Fourth of July
Sure, the song was composed by Russian Pyotr Ilyich Tchiakovsky and commemorates the country's defense against Napoleon in 1812 — everyone knows that. "But we also know that '1812' was adopted as an Independence Day song by Americans a long time ago," says Czars guitarist, Josh Robins. "It's also the song's biennial as well, so there's a reason we're doing it this year as well."
You do have to admit the song also has some of the most exciting cannons-as-instruments as any classical song ever, and the finale will make even the most pinko-prejudiced American patriot swell with excitement. So we'll let it slide.
For all of these reasons, the endearingly quirky Czars are pairing their CD release with the birthday of our nation by throwing an Olde Fashioned Independence Day Indoor Picnic this Saturday at the Scottish Rite Theatre.
The turn-of-the-Century themed party will be a whimsial afternoon of indoor fun including live performances by the band, the clowning antics of Schave and Reilly, face painting, hula hooping, costume contests, food trucks, and a mobile exhibit from the Museum of Natural and Artificial Ephemerata. (Included in the latter's collection, we hear, is a bejewled egg that belonged to a Russian czarina... so it keeps making more sense!)
"We've been a band long enough to know you have to do more to catch Austin's attention; and this is the kind of fun we like to have," says bass player Henry Q. Vines. "Everyone performing just fits the old-timey theme so nicely."
The concert event is also a fun way to thank the band's Kickstarter sponsors who helped fund the making of the third album. A few of the largest donors have even been invited to "fire the cannon"at those points in the song where cannon fire is appropriate. (Note: As the event is indoors, the cannon will not be to full scale.)
Audiences are invited to dress up in whatever period of clothing they prefer, as long as it's "old-timey." The Invincible Czars have already chosen their costumes, which will reflect the early 1900s; interestingly, the same time period the Scottish Rite Theatre was built.
The band itself has a long and storied history itself, boasting several different line-ups over the past 10 years. Only Robins has been with the band since its inception, and even he admits to the difficulties of organizing a cohesive group wtih such an elusive classification. "We never really fit in with the raunchy old Red River crowd and we were never quite for ready for KMFA. We like to straddle that line," says Robins. "We hope to be considered a daring band. But, at the same time, it can be a challenge to find the potential fan base."
Recognizing that the majority of their loyal fans over the years are now parents, Sunday's daytime event is intentionally family-friendly and welcoming to music lovers of all ages.
"We're especially interested in meeting the kids from Austin with obscure tastes, that's a little or a lot more daring; those who don't love Justin Beiber," Robins laughs. "Those who are not afraid to admit they play tuba in the school band. That's who we all were, for sure."
"Everyone in the band, we all have a Star Trek-type thing that we're proud of," adds Vines with a smile. "That's how we vet new members now: we find out what's strange about them."
These days, the band primarily plays at set holiday parties and other special events, so this might be one of the few opportunities to hear them play the "1812 Overture" in its entirety. But it's certainly the only chance you'll get in town to experience Independence Day in this delightfully anachronistic fashion.
The Invincible Czars' Old Fashioned Independence Day Indoor Picnic & 1812 Overture CD Release happens Sunday, July 1 at the Scottish Rite Theatre from 2 - 6 p.m. Tickets are $12.00 for adults and free for anyone under 12 years old. Bring your blankets to sit on and your fully stocked picnic baskets as everything is BYOB.