Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

    Escape to a Backup Planet at the Green Bar Oct. 24


    Luckily, Tennessee Hate Week will be over by the time Backup Planet starts their show Saturday Oct. 24 at the Green Bar—two band members are University of Tennessee graduates. 

    Keyboardist Ben Cooper describes the Nashville-based band’s sundry sound as high energy improvisational electric funk rock, a mix of guitarist Gavin Donati’s Memphis blues leanings and Cooper’s penchant for polished funk. 

    “It’s almost like if Rage Against the Machine, Allman Brothers and Daft Punk had a weird baby,” Cooper said. “We have our roots in funk and rock, but also have the improvisational jazz element too.”

    The band started off initially playing house parties in Knoxville in 2009 and getting paid in beer. In the years since then, they have done a lot of touring and added two more members. For Backup Planet, touring is one of the main reasons they play music. 

    “We’re really big on the live energy and catering to the room,” Cooper said. “That’s what’s fun…we thrive when the audience is into it. It’s not the most glamorous being on the road all the time, but it’s fulfilling actually getting to play and meeting new people every night.”

    Alex Freeman, general manager of Green Bar, praised the band’s live shows.  

    “Their live show is amazing. They mix a lot of different genres really well. Backup Planet brings an opportunity for music lovers to catch some amazing music without having to travel out of town,” Freeman said.

    The communal experience of live shows that Cooper talks about is partly the reason behind the name for the band—the idea of a “backup planet” that people can go to escape the mundanity of everyday life. However, sometimes the audience goes to another planet completely.  

    “We were playing a fraternity party once in an area where there was no security, and we couldn’t get out of the room, so we felt like monkeys trapped in a zoo,” Cooper recalled. “People were grabbing our PA speakers and swinging them around the room and throwing full beer bottles at us and banging on the drums.”

    Chaos aside, one of the hallmarks of their shows is improvisation, much like the bands Phish and Widespread Panic.

     “It brings an element of unpredictability and it keeps it fresh…it keeps the listeners on their toes,” Cooper said. 

    Backup Planet tries to push themselves musically, experimenting with a variety of different sounds like synthesizers, talk boxes and horns. Cooper also wants to improve the overall cohesiveness of the band’s sound. They use an interesting technique to come up with new music and improve their skills. 

    “Sometimes we’ll be grooving on something…and if someone is really feeling it they’ll say freeze, then later on we’ll say alright everybody go back to that,” Cooper said. “It’s a good way to improve your improvisational abilities and a way to make new songs.” 

    Backup Planet has played quite a few shows around Tuscaloosa, but Freeman warns that they might be moving on to bigger venues soon. 

    “Backup Planet always brings a great crowd.  They are one of my favorite bands at the moment and from attendance of past shows I think plenty of other people share that opinion,” Freeman said. “Green Bar is a great place to catch solid touring bands in a more intimate and personal setting.” 

    The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and costs $5.

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