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A Loaded Weekend in Whitson's: September 13-15

by Keaton Comiskey

Purchase-based band Bates performing in Whitson's on the Sept. 15. Photo by Jon Mecca

As the unofficial resident Stood reporter for The Beat I have been to a lot of shows over the course of my time as Purchase. But I don't know if I have ever been to three in one weekend— let alone review all three, as I did between Sept. 13 and 15, but I was up for the challenge. The biggest one was dealing with the “Punk Time” (shows running very behind) but in the end I got to see a lot of cool bands as well as an exciting look into the future of our beloved Stood.

Thursday night Stood shows are hit or miss— bands can be left to play for an empty room or a weekend-like crowd. This past Thursday night was definitely the latter. In classic Stood fashion, the three band bill scheduled for 7:30 p.m. started at exactly 9 o'clock. First up was Evan Liu, who works the desk at The Stood, and you can tell he felt comfortable here. He kicked off his set backed by Purchase alum Danny Caro and Emmitt Frayman on bass and drums, while Liu played guitar and switched back and forth from singing and screaming into the microphone. I was informed after the show that the screaming was a new addition to Liu’s repertoire and I must say he pulled it off well.

Jelani Sei. Photo by Jon Mecca

Next up was the multi-genre powerhouse known as Jelani Sei. The crowd poured into Whitson’s as the second band began their rollercoaster of a set. Jelani Sei has been touring for over a year now with some heavy hitters in the DIY and indie rock scenes but they have really crafted out a sound of their own. Made up of what I can only guess is a dream team of conservatory trained musicians, they moved through their set bending genres, tempos and time signatures with more ease than it takes some bands to tune. The crowd was loving every minute of it; with each build up and jazzy breakdown they reacted enthusiastically.

Leo Frampton and Ryan Wu took the mic before Palm came out to introduce themselves as this years General Programing Coordinators and encouraged people to come out to more shows and contact them to book more music. As the crowd cheered, a special feeling of school pride developed— the kind that you would see at another school’s sporting events. After Leo and Ryan's speech, Palm launched into their set filled with more modulating time signatures on top of gigantic drum sounds and sample tracks. Once again the packed room danced and cheered along with excitement, leaving this Thursday one for the books.

Fridays 8:00 p.m. show kicked off around 9 p.m., starting with the NYC-based rock band Chalklit. Their set consisted of about two songs that bookended a long jam in the middle while an unknown guest vocalist yelled into the crowd somewhere between “La Dispute” and “Hobo Johnson.” Chalklit’s set was one of those things that was either extremely planned out or completely off the cuff and either way I was okay with it. They moved through their lengthy jam with ease, mixing together distorted guitar parts, twinkling synth riffs and dynamic drum grooves.

Second on the bill was D.C-based artist Olivia Neutron-John who instantly transformed Whitson’s into some sort of afterhours spaceship rave. The set began with an arpeggiated synth line that repeated indefinitely while Neutron-John faced away from the crowd for at least three minutes. After slowly turning to face the crowd they dove into a set filled with more synthesizers, old drum machine samples and deliberate theatrical movement. At one point another person walked on stage to do nothing else than hold a small vintage microphone in place for Neutron-John to deliver their vocals into. When the set was over they broke the alien-like character and delivered a sincere “thank you for coming” into the microphone as the rest of us returned back to earth.

Last up was a fairly new Purchase-based punk rock act known as Bye Forever. The three-piece band is exactly what I want from a DIY band these days: throwing caution and gender norms into the wind all while still being really quite good at their instruments. The three members of Bye Forever have a great onstage chemistry that infects the whole room. I don’t think the first row stopped dancing for the whole set. Blowing through about seven songs in less than a half an hour, they hit on everything from power chord centric punk tunes to longer and more intricately arranged jams.

Saturday’s show was a four band bill of some local Purchase favorites and one new discovery, with the six-piece rock act DCAL taking the stage first. If you’ve been to a handful of events on this campus you’ve probably come across DCAL at some point. They took the time to play their namesake song “Devils Cabbage Angels Lettuce” to the delight of the rather large crowd. They closed with a new tune dripping in reggae/ska influences that highlighted the bands two horn players. From lead singer Jorge Potero’s excited exclamations, the band has a lot of exciting things coming down the pike, so stay tuned for more DCAL.

The second act of the night was another Purchase-based act known as Rattleshake. Not fans of sticking to one genre, Rattleshake often refer to themselves as a “music band.” The four-piece Music Band kicked off their set with a spunky up-tempo tune about wanting to dance with a girl. All four of the members, drummer included, had microphones in front of them and the tune finished with a Beatles-esque four-part harmony that was met with roaring applause from the growing crowd. As Rattleshake moved through their set they rarely remained in the same configuration, switching off who played the drums, guitar, and sang after just about every song. The musical chairs of instrumentation mixed with their high energy and often comical performances made Rattleshake a crowd favorite.

Third of the night was the only non-Purchase act, a four-piece from Yonkers known as Guilty Giraffe, who brought a heavier energy to Whitson’s than the other bands. The lead singer switched from a monotone Lou Reed-style of talking into the mic to a more punk rock vintage Green Day style of yelling. At this point it was around 11:15 p.m. but the band showed no signs of being tired. Guilty Giraffe was tight from start to finish and held the interest of those who stuck around.

Closing out the night was Purchase’s own, Bates. In 2018 it’s hard to define what exactly it means to be a rock band but I think Bates comes pretty close to true rock and roll. The five-piece moved from heavy riffs into guitar solos to compliment the dynamic vocal performance of their frontman Billy Miscione. Despite the fact that it was now about midnight, there was still a decent amount of excited people on the Whitson’s floor watching the band do their thing. Knowing the Stood, noise cutoff was approaching, and the band moved quickly through their set, closing out the show and the long weekend of shows with a song off their latest album called “Catch 22.”

After a weekend packed full of shows I have to say I was a little exhausted. But I'm also really excited and optimistic about a new year of Stood shows and events. If you think the Stood is a scary place, not for you, or you’ve just never been, I really encourage you to attend at least one upcoming show and take advantage of this gem right on our own campus.



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