My chair vibrated to the beat of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight” as a platform (using cables and pulleys) levitated above the stage. On the platform, two drummers beat the rhythm while laser lights cut through the smoke from the machines on stage. The theater vibrated with an energy and a light that gave me the impression of floating above the earth, carried there by the vivacity of the group. I attended my second performance of “Redonkulous” by Recycled Percussion in one day. The second was just as exciting as the first, except this time, instead of sitting on the balcony, I was four rows from the stage, close enough to feel the power and intensity of performers Justin Spencer and Recycled Percussion.
For years I had heard of the band, founded by former Loudon resident Spencer, but never attended a gig. Then Judy, my 72-year-old neighbor who had been to a concert, convinced me it would be fun. It was time to see the famous band that had performed in Las Vegas and were now just 15 miles from my farm at The Cake (Chaos And Kindness Experience), a church turned into a cozy theater in Laconia, New Hampshire . Seats were affordable, so I ordered one ticket for the afternoon show and two for the 7pm show, with backstage passes.
If I like a play, I will see it twice, sometimes three times. For example, I saw “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” three times at the Hatbox Theater in Concord. With each performance, I noticed something new. It was sure to happen with “Redonkulous”.
After the first show, as I was driving home to pick up my husband Bruce, I realized there were similarities between farming and performing.
The first was the egg throwing exercise. Dressed as an egg, Justin held a delightful egg toss game where an adult audience member tossed an egg to another adult standing on the other side of the theater. Sometimes the person grabbed the egg, and sometimes it crashed to the ground. As the audience laughed, screamed and dodged the cracking of eggs all around, I remembered the teenagers who had squealed with joy while playing the same game at our farm’s summer camp. Fun is fun, regardless of age.
Eggs weren’t the only mashed foods. During the final skit, Spencer performed the “Sledge-O-Matic” routine created and performed in the 80s and 90s by comedian Gallagher, which used a giant mallet to smash apples, oranges and watermelons, splashing the public with the fallout. . When Spencer performed the same stunt with watermelon, I tasted the juice as chunks of fruit rained down from the stage into the audience. The experience brought back another farm scene.
Farm visitors bring unwanted pumpkins to Miles Smith Farm every November to feed my Scottish Highlander cattle. The cattle will watch the visitor smash, just like Spencer did with the watermelon, giant pumpkins into cow-sized bites, which they feed to the watching cattle. I thought only kids would like to smash, but adults wanted to smash innocent pumpkins as much as kids. This time I was on the receiving end of the process, even though I only had a small taste of it.
Recycled percussion, as the name suggests, often works with discarded and obsolete accessories. In their Emmy-winning skit, the band uses toys from the 60s and 70s like the electronic version of Simon Says, a slinky, and stilts which they used to create music that taps their feet and moves their bodies. One act included using mixers to perform “Satisfaction”. Who knew a blender could be a musical instrument
Before the second show, Bruce and I had a backstage tour, where a group of us met the band, including Quinn, Justin’s lovely wife, who was intrigued that this was my second show that day- there while I was overwhelmed with the effort it took the band to perform two shows in one day.
Even though I was part of an audience of over 150, the band managed to make it personal, like every performer cared about me. If you haven’t seen them once, Recycled Percussion is at The Cake in Laconia until November 25, but if you’ve already seen them, try a second time. I plan on going back, and maybe I’ll see you in the audience. I promise not to bring a cow with me. As much as Curious Blue would love to eat crushed watermelon, he might, with horns here, have trouble getting through doors.
Carole Soule is co-owner of Miles Smith Farm (milessmithfarm.com) in Loudon, NH. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Carole writes a weekly column and is not a member of the ‘Monitor’ team.