Indianapolis’ Pushing Daisy's Band will take the Riverwalk stage Saturday, Aug. 28, bringing their mix of psychedelic jam music and ‘70s funk to Kokomo.
The band recently released their first album, “Psychedelic Funk from Outer Space,” and are currently on a tour that spans the region. Last weekend they performed at the Summer Camp Music Festival in Illinois alongside acts like Here Come the Mummies, Ween, Umphrey’s McGee and moe.
The band began in Indianapolis in 2014 with the various members playing talent shows, said guitarist and vocalist Max Heyob. As they entered college they grew more serious and began crafting their own original songs. The current six-man lineup has been together for nearly three years.
“Since then we’ve got into the full improvisational aspect of live music and solidified our sound with the sort of funk rock and psychedelic energy you hear on the album,” Heyob said.
Each of the six members brings a unique musical taste to the band, and while the underlying layer of their sound is solid psychedelic jam music, on top of that listeners can hear influences such as George Clinton or the percussion of Latin and Caribbean music.
When it came to recording the album the band booked Indianapolis’ Postal Recordings in December 2019 and had a selection of songs prepared when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“Once COVID hit we took a step back and reevaluated everything,” Heyob said. “A lot of those songs didn’t even end up being on the album. COVID — in a dramatic way and somewhat dark way— became an inspiration for us writing wise. That allowed us to just experiment and explore in the practice room because we weren’t really going to be showing anyone these songs. Or playing out these songs for a long time.”
COVID is a theme that runs throughout the album but is never more inherent than on the first song, “Personal Space”. “I just want to hold your hand every day,” Heyob sings. “But for now you’ll stay six-feet away.”
COVID also brought the challenge of keeping their name out in the local music world. It’s already difficult to be noticed in a busy music scene like Indianapolis, but being locked away from a live audience doesn’t help. During the lockdown the band saw a Connecticut group of jam rockers named Goose were performing drive-in concerts and recording the shows to post online. This inspired Pushing Daisy's Band to make their own videos. Bassist Mark Stinnett made several animated shorts, and they also uploaded song breakdowns and acoustic versions and watched as their social media following increased.
Heyob credits COVID-19 for at least giving them an opportunity to sit down both as a collective and as individuals and focus on mastering the ideas they wanted to bring to life on the album and onstage.
Now Pushing Daisy's Band is back to live shows and ready to perform for Kokomo. Heyob promises the city good grooves and interesting covers, mixed in with their new original songs, saying the band members’ wide range of tastes often lead to surprise appearances of songs by the musician Thundercat or bands like The Police, Hot Chocolate and the grandfathers of psychedelic jams, The Grateful Dead.
The Riverwalk Stage is located behind The Foxes Trail restaurant at 305 S. Main St. The show is free and open to all ages and runs from 6-10 p.m. Food and beer will be available for purchase.