Every week in my job I get introduced to cool new artists. I get e-mails from people asking, “Have you checked out so-and-so? They’re awesome.”, or “Hi, we’re a band from B.C. and we’d like to be part of your festival”. So, I head off to their MySpace page, listen to clips on iTunes, and often I fall in love.
One of the coolest groups I’ve come across is Tons of Fun University, or T.O.F.U. for short. It’s a trio made up of Shane Koyczan, C.R. Avery, and Mike McGee. Shane and Mike are spoken word artists of the highest calibre, and C.R. contributes beat-boxing, piano, harmonica, and some slam poetry of his own.
Their MySpace page describes them as talk-rock, but it’s more like talk-rock-blues-folk-undefinable. Their website describes them as “collected thoughts made into understandable noise.” I think they’re funny, thoughtful, and incredibly talented.
Check out the three tracks that are available on their MySpace player at www.myspace.com/tonsoffununiversity. The first track, We’re Not But If We Were is hilarious and unlike anything I’ve come across so far. The other two tracks are great showcases for their poetry skills and contain some really moving moments. It’s the combination of humour, profanity, and raw emotional content that I find so compelling.
I haven’t seen Shane perform live, but I’ve been watching some of his slam poetry performances on YouTube. I don’t have a lot of experience with this genre, but Shane made me a fan in about three minutes. I can’t wait to see him do his thing in person.
Here’s National Poetry Slam champ Shane Koyzcan performing Grandma’s Got it Going On.