Tuesday, October 21, 2014  
The Charger Bulletin

Balance and Composure blows away audiences

by The Charger Bulletin | October 9, 2014

Aj LaGambina
Contributing Writer
alaga1@unh.newhaven.edu

It finally happened. After buying my tickets in June, I saw my favorite band, Balance and Composure, play a headlining set at the Heirloom Arts Theatre in Danbury.

Balance and Composure (Photo obtained via Facebook)

Balance and Composure (Photo obtained via Facebook)

I first saw the band open for Title Fight in October of last year and I thought that their live show was incredible, so hearing that they were doing a full US headliner, I lost it. My girlfriend and I snagged tickets as soon as possible and (not so) patiently waited for Oct. 3 to see our favorite band play without the half hour constraint of being an opener.

After driving for an hour or so out to Danbury, we arrived shortly before the show opened with Philadelphia’s Creepoid. Armed with some very odd instruments—I’ve never seen a bass like the one vocalist Anna Troxell wields—they showcased their unique brand of Psychadelc-shoegazey-grunge-pop to a generally positive response.

I found myself really enjoying their stage presence, especially considering the technical difficulties that plagued the beginning of their set. After replacing one of the vocalist’s microphones, the band finished their set without a problem. The band has been on the road nonstop for three tours—the equivalent of almost 80 shows—and they dealt with the issue like champs.

Seahaven played next, and though I’ve never really been a big fan of them, they blew me away with their live set. They played with a vigor that is too often given up by openers who just seem to be going through the motions, especially in cases like Friday, when it’s the second to last show of a tour. Vocalist Kyle Soto’s voice, which I have previously found annoying, was gloriously worn in, to the point where his voice had a Cobain-esque rasp to it. As a result of seeing them live, I’m in the process of revisiting Seahaven’s catalog and finding myself really, really liking it. That right there is the power of live music.

Finally, Balance and Composure took the stage, with a giant backdrop based on the ghost theme of their latest album, The Things We Think We’re Missing, and an oil lamp projection providing a cool lighting effect, the band ripped through a 15 song set (plus an encore) with the energy and finesse they’re now known for.

Vocalist Jon Simmons was on point the entire night, showing off his chops as frontman. Being a three-guitar band, Balance brought an absolute wall of sound which, I think, can only be rivaled by fellow PA rockers, Superheaven, whom I saw this summer opening for UK band Basement. Bailey Van Ellis, Balance and Composure’s drummer, kept the energy rolling through the entire set, never faltering or losing time, contributing to a stellar performance by the group as a whole. There was a fair amount of fan interaction, with a handful of stagedivers, a lot of finger-pointing and a very loud crowd.

While the band mostly skipped fan favorites such as “I Tore You Apart in my Head” off of 2011’s Separation, their set was a fantastic balance of old and new, and proved that this band is beyond worthy of headlining their own tours.

 

I’m a band geek and proud of it!

by Ashley Winward | October 8, 2014

Band Geek. A stereotype that has been passed down the high school food chain for generations. While some consider the stigma to be negative, those who have devoted their life to the band wear it with pride. I’ve been in marching band for nearly a decade and of all the reasons, moments and experiences, I’ve decided that these are the five reasons (in no particular order) being a “band geek” is truly better than anything else.

UNH marching band (Photo provided by Sheehan High School)

UNH marching band (Photo provided by Sheehan High School)

1.The Experiences: Being in a marching band opens you up to a lot of experiences that “normal” people never get to experience. In my band career, I’ve been able to perform at places like Shea Stadium, Citi Field and Disneyworld. Those long bus rides, going behind the scenes at some of the most interesting venues and all the sights that nobody knows about make for unique experiences that bring bands closer together. There are very few people in this world who can say that they led Mickey Mouse to Cinderella’s castle! Think about any Grammy performance or VMAs or music video that a marching band has randomly showed up in; nine times out of ten times, that’s an actual established marching band that officially have a better party story than you.

2.The Jokes: No, I’m not talking about “this one time at band camp” kind of jokes. I’m talking about which sections are nothing, but treble and how every show has to have a good nacho moment. Musicians, and more specifically marching band kids, pretty much have their own language and its fun to have those inside jokes that nobody will understand. Even just mentioning a set number could send someone into a fit of laughter (or maybe that’s just the exhaustion talking).

3.The People: For those who think all band kids are “nerds,” I would like to start out mentioning that people like Gwen Stefani (flute), Bill Clinton (saxophone), Jimmy Kimmel (clarinet) and Steven Tyler (trumpet) have all been band kids at one point or another. Even within the past year, I’ve gotten to geek out with one of my personal idols, Cody Carson of Set It Off, about which clarinet reeds are the best. The people you meet in marching band are one of a kind (for better or worse) and I am proud to say that some of my best friends, and lifelong friends, are friends I made in band. You really get to know people when you spend the equivalent of two days a week with people for months on end.

4.The Feeling on The Field: When I think about this, I’m always brought back to the same show. It was my sophomore year here at UNH and we traveled to Stonehill, Mass. for an away game. They sat us in the end zone in folding chairs because we weren’t allowed to sit in the stands. Upon walking onto the field we were promptly booed by the entire crowd; never in my life had my band ever been booed upon entering the field. I was shocked, to say the least, but there was an energy in that performance like no other. By our last note the crowd was up on their feet cheering and dancing along with us. Being able to have that effect, that impact on people, is unreal. As a performer, in any musical discipline, there is no better sense of euphoria than hitting a section that hasn’t been sounding right or nailing a shape and having the crowd react to it. I live for that moment and to know those moments are coming to an end for me is really hard.

5.The Music: One of the things we really stress here at UNHCMB is the fact that we all come from different walks of life. We represent nearly every major on campus, all have different backgrounds and personal things going on and yet all 220 people come together on weekends and twice a week, putting everything else aside, and join each other on the sidelines to make beautiful music.
It’s what connects us: the love of the music. It’s the reason we walk in step with strangers at the grocery store, why we can’t hear a certain song on the radio anymore without doing the visual from three seasons ago, why we’re constantly meowing rhythms in our heads. We love music. It doesn’t get much simpler than that and I love it.

So the next time you see someone fumbling with their case across the quad or a flock of grumpy looking band kids walking up to North at 7:30 a.m., on a Saturday morning realize that this isn’t just some cute little hobby, but a lifestyle. It’s a passion that I wish everyone could experience just once in their lives. Then maybe this “geek” stigma might go away or, better yet, be applauded. There may be rough seasons and long rehearsals, but I wouldn’t take my decision back for the world. Rock on band kids, happy banding!

Breaking news: Swimsuit Sprint Artist Revealed!

by Ashley Winward | October 7, 2014

In this week’s edition of The Late Night Charge, the UNH Communication Club’s bi-weekly talk show, a big announcement began the homecoming hype. The brothers of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, alongside SCOPE, announced their third annual Swimsuit Sprint, which will take place on the eve of Homecoming, Friday October 24 at 8 p.m. Sammy Adams will be taking the crowd by storm as they take it off to make a difference.

Sammy Adams will perform at UNH on Oct. 24 (AP Photo)

Sammy Adams will perform at UNH on Oct. 24 (AP Photo)

The Swimsuit Sprint has become a tradition on this campus now where students show up to Kayo Field wearing bathing suits under clothes they would like to donate to charity. They then strip down for the cause and sprint around the campus before entering the Residential Quad for a high energy concert. SAE Brother Travis McHugh shared his excitement for the event with Late Night Charge hosts Joe Brown and Dave Puglisi, mentioning that they are hoping to collect a record breaking amount of clothes this year; last year totaled out at around 800 pounds.

While baring all for the cause is not necessary for entry into the show, sprinters do get first priority entry into the concert as well as first dibs at the free commemorative T-Shirt.

Sammy Adams is a rap artist out of Boston, Mass. known for hits such as “All Night Longer” and “Driving Me Crazy.” His popularity amongst the college age crowd made him a perfect choice for the event and there is no doubt this will bring a lot of energy into the start of Homecoming Weekend. It’ll be almost one year since his EP Homecoming came out and he’s looking to put out his debut full length album under RCA in the coming year.

Adams will mark the third rap artist to headline the Swimsuit Sprint, with previous performers including Chiddy Bang and Connecticut native Chris Webby.

Come take it off for a cause and support not only Sammy Adams, but the brotherhood of SAE as they put on one of the largest philanthropic events this campus has ever seen!

Hurts So Good

by Glenn Rohrbacker | October 1, 2014

One characteristic of our generation of music today is the fact that, while new artists are producing new music, old artists are producing new music as well. This continuing clash will soon get larger and larger as time goes on.

John Mellencamp, who got his start in 1976, just released his twenty-second album on Sept. 27 (AP photo)

John Mellencamp, who got his start in 1976, just released his twenty-second album on Sept. 27 (AP photo)

We think of artists like the Beatles, Billy Joel, the Rolling Stones and many others as being “classics.” However, while most of these musicians still make music, do we consider these new songs classics too? How could we? We grew up on songs like “Let it Be” and “Piano Man,” so it’s hard to compare songs we’ve just always known with songs that are similar but are in a time where the “music norm” is different. The most recent addition to this list of classic artists who are still kickin’ is John Mellencamp. You may have heard of songs like “Hurts So Good,” “Jack & Diane” and “Little Pink Houses.” Mellencamp released his twenty-second (yes, that’s right) studio album this week, titled Plain Spoken. At 62 years old, you can hear the age in his raspy voice that seems to be following a Bob Dylan path. John Mellencamp slowed this album down a bit with several ballads in his country-rock style of songwriting. The single, “Troubled Man,” was the first song released on this album. He really sticks true to his album title on this one, really speaking from the heart and singing about life. The blues track “Lawless Times” is about political corruption and disrupt, which is a topic we seldom see written about in today’s music. A really sentimental message comes out of “Tears of Vain,” which talks about heartbreak and dealing with that struggle. To be honest, there was very little difference of creative thinking between songs, because all of them sound relatively the same. Maybe that’s just what happens when you’ve been around since the late ‘70’s and recorded 22 albums. Will this be the last we hear from John Mellencamp? Probably not. But I think it’s safe to say that there are some artists that we still look forward to their new releases, even after all these years, and then some we don’t as much. I have to hand it to Mellencamp though; at 62, he still can bring all of the emotion and heart into a song and leave you thinking. It’s too bad that Plain Spoken didn’t turn out to be a turnaround album for him or a comeback of sorts. I’m just glad that musicians from back in the day are still spreading their influence.

Matty Mullins’ solo album is on fire!

by Katerina Sperl | October 1, 2014

I have a confession. I had not heard of Matty Mullins before now, but after reviewing his self-titled album, I won’t forget his name in the distant future.

Matty Mullins released his debut solo album on Sept. 23  (Photo obtained via Facebook)

Matty Mullins released his debut solo album on Sept. 23
(Photo obtained via Facebook)

Mullins is the frontman for Memphis May Fire, but released his debut solo album on Sept. 23. Out of the eleven tracks, I have to admit that some are more memorable than others. “Speak to Me” seems the most worthy of head-banging. There is a need that is apparent—a need for love, attention and another person. Behind the vocals, the instrumental mix is steady but far from boring. “My Dear” borders the pop, electric and punk rock genres. The beat is a bit repetitive, but the lyrics are better than most pop songs of our day. The variation and relatability make the song more emotional. There is fear, love and support through the song. It is one of those songs you want to imagine being sung to you. “99% Soul” is probably the most popular track on the album. If you are looking to get an overview of what to expect from Mullins, this is probably some of his best work so far. It shows his vocal capabilities and the percussion doesn’t distract from him like it does on some of the other songs. “Right Here, Right Now” is extremely reassuring; it spreads the message of living in the moment and not needing anything else. My personal favorite part of the song is the interlude about two minutes in, when the background gets a bit more techno for a minute.

Black Keys at the Barclays

by Kaitlin Mahar | September 25, 2014

On Wed, Sept. 24, Assistant Editor Elissa Sanci and I went to see the Indie Rock duo The Black Keys of Akron, Ohio with opening Alternative Rock band Cage the Elephant of Bowling Green, Ky. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Ny.

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Ny (Photo by Elissa Sanci/Charger Bulletin)

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Ny (Photo by Elissa Sanci/Charger Bulletin)

As a longtime fan of both acts performing on The Black Keys’ Turn Blue tour, I had high hopes for the show, and was far from disappointed. On first came Cage the Elephant, who kept the audience pumped up throughout their set, which included older hits, such as “Back Against the Wall” and “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” both from the band’s self-titled album of 2008, as well as hit single “Come a Little Closer,” off their most recent album, Melophobia. The high-energy antics of frontman Matt Shultz, which included spastic dance moves, crowd surfing, and stage diving, didn’t hurt either.

Given the relatively somber tone of The Black Keys’ latest album, Turn Blue, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the show other than knowing the band’s reputation for being fantastic live. Fueled by a brutal divorce between Dan Auerbach and now ex-wife Stephanie Gonis, Turn Blue serves as a musical time stamp to commemorate the grueling and emotionally draining year Auerbach endured.

However, the band kept their set upbeat with popular hits like “Tighten Up,” off the 2010 album Brothers, “Lonely Boy” and “Gold on the Ceiling,” from their 2011 album El Camino, along with newer tracks off their 2014 album, Turn Blue, which includes their latest single “Fever.” After an 18-song set, the Black Keys returned to the stage for a three-song encore, during which they sang  “Turn Blue,” “Weight of Love,” both of which are from their latest album, and “Little Black Submarines” from El Camino.

My favorite song of the set, however, was definitely The Black Keys’ cover of Edwyn Collins’ 1995 single “Girl Like You.” Auerbach’s vocals and guitar riffs during the song added a haunting, James Bond-esque vibe to the already soulful hit, while Pat Carney’s intensely skillful drumming gave the song a modern rock and roll twist.

Overall, the energy and passion of both The Black Keys and Cage the Elephant filled the stadium, from the pit to the nosebleeds, and there was not a moment the crowd wasn’t on it’s feet. If I had to make one complaint, I’d have to say that I wish the show had lasted longer.

The Train is Not Stopping

by Glenn Rohrbacker | September 24, 2014

We all know Train. “Drops of Jupiter:” a classic. “Hey, Soul Sister:” either made or ruined your summer in 2010.

Train released their seventh studio album was released on Sept. 16 (AP photo)

Train released their seventh studio album was released on Sept. 16 (AP photo)

Many other songs have reached our hearts and ruined our voices. One can’t help but wonder what we could have had those years that Train took their hiatus. But obviously they took that time to regroup, and because of that, they came out stronger.

Train released their seventh studio album this week titled Bulletproof Picasso. It’s their third album release since their return to the stage in 2010.

I have to say, I was so excited for this release when the first single, “Angel in Blue Jeans,” was released. It seems like every modern soft rock artist is trying a western track (or in John Mayer’s case, an album or two). This may seem like a stretch for Train, especially for a voice like Pat Monahan’s, but they absolutely killed it. The rest of the album is also incredible. Song after song, you just want to jam out.

The first single released off of the album was “Angel in Blue Jeans.” This western influenced song also features Danny Trejo in the epic music video that makes you want the song to go on even longer. “Cadillac, Cadillac” was the second single released and slightly resembles the old rhyme “Patty-cake” if you really listen to it. But it is definitely different in the sense that it has a grunge rock feel to it; a different sound for Train, but definitely fitting.

The title track, “Bulletproof Picasso,” is a very typical Train sound, but nonetheless awesome. It has an uplifting nature and inspiring message behind it. The ballad “Don’t Grow Up Too Fast” shows off Pat Monahan’s soft side and vocal control. It has the potential to reach the heart of anyone, but more especially to the parents out there (also it would be a good song for a father-daughter dance at a wedding or Sweet 16).

“The Bridge” is a song you just want to dance to. It has a fast and catchy beat and sing-a-long worthy lyrics. “Wonder What Your Doing for the Rest of Your Life” is another definitely danceable song that features vocals by Marsha Ambrosius. “Give it All” is an uplifting power ballad that is about wanting just one more night with a special someone, but knowing that they have to go. Pat really puts his soul and emotion behind that song to make you really feel it too.

Basically, what I’m saying is Train really knocked it out of the park with this album. I just downloaded it and I already can’t wait for the next one. I would definitely recommend this album to current Train fans, previous Train fans or people who only know the two songs I previously mentioned. I can’t wait to see what Train releases next.

Bulletproof Picasso definitely shows that Train is definitely not stopping.

Catalina Gonzalez will be running through your mind in no time

by Ashley Winward | September 24, 2014

Being a member of the University of New Haven community has led me to meet so many talented people in so many different fields.

Catalina Gonzalez (Photo by Kara Zavaglio)

Catalina Gonzalez (Photo by Kara Zavaglio)

Catalina Gonzalez has been no exception.

Hailing from Santiago, Chile, the senior here at UNH has made a name for herself in the local music community and is looking to expand out with new music opportunities. Over the past few years she’s put out two EPs, Old Soul, New Voice and Game Of Words, with plenty of fun covers along the way including her “Song Sunday” installments you can check out on YouTube. She released her newest EP last semester, Roadrunner, and I think it truly shows her versatility as a songstress and her power as a vocalist!

The EP opens with the title track “Roadrunner” that is reminiscent of an old bluesy rock track. The chugging guitar line evokes a ZZ Top vibe while Gonzalez croons about chasing after a “roadrunner” love. The next track, “To Forget You,” goes in a completely new direction, taking me to a distant island with the reggae harmonies and again that very distinctive guitar setting the tone for the song. For me, the best was certainly saved for last with the very slinky and sultry “My Man.” The mysterious verses opened up to a powerful wailing chorus that absolutely blew me away with an organ part that felt like I was being taken to church.

There is no low point to this EP, no filler track to take up space and nothing missing from my musical palate. I can really appreciate artists who put out short EPs like Roadrunner because it’s a sampling of short songs that all show such strength. I would much rather a short brilliantly crafted EP over a full length that has sub-par filler tracks.

All in all, Catalina Gonzalez hit this one out of the park. You can pick it up for yourself at catalinagonzalez.bandcamp.com as well as her other EPs and cover singles. You can also find her on Facebook or on her website at Catalinagonzalezmusic.com. Her next show in the area will be at Two Roads Brewery in Stratford, so be sure to go support!

It’s been awesome for me personally to watch Gonzalez go from performing at the freshman talent show singing Adele to now putting out great original music. Hopefully it won’t be long before I can say that the girl on TV winning a Grammy went to my alma mater!

Jill Jensen: Stages

by Elyse Von Der Fecht | September 24, 2014

Jill Jensen is a guitarist, pianist, saxophonist, violinist and bassist. She also plays the ukulele and drums. Jensen is a 22-year-old singer-songwriter from Massachusetts. She has been singing since the age of two and writing and composing her own music since the age of eight.

Jill Jensen (Photo obtained via Facebook)

Jill Jensen (Photo obtained via Facebook)

Since then, she released two albums, including her original songs. She has written and composed well over 100 different songs, which is incredible. She appeared on the X-Factor Season two in 2012, as well as American Idol XIII in 2014.

On July 8, she released her first single “In Your Arms,” and it’s a bonus track off her album Stages, which was released on September 15. This is what I thought of her heart-felt songs.

I’m Movin’ On”: As I listened to this song, I enjoyed her vocals as she sang her heart out and you could feel her passion and intensity.

Breakin’ You”: In this song having backup vocals for the harmonies was a great jester to the song. As well as the little giggle in between her lyrics, I thought it was a nice touch.

I Deserve Better”: Jill’s voice in this song is steady throughout the whole song and she can hit those notes perfectly. I can feel her pain as she sings this song and she knows how to really connect with her fans through her songs. It’s very touching to hear.

Who I Wanna Be”: To me this might be my favorite off her album, because it’s different from the other songs on the album. When I listened to it something about her lyrics hooked me and I couldn’t help but put the song on repeat.

Lullaby”: Her lyrics for the song accompanied by the rhythm and melody, which flows together perfectly and gives the song that extra push.

He’s No You”: Listening to this song, made me think how many people can relate to her message as saying that the person you look at is nothing compared to your significant other.

Morning Thoughts”: I believe when you listen to this song it gives you a different perspective on the way others may think. It makes you wonder if you do the same as you wake up in the morning.

Let Love Start”: This song took my mind deep into the song listening to the lyrics of what she was singing, and the message was remembering.

Sit Back, Watch & Criticize”: In this song, you can really hear her raspy voice which made the song stand out with her unique style. Having that tone as she sings makes her different because not everyone sounds like that when they sing.

The Plan”: I think ending the album with this song was genius because it leaves the listeners with her passionate vocals. She also adds her own twist to the song and really holds out some of those notes.

Jill Jensen knows how to get the crowd ready for a show; don’t miss out on a chance to see her live.

Livewell’s Latest

by Shannon Livewell | September 24, 2014

wit•ty
‘witē/
adjective
1. Showing or characterized by quick and inventive verbal humor.
“a witty remark”

When he first started his musical career, Witty went through the dictionary and found a word that described his humor, his—for lack of a better word—wittiness.

Witt Lowry (Photo supplied by Lowry’s management)

Witt Lowry (Photo supplied by Lowry’s management)

With his progressive change in his music and the meaning behind it, Witty found it would only make sense to mature his artist alias as well. From Witty to Witt Lowry. Dropping the “y,” and creating a “last name” by using a variation of his middle name Lawerance, after his grandfather who is a strong inspiration in his life. The name change also makes his music more easily searchable.

I was fortunate enough to speak with Witt Lowry about his career and recent developments. This is an artist who is taking music back to basics. The type of artist who speaks the truth regardless of what the outcome may be.

“I decided to pursue music as a career after I graduated from college,” Lowry explained. “I spent some time after graduation doing free-lance graphic design for the WWE. It was everything I had wanted from the time I first went to school, but once I was in the nine to five grind, I realized it was far from my dream. Photoshopping John Cena and The Rock became monotonous, and I realized I wanted to be the guy people were photoshopping, not the one sitting behind the desk.”

“I was just really unhappy, and I started working on Kindest Regards [his first mixtape] before I graduated, but hadn’t had much time to dedicate to it because of ‘real life.’ I knew it was time to just stop everything and focus on my music. I was passionate about it, and knew if I focused on it I’d be able to make it grow.”

You would think that an artist who writes so personally would have trouble performing live, but Lowry actually says the opposite.

“I actually choose my most emotional songs when composing a set,” he said. “This past weekend I did my first string of shows, from NYC to Boston to Rhode Island, and I knew to grab people’s attention I had to talk about the stuff that mattered. I didn’t want to be a typical performer who just paces across the stage, where all you hear is clanging glasses and various conversations, I wanted to be the reason people couldn’t look away. I wanted to spill my soul on the stage.”

Spilling his soul is exactly what Lowry does on and off the stage. His music can become the anthem of anyone feeling heartbreak, loss, happiness, or love. It’s not necessarily what he says though, it’s how he says it.

“The writing process is pretty simplistic for me,” Lowry described. “The notes on my phone are filled with one-liners, and the hardest part is not being able to fit a certain line in where I want it to go. There’s an element of having to let go that is really hard when you envision something else, but you have to just realize that nothing is set in stone and the creative process is kind of never-ending.”
Lowry is so inspiring to his listeners, and he says he realized this when Kindest Regards first came out.

“People said that mixtape changed their lives and it was humbling,” he said. “Opening up is so easy for me to do because I’m the type of person who is always truthful and honest, not to mention it helps me vent everything… like a coping mechanism,” he explained.

“The toughest part of it all is wondering if the people I write about will hear it and get mad or upset, but then I have to remind myself that people always know where they stand with me. I wouldn’t put anything in a song that I wouldn’t say to them in person. I just highlight the truth of what they did, and let the listeners take what they feel from it.”

While Lowry so easily inspires everyone else, his strongest inspirations in his life make his career worthwhile.

“Anytime I feel like I’ve had enough or I’m too tired I just think of my Mom. My mom has sacrificed a lot for me in her life, and I feel like it’s the least I can do to give back to her. I want us to be at a point where she doesn’t have to work thanks to me. She just really helps me push through. My grandfather is the wisest man I’ve ever met, and is so important to me as well.”

As for his musical influences, they are a bit harder to predict by his sound than other artists of his caliber.

“Musically Eminem, Macklemore, and Hopsin are inspiring to me with the way they go about making music. It’s not necessarily their sound that I model my music after, but the way that they convey their messages.”

Lowry’s latest track, Lay Here, is a true example of his poetic abilities, passionate truths, and relatable words. Produced by Tido Vegas, the sample on this track was taken from James Bay’s “Let It Go” and is cohesive to the story that Lowry tells as each verse unfolds.

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