I went to Boulder Coffee Co. (100 Alexander St.) to check out SoundRabbit. The place was dead with just a few musicians, myself, and the slowly building crowd for the Open Mic Comedy. It's too bad there weren't more people because SoundRabbit is a nicely rhythmic, expertly proficient acoustic-driven band. Several times they reminded me of Paul Simon's acoustic solo stuff, but maybe with a country twang. They teeter right on the edge of "jam band" but without the annoying vapid repetition of the latter — they reminded me more of The BuddhaHood than any of a billion Grateful Dead wannabes.
During the show Russ (the lead singer) was having problems with the sustain pedal on his keyboard — it seemed to be stuck. It got so bad he just unplugged it in the middle of the song and tried to hold notes manually — given the staccato style of most of the song it appeared to work. Between songs I dashed up to see if I could fix it. I didn't even make it back to my table when I noticed it had a switch on the side so it would operate as either momentary or push-on/push-off and it was in the undesirable position. They were all very appreciative that I had "saved the tour" (although I think they'd have figured it out somewhere in the van on the road before their next gig) and gave me a free CD.
Afterward I talked with them a little bit before they had to get going — the odd Sunday Rochester stop was a convenient one between Chicago and Boston. Since I've been to Denver quite a few times I'm familiar with Boulder a little as well so we talked geography a bit. Several of the band members are from Massachusetts originally so they were doing a stop at Mom and Dad's for the night.
Anyway, we also talked a little about the RBT Backstage program. Basically they invite fans to join the backstage program for $20/year and in exchange, they get access to all the music recorded that year (and presumably before) to download along with other perks — if you're "in" the backstage, then you get access to everything, and if you aren't, then you can go to shows and buy CD's like anyone else. What they then do is to donate their merchandise sales to charity rather than trying to scrape out a tour on the often not-so-deep pockets of people at the shows. I imagine it makes for a more relaxing tour — they said the travel money was mostly already budgeted with a few major college shows to cover the rest — so it's never an issue of selling enough stickers and T-shirts to fill the van with gas.
I'll probably send them a message tipping them off to the idea of Creative Commons licensing so they can make a (theoretically) legally binding agreement that their works are copyright by them and they license their works freely under certain circumstances — like to share in a non-commercial setting or to remix the works given the same license is provided.