Better Than Coffee: Tornado Rider

Last weekend, I ventured to a fundraising bash at the gargantuan, labyrinthine Vulcan complex in industrial Oakland. Coilhouse correspondent Neil Girling has aptly described the bohemian warehouse collective as “something of a dollhouse mixed with a rabbit warren.” Magical place. The folks over there literally just finished building out their new Vulcan Theater wing. Tons of gonzo musical acts and DJs came out to help them raise some cash and celebrate: Thee Hobo Gobbelins, David Satori of Beats Antique, Totter, Sour Mash Hug, various Vau de Vire Society performers, Sisters of Honk, Gooferman, Barry Syska, and a band I’d never heard of before, Tornado Rider:


From the back of the crowded room, I watched the butch-yet-elfin trio set up their gear and line check. Warming up, drummer Scott Manke and bassist Graham Terry displayed precise and prodigious punk/metal chops and sported broad, welcoming smiles. Bad asses, both. They were soon joined by singer/cellist Rushad Eggleston, who wore a Robin Hood cap with hot pink lightning bolts adhered to it, a matching pair of exercise shorts, lime green tights, sneakers, and little else.

Two words sum up Eggleston’s persona succinctly: delightfully implausible. His countenance and physique are a bit like Frodo Baggins’… that is, if Frodo was hella manic, worked out a lot and washed down his lembas bread with entire crates of Volt High Performance Energy Drinks.


Eggleston plugged his axe (lav mic’d, plastered with day-glo stickers, guitar strapped) into a batch of effects pedals and let loose with a string of arpeggiations that could leave no doubt: this fella had been classically schooled out the wazoo, but long since abandoned baroque, powdered wig fare for PURE UNTRAMMELED RAWKNESS.

Tornado Rider launched fists first into a blazing 40 minute set that peaked with a song called “I’m a Falcon”.  Manke and Terry provided thunderous vamping as Eggelston leaped from the stage, scaled the wall with his cello slung over his shoulder and perched, teetering, on the balcony railing to rock out, howling “I’M A FALCON. I’M A FALCON. YEAH… THE FASTEST BIRD ALIVE. THE MASTER OF THE SKY. YEEAAHHYUH!” Here’s a clip of that same song performed at the Magnolia Festival a while ago. Eggleston took the madness a step further, launching into a tuneful, shredding solo while hanging upside down from the ceiling:

Eggleston’s jaw-dropping climb begins about 4 minutes in.

Guys, you really need to see this shit live. It’s raw, joyful, silly, gorgeous virtuosity. Go. Seriously. GO. Dance. Get your asses rocked and grin until your faces hurt. You won’t regret it, I promise. Tornado Rider is touring all over the States this year, with more dates in the works for Europe at some point down the line. Deep southerners, a heads up to you especially– they’ll be playing the fuck of Florida this week and next. GO. GO. GO. GO. And a very good morning to you all.

Tons more T.R. clips after the jump.

4 Responses to “Better Than Coffee: Tornado Rider”

  1. Karen Says:

    I just watched the first video with my nine-year-old and am now bruised from where he spontaneously head-banged into me. He says Eggleston DOES remind him of Frodo, and insists, due to a misread of the text, that the name of the band is actually “Tomato Rider”. Fantastic, thank you; we are now fans.

  2. Stache Says:

    I couldn’t agree more with a tad of gushing over Mr.s Eggleston and his band (and I’ve seen my fair share of gush-worthy bands in my day, sonny).

    I caught them by accident last year at the Hay Maze shindig down south of S.F. near Half Moon Bay (an event probably put on by the same folks involved with Vulcan).

    I literally could not believe mine eyes and ears when they rawked the Maze. 12 ft high solid walls of stacked bales could not contain that which is the aptly named Tornado Rider!

  3. Tertiary Says:

    This all serves to illustrate my theory that rock and roll guitarists secretly wish they were cellists.

  4. Nadya Says:

    AMAZING! How did I miss this? I must have been in Toronto. Damn!

    The sock on the end of the cello is a nice touch. I love this.

    And I like how many kids there are in the audience. It’s great to see tweens going nuts like this over something other than Justin Bieber.