The Pork Tornadoes are so Iowan it hurts.
The self-described “Band of Iowa,” the four-man group falls into the equally self-created category of Beard Pop — a hipper, more Top 40-focused Dad Rock.
Four middle-aged white dudes sporting a combo of full beards and wire-rimmed glasses, these swine cyclones can move seamlessly from Phil Collins toBeyoncé to Sublime to Coolio, riling up a crowd of Midwesterners faster than an empty container of ranch.
The Tornadoes' party-first sound has made them a darling of RAGBRAI — the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, a weeklong river-to-river journey that sees 10,000 people cross the Hawkeye State on two wheels.
In a normal year, overnight towns would jockey to book the menin their town square, knowing their vibe would ensure a good time. But when traditional RAGBRAI was canceled due to concerns over the spreading coronavirus, the annual bike ride took their celebration digital, hosting web-based challenges and online events for riders missing cornfields and pork chops onsticks.
To end the week, RAGBRAI put together a special Friday night concert featuring the Pork Tornadoes. Riders were asked to either stream the gig or show up to the "Revive The Live" Drive-In Concert at Water Works Park — where social distancing could be ensured.
And show up they did.
In 2015, the band was asked to play at the RAGBRAI overnight stop in Cedar Rapids.
“The headlining act was the singer from Styx, Dennis DeYoung," Schulte said. "We joked that we were the headliner of the show and it actually went pretty well."
Since then, the band has performed for RAGBRAI in 2017, 2018, 2019, and now again in 2020.
“The thing about RAGBRAI for me is that everyone there is in a good mood,” Schulte said. “Even though they just rode like 60 or 70 miles and they've been doing it for days, they are all in vacation mode, party mode."
TheperfectPork Tornadoes mode.