanigan said. His passion for gongs came after a meditation trip Flanigan took years ago. Flanigan has been performing percussion most of his life, and this will be his first time playing live with a visual representation.

“We will be interacting with the lasers during the performance,” Flanigan said. “Each gong vibration will sound differently based on the size of mallet you use. Each mallet has its particular signature.” Flanigan messed with the setup before and illustrated the light show he saw with oval shapes flowing over more oval shapes. The whole experience is likened to a psychedelic trip, according to Flanigan.

These visuals will be created by Bubba Ayoub during the performance, and he will provide some house music during intermission. Flanigan will play for about 30 minutes.

“It’s going to be really wild, trippy, fun and playful,” Ayoub said. Ayoub started as a light show artist after he felt like his time playing guitar made him a “boring” person. The light shows and laser orchestras were a way to make his performances more interesting.

“People cared about that more than any sound art that I made,” Ayoub said. Ayoub spends every day experimenting and configuring new light performances.

Ayoub likens the upcoming performance as nebulas exploding over liquid light. Flanigan mentions that the gong is a therapeutic tool.

“I hope they can brush off some of the dust on their psyche,” Flanigan said.

The third section of the performance will be done by John Drake, known as Suit & Tie Guy. Suit & Tie Guy’s music is contemporary electronica.

“We have done some live music at the museum before, but really not that much,” Daleske said. “If you think about it, live music is an art form that really gets people excited and brings them together.”

Daleske says the planetarium is the best venue for a concert because of the advanced projector and speaker system. The venue is small, dark, and intimate,and the acoustics will be good for live music, he said.

Tickets for Saturday’s performance are $15 for non-members and $10 for museum members and can be purchased at peoriariverfrontmuseum.org or by calling (309) 686-7000. Drinks will be available for purchase with ID.

The concert series continues July 13, Aug. 31 and Sept. 14. Upcoming artists performing will be The Golden Fleece, Pacific Garden and Kristen Ford, an artist from Nashville.