Punters rock from The Rock during online performance
It's not hard for The Punters, Newloundland's newest Celtic rock act, to get the crowd on its feet in a local pub. But on Sept. 9 the band had people dancing in their living rooms in Boston, Seattle and points beyond.
"Hello world! We're The Punters," lead singer Larry Foley yelled to the audience, as the band launched into its first online, interactive performance.
The event was a project of Mungo Park, the adventure magazine on Microsoft's online travel service. Producer Jeanine Spence said the MungoPark crew discovered The Punters while it was researching a series of travel stories about Newfoundland and Labrador.
"We were very interested in the music scene here so we collected a bunch of CDs from local artists," said Spence. "The Punters manager, Pete McKenzie, really picked up on the idea when I talked to him and we just ran with it."
During the online show, people logged into the Mungo Park chat room to talk about The Punters and their music. They made requests, asked about the original songs and the traditional tunes, and wanted to know more about the band's plans for touring and videos.
"It took a special group to pull this off," said Spence. "The Punters aren't afraid of the Internet and they're willing to go with the more unknown aspects of this online experience. And they're happy to interact with the online audience."
The Punters are Larry Foley, Brian Kenny (bass), Bob Hiscock (drums) and Pat Moran (fiddle and guitar). The group has released two independent albums - a self-titled debut and the new Said She Couldn't Dance - and is set to produce its first video for the song Reena. The Punters have been touring parts of Canada and was also part of a showcase at New York City's Lincoln Center.
But the band hopes this online performance will introduce its electrified, Celtic-influenced music to a more farflung audience.
"Geographically, we're very isolated here," said Foley after the show. "But after tonight, maybe not. I guess isolation is a state of mind - not location."
"To be on the periphery of North America and have access to all of it in very short order is a pretty amazing phenomena."
The Internet isn't new to The Punters, as the group has its own web page that features a band bio, clips from the album, and touring and booking information.
"Bands like ours are just starting to tap into the Internet as a marketing tool." said Foley. ''And before long, bands across the country will be doing, what we've done tonight.
"We're on the verge of a very interesting time in entertainment media and it's great to be here right at the beginning."
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