Franti, Freaks, and Physics: Michael Franti & Spearhead at Revolution Live, Halloween
Radiant energy, or electromagnetic energy, is a term typically used to describe radiation when it is emitted by a source and absorbed by the surrounding environment. The exchange of photons can materialize in ways that can be visible or invisible to the human eye. And ever since Michael Franti & Spearhead's flight landed at Miami International Airport on Tuesday, the State of Florida has been doused with endless waves of positivity and humanity.
After a volunteer performance for the kiddos over at All Children's Hospital in Saint Petersburg as part of Franti's Do It for the Love initiative to bring music to those who can't necessarily make it to a show themselves, and before heading a yoga fundraiser event in Orlando (100 percent of proceeds go to the cause), Michael Franti & Spearhead treated Fort Lauderdale to a much-needed dose of that electricity last night with their All People tour.
Serena Ryder, who has been touring with Spearhead for the past month of the tour, took the stage around 10 p.m., after some weird promotion in which plastic cups were launched at the heads of audience members. Some were spared, as furry devil horn headbands cushioned the impact that Halloween night. Others were entirely oblivious to the impact, given that the feeling was absorbed entirely by their wigs or polyester costume accessories. What was in the cups, no one will ever know. Actually, a lot of people probably know, but not this humble reporter. If you wear glasses, you're keen to dodging airborne promotional tools.
Ryder is neat. She stands all of about five feet tall or maybe a few inches more. She belted out an a cappella version of "Melancholy Blues" in the dark and with all the drama a tiny Canadian vocal powerhouse can muster. Her songs are bluesy and poppy, and it is hard not to like her.
Between Ryder and Spearhead, there was a good amount of handclapping demanded by the performers, as well as a lot of audience checkpoints. "How ya feelin'?" is a Franti staple. Once the costumed crowd got a sample of it for the first time, the stage flooded with band members. It was apparent that the time for positive mental attitudes had only begun.
Franti burst out onto the stage in a skeleton suit, tended to by stagehands in coordinating attire. The energy was so high at one point that the guys running around swapping guitar after guitar were grooving out onstage with the band, until one of them couldn't take it anymore and, overwhelmed with the spirit of PMA, jumped into the crowd for a surf on the magical wave of magnetism, only to be met by a group of people who obviously have no idea what a crowd surfer actually is. This was a crowd for the books, man -- parting like the red sea, allowing skeleton stagehand man to fall full force and face-down into the gnarly booze-stained floor of the venue.