Make us your home page

USF iPad quintet Touch staging interactive rock concert

Touch is one band that's proud to be playing flat.

As in, the flat screens of iPads, which the quintet from USF's school of music will use as musical instruments in concert Friday at the USF Concert Hall, thanks to musical apps from the Apple Store. But don't think this will be another laid-back, head-nodding DJ set or electronica show — we're talking a full-blown rock concert, with laser lights, video screens, interpretive dance and moments of bona fide audience participation.

That's right, the audience will be able to play right along, thanks to the power of smartphones and tablet computers. Breaking down that fourth wall of music performance is the true goal of the show, an encore performance called "Louder Than Ever Before," which is a followup to the group's first concert last year.

Touch member David Williams, associate professor of music education, said redefining the classic concert hall experience — a recital on traditional instruments — is the object here, in part to show learning to play can be accessible to small groups with new methods. But it will still be familiar to the audience, and not just because it will feature music ranging from the Troggs to Norah Jones.

"We didn't invent anything new; we just added the iPad to it," he said of the show. "Rock bands have been doing this for 50 years."

The concept of using iPads as instruments came to the group when the tablet was first released. When music apps that simulated drums, guitars and other instruments gained popularity, the progression was obvious, even if the idea sounds a bit foreign.

"An iPad as a musical instrument is just like any musical instrument. It can be played incredibly well, but it also can be played badly," Williams said. "You can set it down on the table and it won't do anything until a human directs it to. You've got to develop a technique and you've got to practice."

He and assistant professor of music education Clint Randles have had plenty of time to practice, as have this year's new members, doctoral students Victor Ezquerra, Chris Morris and Nick Stefanic. The program Friday features a collaboration with USF's dance and English departments, the USF Sun Dolls performing to Footloose and Wooly Bully, a livepainting session, a world drumming piece that will encourage the audience to join in on their own drumming apps and a special, improvisational retelling of The Wizard of Oz, during which the crowd will be allowed to tweet suggestions for the progression of the story (as long as they keep them clean).

With all those elements, the next thing in store for Touch is almost impossible to predict.

"That's so hard, to figure out the future," Williams said. "We're just now learning what the iPad can really do."

.if you go

Touch: Louder Than Ever Before

Show is 7:30 p.m. Friday at the USF Concert Hall. $15, $10 students/seniors. (813) 974-2323.

USF iPad quintet Touch staging interactive rock concert 01/30/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 31, 2013 1:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bar review: The Landing at Jannus in St. Petersburg

    Bars & Spirits

    I've spent many evenings in St. Pete's Jannus Live courtyard, enjoying one of the best open-air venues in the Tampa Bay area. It's where I saw my first concert in Florida: Toadies, on the Rubberneck tour sometime in the mid '90s.

    The drinks at the Landing at Jannus in St. Petersburg are about as cheap as you’ll find at any other regular downtown bar, a nice surprise.
  2. Local craft beer of the week: Two Henrys Belleview-Biltmore Blueberry Vanilla Wheat

    Bars & Spirits

    Two Henrys Brewing Company is a unique entity in the Tampa Bay brewing scene, due to both its status as the only brewery in Plant City, as well as its location on a 27-acre working farm, which also includes a winery.

    Photo by Justin Grant
  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for May 26


    Train: One of the most engaging frontmen in rock, Pat Monahan, brings along O.A.R. and Natasha Bedingfield for their annual trip through Tampa. 7 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $21.50-$191. (813) 740-2446.

    LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 12:  Singer Pat Monahan of Train performs as the band kicks off the Play That Song Tour in support of the album "A Girl, a Bottle, a Boat" at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 12, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) 700034174
  4. Interview: Todd Rundgren comes to St. Petersburg looking to reach a new generation

    Music & Concerts

    They're teaching Todd Rundgren in college now.

    Todd Rundgren will perform at the Mahaffey Theater on May 27. Credit: Lynn Goldsmith
  5. Volcano Bay, with waterproof wristbands that eliminate lines, now open at Universal Orlando


    ORLANDO — Universal Orlando opened its third park on Thursday, this one a resort-style water attraction called Volcano Bay that features a waterproof wristband that promises to eliminate lines.

    Universal Orlando opened its third park, on May 25, 2017, this one a resort-style water attraction called Volcano Bay that features the first waterproof wristband that promises to eliminates lines. [Willie J. Allen Jr. | for Universal Studios]