Tonight Spring Weekend at my college kicks off with a performance from Recycled Percussion. For those of you who have never heard of them, they’re kind of like Stomp meets rock band. They use ladders, garbage cans and pails in lieu of an actual drum kit while a DJ spins and a guitarist strums. They performed at my school last year and blew my mind. Here’s my firsthand account of last year’s show.
Recycling Never Looked So Hot (orginally posted on Ace Avenue – 4/4/08)
Buckets. Trash cans. Ladders. Crates. These are a few of Recycled Percussion’s favorite things.
From videos I saw on YouTube, I knew RP’s March 26th Man vs. Machine show at Iona College was going to be good as I settled into my seat at 9:15 PM. The show was scheduled to start 15 minutes later, but in Iona time 9:30 means 10:00. I didn’t mind the wait. A mix of hip hop and rock from years past blasted from the speakers. My favorite pre-show moment was the audience sing-along to Three Day Grace’s I Hate Everything About You.
After a shadow on the stage struck the first few chords of The Star Spangled Banner Hendrix-style, the band was in business. The guitarist was soon joined onstage by a DJ in blue and two drummers, one of whom garnered the most attention for not wearing a shirt, showing off a great set of abs. I donned him “Abs” until a voice from the speakers called him Justin Spencer.
The band drummed the hell out of a medley of hits including Wipeout, Greenday’s American Idiot, and the Sir Mix-a-Lot classic Baby Got Back. The visuals of the show were amazing, and I’m not just talking about a certain someone’s abs.
Each member of the group got their moment in the spotlight. In one set DJ Pharaoh and guitarist Jim Magoon got down from their platforms and joined Spencer and Ryan Vezina on “drums” down below. In another set Spencer beatboxed while Pharaoh did a little break dancing. Then Spencer did another set in which he played the drums while his feet were on them.
After this set it was time to bring out the ladders. Spencer and Vezina climbed up and jumped off ladders all the while playing them like a drum kit. Upon seeing a video I took of this, my mom who has a fear of heights replied, “I would never go on a ladder like that.”
In the following set, sparks flew … literally. Clad in welding helmets and armed with chainsaws, Spencer and Vezina went metal to metal as the Murphy Auditorium crowd went wild.
The set seemed like the grand finale until Pharaoh told everyone to come to the stage. It was mosh pit time as the boys went out with a bang playing Blink 182’s All the Small Things. I got a great spot right in front, but unfortunately I was right next to the speaker for the whole song. My ears were still ringing three hours later, but it was all worth it as I was the owner of the last hand “Abs” touched as he exited the stage.
After the show RP signed autographs. While some had them sign posters, CDs, stolen drumsticks, and limbs (I took note of a “I’m never washing my hand again” as I made my way through the crowd), I had the guys sign my camera case. DJ Pharaoh in his fierce Sienna Miller tee said it was “cute.” Magoon shook my hand and thanked me for coming. To my delight, the last person to sign my case was Abs. I asked him what the mysterious tattoo on his back I spotted every time he turned around was. As it turned out, the tattoo would remain a mystery as Abs told me the letters were “ESNTR”, all the guys in the band have it, the meaning is a secret, and “that’s a common question.”
After a great night of music that allowed me to blow off some mid-week, post-Spring Break steam, I was suddenly inspired to play drummer as I waited for my taxi. I stood on North Ave., pen in hand banging a green post in front of the college to the beat of the ringing in my ears.
Taxi ride … $5. A 30 second conversation with Abs … priceless.
Feast your eyes on this: