Inva-ssion of the Ssion
do you get when you combine homemade animations synched
up to crazy dance music, throw in a little theatrical flair,
and some barnyard animals? Well, my friends, you have The
Before we go on, I have to make something clear. Ssion is
not pronounced "Sis-son," it is pronounced "shun."
How you ask? As Cody Critcheloe (Lead Vocalist/Animator/Cow)
describes, "It's like mission, passion, etc
was a joke between us that just sort of stuck."
The "us" he is referring to are his band mates,
Taylor Painter-Wolfe and Shannon Michaels, who in the band
are back-up vocalists, as well as during the live show a
chicken and a lion, respectively.
The Ssion, (who are influenced by the likes of The B-52's,
Madonna, Meatloaf, Queen, and Pussy Galore), recently kicked
off a mini tour by invading New York with four shows in
a mere six days.
In case you missed these shows, let me get you up to speed.
The Ssion's shows consist of pre-recorded music, an animated
film that Critcheloe previously composes to synch with the
music, and zany costumes and props, which are instrumental
to the live performance. Painter-Wolfe (an ex-fibers/textiles
student) creates the costumes and Michaels makes the stage
props, completing the goods necessary to put on an entertaining
When the Ssion put on a full show, they normally have a
whole set consisting of a barnyard scene (complete with
garbage truck) where they begin the show by jumping out
of a barn. However, since this tour was a mini one and they
were traveling in a Honda, they decided it would be best
to leave the barn at home in Kansas City, MO.
These shows actually started out as a class project that
just kind of grew into what it is today, in fact, their
first show took place in an art gallery. That is fitting
because their act can be interpreted as sort of a performance
art, being the nature of their show and the almost theatrical
manner in which it is executed. They try to stay away from
the "P.A." label because of the assumptions people
tend to place on such an act. They consider themselves first
and foremost a rock band, and hope to someday expand the
live act to where there are live musicians playing in the
background. For now, their concentration is on the performance
of their live show, stating that "Madonna used to perform
in the clubs with recorded music to focus on her performance,
we are doing the same thing."
So what happens if the video and the music go out of synch?
Cody explains, "We improvise. In a way that makes it
more punk-more real."
If you are intrigued by the nature of The Ssion, you can
find out more information and download videos by hitting
their site at www.ssion.com. They also have live videos
for sale, as well as their EP out on Version City Records.
-- Shara Sprecher