There was lightning on the horizon in Funkytown on Saturday, and the temptation was strong to hide out in front of the TV and wait till the storm passed. ArtsGoggle was happening, and there were bands all over Magnolia Avenue, but Saturday marked the end of Spoonfed Tribe's Kickstarter effort to raise more than $10,000 to fund the band's new album. To show its appreciation to the fans, the Tribe was throwing a free party at Lola's.
A lot of bands are going the crowd-sourcing route to fund projects now that the big industry record deal concept is all but dead. Under the crowd-source paradigm, the band puts up a page with how much money it needs to raise, and what it plans to do with it. Rewards are offered for donations at different levels, normally something like a free copy of a CD, or an autographed photo. But Spoonfed is not a normal kind of band.
For $200 you get a Skyped puppet show, for $350 a sock puppet of the band member of your choice. For $2,000, you get to cut lead singer Egg Nebula's hair onstage, and for five grand you get the band's tour bus. Nobody took the band up on the haircut or the tour bus, but the group easily surpassed the $10,000 it was going for. The new album will be coming soon.
Bands played throughout the day, but I got there just before Spoonfed was about to go on. Out on the huge back patio at Lola's there was a party in full swing, with a DJ, couples dancing and a little girl spinning a hula-hoop while a crowd cheered her on. Then we heard the thunder, this time from the stage, and everyone poured inside.
Spoonfed Tribe consists of Egg Nebula (drums, flute, vocals), Jerome 57 (drums, bass, vocals), Sho Nuff (guitar, vocals, drums), Kabooom (drums, vocals) and Goofahtts (drums, vocals). Tom Urquhart joined them onstage playing trombone.
Nebula once described the group's music to me as rhythmic therapy, and the guys have been practicing this therapeutic percussion since 1999. They have opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blues Traveler and even Galactic, but Saturday they were opening for a thunderstorm. As they started playing, the rain came down.
A Spoonfed concert is an experience, both sonically and visually. Egg had two microphones, one run through a dramatic-effects chain, and the other relatively clean. He would move between them while playing or vocalizing. Members of the tribe alternated between percussion and other instruments, and things changed from melodic to cataclysmic in a heartbeat. A projector painted the band and the back of the stage with moving, psychedelic images, while multicolored footlights illuminated everything in sync with the music.
Toward the end of the show, Lucas White (who just returned from backing James Hinkle in Europe) joined the party onstage, on drums, of course, because we only had five drummers up there and apparently needed more. The crowd was on its feet dancing until dangerously close to closing time. The rain broke as the house lights came on.