Tonic Ball always brings out the warm fuzzies in me. As a writer, I love it because it was my first-ever cover story for this publication,
during which I had a great, long chat with Ben Shine, then-Communications Director of Second Helpings, that got me so excited about moving back to my hometown for the gig. As a voracious consumer of local music, I love it because I get to see so many of my favorite bands all in one place. As a member of the community, I really
love it because it raises so much money to do such a crucial thing: feed hungry people through Second Helpings.
I would ask you to excuse my enthusiasm, but really, I think there's no reason not
to be over the moon about this awesome event. With new title sponsor Eskenazi Health — that's right, it's officially Tonic Ball Presented By Eskenazi Health this year — and a wealth of supergroups and far-flung friends coming back in to play, Tonic Ball 14 is poised to be bigger and better than ever. (The fact that one of my favorite dudes, Bruce Springsteen, is one of the acts to be covered
, and that one of my other favorite dudes, NUVO Managing Editor Ed Wenck, will take the stage in the Pink Floyd room at Fountain Square Theater, is beside the point.)
I'm gonna take all of this excitement and get it all out at the Tonic Ball XIV Preview Party at the Hi-Fi, where She Does Is Magic
, G.R.I.T.S., Joe Welch and The Last IV
will kick off The Season of Tonic (I guess technically known as "fall") on Friday.
This year's Tonic Ball falls on Friday, November 20, but don't miss kids event Tiny Tonic (November 14) and visual art event Tonic Gallery (November 13) in the Square as well.
Now, we've got some good Tonic Ball deets for you. Committee member Kirsten Eamon-Shine sent over some supergroups and artists of note that will take the Tonic stage.
In the Beck Room:
"Fountain Square All-Stars features Derek Johnson, Jorma Whitaker, Caleb McCoach and more doing a medley of tunes from the Beck Song Reader, which Johnson created arrangements for and recorded parts when it was released. Nat Russell has agreed to bring a band for some Beck deep cuts."
In the Tina Room:
"The Vallures and Gentleman Caller will head up from Bloomington. Heidi Lynn Gluck returns from Kansas and Kate Lamont is coming in from the Bay Area. Mike Wiltrout will host the stage and reunite his band, The 8-Track All Stars. If that's not enough, stick around for The Last IV."
In the Pink Floyd Room:
"Great Riders in the Sky features members of local jam stalwarts, Hyryder and The Spirtles will perform one of the first shows they've done since the death of frontman Ricky Jeff Freeman. Both bands will headline the Pink Floyd stage in Fountain Square Theater."
In the Springsteen Room:
"Of course, Bomb Dylan (featuring former members of Yoko Moment) is always a highlight mostly because it features Ken wearing his custom Jerry Lee Atwood suit. HEN has promised us a medley. Brian Deer, The Common, Chad Mills and Caleb McCoach.
And now we move on to your Tonic Ball 2015 lineup, published for the first time here. Please keep in mind this is not the absolute final lineup or performance order, but it should give you a pretty good taste of what's to come at this year's event.
At Radio Radio covering BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
Blue Collar Bluegrass
She Does Is Magic
Black Plastic Glasses
We're Not Squibnocket
At the Hi-Fi covering BECK
Mina & Tonic Ball Supper Group
There Are Ghosts
Red Light Driver
Fountain Square All-Stars
The Long Arm
Joe Welch and the Hell Yes Authority
At the White Rabbit Cabaret, covering TINA TURNER
Brandon Whyde & The Devil's Keep
Awake the Wilde
Ampersand Blues Band
Jessica Benge & Howard
Heidi Lynne Gluck
At Fountain Square Theater, covering PINK FLOYD
Ed Wenck (Editor's note: NUVO's Managing Editor!)
Mars or the Moon
Shimmercore's Cat Wizards
Sara Grain & Billions of Stars
Three to One
G.R.I.T.S. (feat. members of HYRYDER)
We also had Eamon-Shine answer a few additional questions about the ins and outs of Tonic Ball here:
NUVO: How many bands/groups/individuals applied this year, and how many of that group were accepted?
Close to 100 — we have about 55 bands [booked to play].
NUVO: How does the committee balance and consider gender when picking Tonic performers?
The bands who play? We try to represent the range of talents in our city. Because interested bands rank the featured artists, we use their selections to make sure they play music they like. We also aim to bring new faces to the event each year, while still highlighting some longtime and stellar Tonic acts.
NUVO: What artist are you most personally excited for this year's Tonic and what song are you most looking forward to hearing?
Playing? I can't wait to see Gentleman Caller, HEN, Fountain Square All-Stars, Andy D and the Bonesetters. In terms of the music we're celebrating, it's all great and distinctive and amazing. I am hoping for a SHOW in the Tina and Beck rooms. And I imagine that the bands in the Pink Floyd and Springsteen rooms will bring a ton of love to that music.
NUVO: How is this year's Tonic different than any other?
The number of pop-up bands, formed out of friendships and adventurous musical spirits, will be amazing this year. And we did a great job of recruiting first-time acts that know how to put on a show. Ultimately, that's our biggest goal, to have a great event that raises some money for a good cause, Second Helpings.
That's it! That's all I've got today. Please continue the celebration by posting your favorite Beck, Springsteen, Tina Turner or Pink Floyd song in the comments.