Playing six shows in one day would be an ambitious undertaking on its own, but Madison rock band Sunspot will push itself even further on Saturday by playing those shows in six different states, and livestreaming it all online.
The three-piece band will launch its "6-in-1 Road Mania" tour bright and early, at 7 a.m. Saturday, to coincide with the release of its new EP, "Arthuriana."
The tour will span more than 600 miles, taking members Wendy Lynn Staats, Mike Huberty and Ben Jaeger from Wisconsin to Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and back.
"The whole idea of wanting to perform in a bunch of different places in one day stemmed from this new EP," Staats said. "The three songs are related to the notion of time, making the most of the time that you have. They had a temporal theme to them."
The locations were selected carefully, both for travel time and for the the band's ability to set up quickly. They'll start in La Crosse, atop Granddad Bluff. Next up is the Winona Farmers Market, in Minnesota, and from there, they'll travel to Dubuque, Iowa, where they'll play while riding on the Fenelon Place elevator. A longer drive will take them to the sand dunes at Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan, followed by the lighthouse at Washington Park, in Michigan City, Ind. The last show of the day will be at 10:30 p.m., beneath Cloud Gate — also known as "The Bean" — in Chicago's Millennium Park.
"We’ve got our touring van," Staats said. "It crossed the 100,000-mile mark this year, but it’s been really reliable. I think we’ll be fine."
The van itself is outfitted with cameras and technology to stream the entire journey, including the performances and the band's antics on the road. Fans are invited to interact through online chats and phone calls.
Sunspot did something similar last year, when the band traveled to South By Southwest — and its "Road Mania" podcast has been active since 2005.
"The interactivity, when people are watching the livestream, is just incredibly invigorating," Staats said. "I think that interactivity wil keep us on our toes, and the adrenaline of trying to stay on schedule."
Staats said she thinks this particular tour will be a special one to share with fans, who will have a chance to see some Midwestern gems.
"I think it’s going to be a neat way to show everybody some really cool sites in the Midwest," she said.
Once the band returns to Madison, it won't be time to rest just yet. On Sunday, along with Whisky Pig, Sunspot will open for party-rocker Andrew W.K. when he plays the Majestic Theatre.