Friday night will certainly not be the first time Jacob Gardner and his Raw
mates will be taking the stage at The White Rabbit Cabaret -- nor will it be
their first night of demolishing eardrums with a wall of piercing psychedelic
sound. It will, however, mark the band's first time playing the rock 'n'
fundraiser known as Tonic Ball.
the event's 13th installment, 60 local bands and 270 musicians will
come together to pay tribute to Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks, Velvet
Underground/Lou Reed and Nirvana/Foo Fighters. Taking place at four Fountain
Square venues (Radio Radio, the Fountain Square Theatre, The White Rabbit
Cabaret and The Hi-Fi), all proceeds from Tonic Ball 13 will once again be
donated to Second Helpings, a local charity
dedicated to feeding people in need.
Evan Finch, right seen playing the 2013 Tonic Ball, will cover the Velvet Underground at White Rabbit with the reunited Lovemeknots.
their set at The White Rabbit Cabaret, Raw McCartney will perform "a very
weird, drawn out, spacey" 15-minute version of the Velvet Underground's "Venus
in Furs," according to Gardner. In speaking to why they chose to perform at
Tonic Ball for the first time ever this year, he reflects, "We just wanted to
use the opportunity to do something different as a band." In truth though,
newcomers to the Ball, such as Raw McCartney, are just what organizers of the
event were hoping for.
some of the younger talent was definitely something we were focusing on, to
keep the event fresh and to keep a wide range of people interested in coming to
the show," explains Tonic Ball committee member Scott Watson. "I think if the bill kind of remains the same
40 bands every year, it gets a little stale, so you've gotta
keep things fresh. Plus some of the older bands are getting old, and they're
going to stop playing, so we've gotta get young blood
in now -- show them how cool of an event it is and hopefully rope them in for the
Bonesetters, seen here at the Indy CD & Vinyl Record Store Day 2014 stage, will play at Radio Radio's Nirvana stage.
are another one of the younger acts performing at this year's Tonic Ball. After
a positive experience in 2013, the group returns to the Tonic stage for the
second time, playing a set of Nirvana tunes at Radio Radio
this time around. Lead singer/guitarist
Dan Snodgrass remembers what originally attracted his band to the event in the
"I would see things about Tonic Ball all the time and the bands
they would pull for it," Snodgrass says. "It always seemed like a fun thing to
support a good cause. What could be better than playing a great show alongside
so many great local acts for a cause that affects someone's life in my
Brian Deer also recalls being
drawn to the Tonic Ball cause when he was asked to play the first-ever
fundraiser back in 2002. Since then, he's been involved with nearly every one
since, witnessing the event's growth firsthand. The Indy music veteran
reflects, "I love
that it's grown into what it is. It started out with just a few bands at Radio Radio, and then it's grown exponentially over the years. I
just feel like the level and quality of the people playing the shows has grown.
This year, it seems like there are a lot of newer bands that are involved as
well. It's always great to see that evolution." In examining the event's
expansion since its humble start over a decade ago, Watson believes Tonic
Ball's progress over the years has evolved naturally.
got such a good past now that the growth has really just been so organic," he
says. "We really haven't done anything that outlandish to make the show
Brian Deer has played guitar and sung in almost every Tonic Ball in a variety of bands.
its longtime participants such as Deer that have served as the foundation for
Tonic Ball's development. Watson explains, "They help provide a solid base, and it lets us
experiment a little bit more -- like adding new talent and that kind of thing."
With the participation from these old-timers and newcomers alike, Tonic Ball 13
will mark the event's biggest year yet -- not only putting joy in the hearts of
countless music fans, but also food on the plates of countless Hoosiers in
going to raise the most funds we've ever raised, which, in the end, is what
it's all about," Watson concludes.
Bio: Since high school, Seth Johnson has been drawn to telling compelling stories through the lens of journalism. A 2013 graduate from Ball State University’s News program, he has especially discovered a love for music journalism, particularly connecting to local music stories in an effort to enlighten others on Indianapolis’...Since high school, Seth Johnson has been drawn to telling compelling stories through the lens of journalism. A 2013 graduate from Ball State University’s News program, he has especially discovered a love for music journalism, particularly connecting to local music stories in an effort to enlighten others on Indianapolis’ many artistic offerings.more