Student bands defy expectations: Noteworty Releases

Posted by Kara Clark

Student bands can be categorized easily enough; we have our party bands, bands that "just jam" and a couple jazz-influenced groups.

But on Feb. 10 Lively Lucy's show proved that two bands on campus avoid this type of pigeonholing.

Bailiwick and The-Hand-Me-Downs have cemented their presence on campus, a presence they've defined on their own terms, respectively.

The Hand-Me-Downs kicked off the show, immediately inspiring the audience to dance and be at ease.

Lead singer Eli Dreyfus's vivacious energy, matched by the presence of ‘The Emily's,' (Emily Barker and Emily Conner-Simmons) the Hand-Me-Downs additional vocalists, created a jubilant atmosphere.

The Hand-Me-Downs boasted a specific song set; Buried Treasure, Friendship and Zombie attacks are often referenced in the band's lyrics.

However, the Hand-Me-Downs did not appear to be infantile. The audience was more than willing to buy into whatever the Hand-Me-Downs chose to discuss in their songs.

Although the band's persona is a carefree one, the Hand-Me-Downs musicians are obviously skilled. The rhythm section of the band (Stephen Yell on Drums and Jake Mazur-Warren on the bass) kept the set steady while Sam Smith and Dreyfus clearly displayed mastery of the guitar.

The Hand-Me-Downs also teamed up with Bailiwick for one song, a cover of Neutral Milk Hotel's "Holland 1945." Both bands on stage together were truly an event, one that both bands clearly enjoyed.

Perhaps the audience thought the surge of energy exuded by the Hand-Me-Downs would be subdued by Bailiwick's acoustic set; this notion quickly vanished as the band began its first song.

The audience could easily forget that this set was unplugged; Bailiwick radiated an active energy that most acoustic bands fail to provide.

Due to the incorporation of three new songs and a seamless set, Bailiwick's portion of the show further legitimized every one of its performances to date, and simultaneously proved to its listeners that Bailiwick will always have something new to offer.

For this show, Bailiwick introduced several new elements to its performance, and further developed others that it had only lightly explored previously.

Bailiwick set provided more group vocal work, including rounds and more complex harmonies, giving violinists Jane Esterquest and Colin Manjoney as much singing opportunity as guitarists Ned Porter and Brett Hartman.

The band also implemented more percussion into its performance, twice calling Yell of the Hand-Me-Downs to the stage for assistance. For one song Ned Porter even produced a Glockenspiel.

By pairing skilled musicianship and atypical style, both bands have created a solid band foundation for themselves.

The Hand-Me-Downs and Bailiwick have set themselves up for success within the college community, or anywhere else they intend to take their music.

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