Band of NASA astronauts blasts off for July 6 show at The Palms

Bandella, which includes three astronauts, will bring music and insight when they return to The Palms Playhouse on Saturday, July 6 at 8 p.m
Houston-based Bandella––(from left) Cady Coleman (flute), Steve Robinson (lead guitar, banjo, bass), Chris Hadfield (guitar), Micki Pettit (lead vocals) and Dave Webb (keys)––features three astronauts and the spouse of another. Bandella returns to The Palms in Winters on Saturday, July 6 at 8 p.m. ($20 general/$12 students). Courtesy photo

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By Kate Laddish Entertainment correspondent What’s it like to play an instrument in space, or sing without gravity? How about duetting with Earth-bound rock stars while you’re in orbit, or recording a podcast after repairing the Space Shuttle?  Bandella, which includes three astronauts, will bring music and insight when they return to The Palms Playhouse on Saturday, July 6 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 ($12 with student ID).  Playing a guitar without gravity is… messy,” said retired Canadian astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station Chris Hadfield. “There’s nothing to hold it on your knee, or to suspend it by the strap, so it floats free, and every time you move your hands it wants to take off.” “Singing is also different, as there’s no normal weight to your diaphragm, sort of like singing lying down or standing on your head. Also, there’s no gravity to drain your sinuses, so you’re always congested, and that messes up vocal quality.” The astronaut, guitarist and singer recorded an album and a now-viral video of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” aboard the ISS. He also played “a concert for the Russian prime minister, played and chatted with Neil Young and Peter Gabriel, did a duet with The Chieftains––(bandmate) Cady (Coleman) was playing with them on Earth––and recorded a duet with The Barenaked Ladies.”  Lead singer Micki Pettit said she and Hadfield cofounded Bandella in 2002 “in a basement––otherwise known as Shep’s Bar––in one of the cottages where astronauts stay in Star City, Russia” while the singer and her family were there for her husband Don’s training.  Later, said Pettit, “Cady added her flute. Steve Robinson came with his guitar and banjo. First time Dave (Webb) played with us was The Palms (in 2017). His keyboard really adds to the sound and he’s a joy to work with.” Coleman recalled playing on the ISS. “I played many nights when folks were already in their cabins, usually in the cupola. I could see the earth in every direction. I’d rotate around, looking through all the different windows while I played.”  Coleman enjoyed playing with her bandmates and noted musicians via video links from the ISS.   “Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull is known for playing the flute while standing on one foot. It gave me great satisfaction to show him that, in space, that was downright easy.”  She said the flute “doesn’t rest in your hands the same way” without gravity, “and that took a little getting used to,” as did not letting it float away.  Retired astronaut, current UC Davis professor and lead guitarist, banjoist and bassist Steve Robinson did the first podcast from space after completing a space walk to repair the Space Shuttle Discovery’s heat shields.  “That was, I would have to say, the most fantastic experience of my life,” Robinson broadcast from Discovery in 2005.  He also performed for crewmates while weightless. Pettit said Bandella plays folk, acoustic rock covers, some jazz, some bluegrass, and some originals, adding, “We are an eclectic bunch.”  Looking to July 6, Coleman said, “I think that folks will come away feeling like they have gone on a journey with us. There is something so hopeful about space, about exploration, about pushing the boundaries of our world. I think that when we play and share stories, it becomes clear that real humans are part of these grand efforts — and that’s hopeful too.”  Playing together, said Hadfield, is “a rare delight that I love.” Tickets for the all-ages show are available at Pacific Ace Hardware in Winters, Armadillo Music in Davis, Davids’ Broken Note in Woodland, online via The Palms’ website and Eventbrite, and at the door if not sold out.  Watch Hadfield perform at the International Space Station here. For more information, visit and]]>

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