From the farm: Off the farm for a Recycled Percussion concert

  • As foam floated down on husband Bruce and me during the shaving-cream dance, I decided attending two performances of “Redonkulous” in one day was just right. Maybe I'll try it again in a few weeks. CAROLE SOULE / For the Monitor

  • As foam floated down on husband Bruce and me during the shaving-cream dance, I decided attending two performances of “Redonkulous” in one day was just right. Maybe I'll try it again in a few weeks. CAROLE SOULE / For the Monitor

For the Monitor
Published: 9/17/2022 4:36:45 PM
Modified: 9/17/2022 4:36:04 PM

My chair vibrated to the beat of “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins while a platform (with the help of cables and pulleys) levitated over the stage. On the platform, two drummers pounded the beat while laser lights cut through smoke poofing from machines on stage. The theater vibrated with energy and light that made me feel like I was floating above the earth, carried there by the band’s vivacity. I was attending my second performance of “Redonkulous” by Recycled Percussion in one day. The second was just as thrilling 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’d heard about the band, founded by Spencer, a former Loudon resident, but I never attended a performance. Then Judy, my 72-year-old neighbor who had attended a concert, convinced me it would be fun. It was time to see the famous band that had performed in Las Vegas and now was only 15 miles from my farm at The Cake (Chaos And Kindness Experience), a church converted to a cozy theater in Laconia, New Hampshire. The seats were affordable, so I ordered one ticket for the afternoon show and two for the 7 p.m. show, with backstage passes.

If I like a play, I’ll see it twice, sometimes three times. For instance, I saw the “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” three times at Hatbox Theater in Concord. At each performance, I’d notice something new. That was sure to happen with “Redonkulous.”

After the first show, as I drove home to pick up my husband Bruce, I realized there were similarities between farming and the show.

The first was the egg-tossing exercise. Dressed as an egg, Justin staged a delightful egg-tossing game where one adult audience member tossed an egg to another adult standing on the other side of the theater. Sometimes the person caught the egg, and sometimes it smashed to the floor. As the audience laughed, yelled, and dodged eggs cracking all around, I remembered the teenagers who’d screamed with joy playing the same game at our farm’s summer camp. Fun is fun, whatever the age.

Eggs weren’t the only food smashed. During the last skit, Spencer performed the “Sledge-O-Matic” routine created and performed in the ’80s and ’90s by comedian Gallagher, who used a giant mallet to smash apples, oranges, and watermelons, splattering the audience with the fallout. When Spencer performed the same stunt with watermelon, I tasted the juice as bits 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 as the visitor shatters, just as Spencer did with the watermelon, giant pumpkins into cow-size bites, which they feed to the watching cattle. I thought only kids would like the smashing thing, but adults wanted to smash innocent pumpkins as much as the kids did. This time I was on the receiving end of the process, although just getting a tiny taste.

Recycled Percussion, just like the name suggests, often performs with discarded and outdated props. In their Emmy-winning skit, the band uses ’60s and ’70s toys like the electronic version of Simon Says, a slinky, and stilts which they used to create foot-stomping, body-wiggling music. One act included using blenders to perform “Satisfaction.” Who knew a blender could be a musical instrument

Before the second show, Bruce and I got a tour backstage, where a group of us met the band, including Quinn, Justin’s delightful wife, who was intrigued that this would be my second show that day while I was overwhelmed by the effort it took to the band perform two shows in one day.

Even though I was one member of an audience of over 150 people, the band somehow managed to make it personal – as though each performer cared about me. If you haven’t seen them even once, Recycled Percussion is at The Cake in Laconia until Nov. 25, but if you have seen them already, try a second time. I plan on going again, and maybe I’ll see you in the audience. I promise not to bring a cow with me. As much as Curious Bleu would love eating smashed watermelon, he might, with horns out to here, have trouble getting through the doors.

Carole Soule is the co-owner of Miles Smith Farm (milessmithfarm.com) in Loudon, N.H. She can be reached at carolesoule60@gmail.com. Carole writes a weekly column and is not a member of the ‘Monitor’ staff.




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