The Big Top

July 06, 2005

There was a yellow school bus parked outside The Big Top Wednesday afternoon. It's taking ten bands and 34 people from Plan It X Records on a Punk tour around the country.

The record label from Bloomington, IN, is a benefit label that donates money to the Pages to Prisoners Project. According to Plan It X Records, "the Pages to Prisoners Project exists to promote reading, self-education, social equality, and social welfare through increased accessibility to literature and workshops--and the promotion of a community to support these projects." So, the gist is that prisoners can request certain reading material for no charge. On the sidewalk outside The Big Top one of a few booths was manned by bus-goers present to educate concert-goers about the project.

The Plan It X Fest, which showcased twelve bands, was organized by local concert producer Bryan Funk. Thanks to Funk, local Pop/Rock group the Robinsons got on the bill, and they went on second at 6:30. About a hundred or so young people huddled in front of the Robinsons. They played in front of the back wall, which was a great idea. It may take more time to clear things out of The Big Top beforehand this way, but the floor-as-stage set-up gave Ghostwood more room than if they had been in the box/stage at stage left.

The Robinsons broke up a few years ago, but they did one show yesterday to commemorate the release of a double disc discography that chronicles nearly every song they ever recorded, according to Funk.

The band members handed out inflatable guitars and beach balls before the concert. They told the people they could play along with the real guitars. At this point, it was obvious the Robinsons were more lighthearted and sillier than the previous local Punk group, Ghostwood. I hate to sound old, but the beach ball that floated around the room during the songs was a distraction. How'm I supposed to focus on the music when I have to worry about whether the ball is coming my way? I don't need that kind of pressure in my life.

The Robinsons played anguished yet bouncy songs about love. The sound of a 17 year-old crush wrapped up. You know you're old when bands start ripping off groups that started coming up when you were in high school: Weezer. The Robinsons sounded very much like Weezer, but you could also say Weezer sounds like a combo of KISS, The Beach Boys, and The Cars. Everyone rips off everyone to an extent. That's the name of the game. The Robinsons mixed up nerdy, sensitive, and rocker cool voices well. Just like another band. What's that band's name? Starts with a W.

Unfortunately, The Robinsons' songs weren't as enjoyable as Weezer's. Not quite the punch, and they lacked memorable songs. The kids stuck around and seemed to like it, though.

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