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Monday, Nov. 24, 11:36 a.m.
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Human-powered rock show shuns dependency on fuel

Boston-based band Melodeego played a small bike-powered concert in the Memorial Union on Friday, sponsored by various social and environmental clubs at the University of Maine.

The band performed using a sound system powered by bikes and encouraged audience members to take a seat and pedal throughout their performance.

“We like enthusiasts,” lead guitarist Peter Malagodi said. “We are music enthusiasts. We are also agricultural enthusiasts. It’s good to be enthusiastic.”

The system can seat up to three bikers, who sit on a long wooden bench and pedal, turning the wheels in front of them.

The decision for the band to create a people-powered sound system came after the BP oil spill in 2010. The bike-system design is an attempt to take a stand against oil, gas and coal corporations, as well as fossil fuel use.

At the beginning of the performance, Malagodi thanked the audience in advance for pedaling and providing power for their performance.

“Melodeego is not powered by oil! Melodeego is not powered by gasoline! Melodeego is powered by the people!” shouted the band from the stage. “A thousand years of peace and dignity starts here!”

Throughout their performance, various audience members sat on the bench and pedaled together to amplify the sound of the band’s music, which resonated throughout the Memorial Union.

“If everyone would just close their eyes, look inside, and imagine a tiny, tiny, tiny little spark inside,” bassist Greg Reinauer said. “You may have to dig a hole to get there. You may have to look through a pit. But inside that little spark — that’s the revolution.”

The band played various songs from their three albums and encouraged audience members to move the tables and chairs away from the stage to create a dance floor.

Several audience members danced along to their music; others stood and watched from behind the impromptu dance floor. The show lasted for over an hour and a half and focused on the themes of social justice and the environment.

Earlier that day, the band presented the Soul WakeUp Workshop in the Bangor Room of the Memorial Union. To provoke discussion about the many issues that face the current generation, the workshop combines music, video and group interaction.

Melodeego has presented this workshop at various venues, including Power Shift and Mass Climate Summer.

The band collaborated with Generation Waking Up and Awakening the Dreamer, groups that organize workshops to promote sustainability and social change, to develop the workshop.

Melodeego’s 2012 album, “Fear Them Not,” touches on issues pertaining to environmental, political and social justice. The band has performed at many political rallies, including various Occupy Wall St. events and the Tar Sands Action.

They are currently raising money for their “F@#!< Fossil Fuels Tour,” where they will tour in a van converted to run on waste vegetable oil. They also plan to build a larger bike-powered sound system.

The Sustainable Agriculture Enthusiast group, The Green Team, Yoga Club, Philosophy Club, the Office of International Programs and Campus Activities and Student Engagement sponsored the performance.