By Jordan Meiland
Justin Hatch (left) and Zack Vogel (right). Photo by CJ Hughes.
Students gathered in room 0081 of the Music Building last Friday night to watch Bird Week, April Gloom, and Impavid play some tunes.
A little after 10, Bird Week, an indie rock solo project, began its set. Justin Hatch, the project’s lead singer and guitarist, announced to the crowd how this performance would be the project’s first live performance ever. This was met with excited cheers and claps before the band began playing their first song, “Jeremiah.”
In no time, the sounds of guitars and thundering drums filled the air as heads began to nod along to the band’s fun and inviting sound. During the second song, “Jeremiah Pt. 2,” Brendan Butler, the other guitarist, began pacing around wildly as he strummed his guitar with urgency. Behind the drums, Ed Donahue played a steady beat to keep the song going. Zach Vogel, the bassist, matched Butler’s energy and began pacing around the stage.
Justin Hatch. Photo by CJ Hughes.
“When I stepped in front of the crowd, it was like I couldn’t think,” Hatch said in an interview. “I’m lucky I was able to remember all the words to the songs to be honest. I don’t usually get stage fright but because my songs are so personal, I was a little scared. The fact we played them with so much energy eased my nerves a little.”
At this point, the crowd had started to move a bit more as the faster tempo of the song encouraged some members to start dancing around. And it was during the fourth song, “Mary’s Heart Pt. 2” that the room truly exploded.
From what seemed like the first note, people went all out. A push pit opened in the right side of the crowd and about a dozen people hopped in. Packed tight like sardines, they began jumping and shoving one another as the band played on. Some simply jumped around, some shoved their fellow showgoers into others. The band matched the crowd’s energy as they played just as hard as the crowd moshed. Both the crowd and the band began sweating from all the movement they were doing, all as the blaring sound of indie rock filled the room.
The band’s set ended at around 10:30 and after the last song, “Yellow House,” the room erupted in applause and cheers, indicating the crowd’s massive approval of the band.
“I hope we can keep playing shows around campus,” Hatch said. “The Purchase scene is so cool because there’s so many people doing so many different things and I really hope that I/we find our niche in that world.”
Bird Week is planning on getting into the studio soon to record for an album set to release before the end of the semester.
April Gloom. Photo by CJ Hughes.
April Gloom was next. A dream pop artist, this was her first show of the semester and her first with a band since January 2020. Her set began at around 10:50.
Her first song, “Valerian”, instantly set the tone for her set. Ambient instrumentals from her band began wafting through the air as she sang softly from behind her omnichord. Her band, which consisted of Evan Weinstein (slide guitar), Grace Eskin (guitar) and Cally Mansfield (bass) stood straight in a line and swayed slowly from side to side as they played their instruments.
“I feel like when I play, I get into a bit of a meditative, but also hyper-focused state,” Gloom said in an interview. “It’s a little dissociative I guess!”
Her set, compared to Bird Week’s, was a lot calmer. This was a nice change of pace from the rowdy, push pit-inducing set that came prior. It gave the audience a chance to catch their breath and hear some soothing, soft-sounding dream pop. Her set was just four songs long, but about as long time-wise as the others that night.
Her last song, a cover of Haley Heynderickx’s “Oom Sha La La”, was a highlight of the set. It was an opportunity for both Gloom and her band to display their vocal chemistry and they did it perfectly. During the bridge, when the line “I need to start a garden” is repeated four times, the crowd’s energy suddenly skyrocketed. Each “I need to start a garden”, thanks to Weinstein’s encouragement, was sung louder than the last. And during the last time, the entire band and approximately half the room screamed the line together, much to the band’s delight.
Gloom is set to release a new single on November 12th, as well as a second in December and an album in January.
Justin Pita. Photo by CJ Hughes.
At around 11:30, the last band of the night, Impavid, an alternative rock band, took the stage. The band, which consisted of Justin Pita (guitar and vocals), Alessio Mennonna (bass), and Antonio Mennonna (drums), thanked everyone for sticking around to hear them play. Then they began their set.
"This was, in fact, our first show at Purchase for the semester," Pita explained in an interview. "We were super stoked to be back and wanted to try out our new material on a crowd of fresh faces."
Interestingly, their style sounded like a blend of that of the two previous bands. Songs such as “I Hate It Here” were slower and ambient, much like April Gloom’s sound. But others, such as “Rocket Launch”, were faster and more rock-like, much like Bird Week. And of course, the band seamlessly incorporated their own style to create a sound that was truly their own.
Pita, armed with a massive pedal board, effortlessly played complex guitar riffs and melodies as he serenaded the room. Alessio’s bass fills and lines complimented Pita’s guitar playing. And Antonio guided the songs with smooth, steady drums.
The band ended their set with “Sarah Is Going to Portland”, their most recent release. During the song, the band went all out and truly ended the night with a bang. The crowd quickly got into it and were nodding along to the rhythm and melody in no time. At the end of the song, Pita held out his guitar and ran across the front of the crowd, allowing fans to play it for a moment. He also thanked everyone for coming for coming out and watching some live music.
"I was enthralled," Pita recalled. "The energy was awesome! The week leading up to the show I kept getting small little boosts in adrenaline whenever I would think about it. I’m so happy to be back in a groove where we are playing shows seriously and consistently! Prior to this show, we were just trying to wipe the pandemic cob webs off of our stage presence and playing. We’re not quite back at 100%, but we're definitely getting back there, and with better material!"
Overall, this show was a success. It had a sonically-diverse lineup, good attendance, and was run entirely by students.
Most importantly though, this was an opportunity for some Purchase students to finally perform again, or for the first time, for peers. And with a music scene like Purchase’s, it’s safe to say they’re in good hands.