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Steam Powered Giraffe (SPG) is a musical project formed in San Diego in 2008 that is popular in the steampunk subculture. The act combines the visual of robot pantomime with sketches, pop culture references, improvised comedic dialogue, and original music.
According to the band's fictional backstory, the "musical automatons" were invented by a rich San Diego inventor named Colonel P. A. Walter in 1896 and kept in the Walter family over the years. Called the 8th 1/2 Wonder of the World, the robots were a technological marvel that ran off steam powered engines and artificial intelligence. The band's name is said to come from Walter's first robot, a giant mechanical giraffe. A fictional timeline on the band's website chronicles the band's supposed "appearances" throughout the years at such notable places as the 1933 Chicago World's Fair and The Ed Sullivan Show.
The robots are:
- The Spine (David Michael Bennett) is a futuristic dieselpunk robot with a titanium alloy spinal column and convincing human mannerisms. His skin is smooth silver, and he wears a black fedora and red tie. He plays guitar.
- Rabbit (Christopher "Bunny" Bennett) is a copper clockwork android, who wears a short black tophat with steampunk-style goggles on it and a black tunic with red accents. He plays the melodica.
- The Jon (Jon Sprague) is an art deco-style brass robot powered by soda (primarily Crystal Pepsi), who wears a tall black top hat and red suspenders. He generally plays the mandolin.
- Upgrade (Erin Burke) was the only female robot in the group. She left the band in 2011 "to pursue her dream of becoming a princess."
SPG provides examples of:
- Butt Monkey: In their stage performances, The Jon is often this. Upgrade often was also, before she left the group.
- Cloudcuckoolander: The Jon and Rabbit both fit this trope to a T.
- Clockwork Creature: Rabbit is supposedly a clockwork robot.
- Dada Comics: Steam Powered Giraffe: The Web Comic.
- Diesel Punk: The Spine (and The Jon, to a lesser extent).
- Do Androids Dream?: One of the robots, "Upgrade", dreamed of being a princess. When the actor portraying the robot left the group, it was said the robot had gone off to pursue her dream.
- Ear Worm: Many.
- Eating Machine: The Jon.
- Epic Rocking: "Captain Albert Alexander," "Rex Marksley," and "Airheart"
- Funny Robots.
- The Game Of The Band: Steam Powered Giraffe, the card game.
- Goggles Do Nothing: Rabbit's goggles.
- "I Am" Song: "Clockwork Vaudeville", "Steam Man Band".
- Narrative Poem: "Captain Albert Alexander"
- Nice Hat: Rabbit's coachman hat, The Spine's fedora and The Jon's top hat. Sam Luke, the drummer, wears a nice derby.
- Noisy Robots: The robots frequently make the sounds of hydraulics, especially when they are starting up or shutting down.
- Only Sane Man: Out of all the robots, The Spine is unarguably the most level-headed.
- Robot Girl: Upgrade.
- Robot Names: The Spine, Rabbit, The Jon, Upgrade.
- Ridiculously-Human Robots
- Running Gag:
The Spine: Was that a pun, Rabbit?
Rabbit: That was a pun.
- Smart People Build Robots: The robots were supposedly created by a rich inventor named Col. P.A. Walter.
- The Smurfette Principle: Until Upgrade left.
- Steampunk: Obviously.
- Token Human: Mr. Reed (until they added drummer Sam Luke).
- Too Many Belts: Rabbit usually wears three. In the music video for "Automatonic Electronic Harmonics" he briefly wears six belts.
- Virtual Celebrity
- Webcomic Of The Band: Steam Powered Giraffe: The Web Comic.
- Word Salad Lyrics: "Ju Ju Magic".