Michael Bonanni, Senior Staff Writer
Last Thursday, the Oneonta Music Industry Club and an organization known as #Occupy Local Shows teamed up to bring a local pop-punk experience to the Hunt Union Waterfront. There were a variety of different styles and personalities on the stage and it made for a dynamic show that kept the head bobs going for quite a while.
#Occupy Local Shows is run by Oneonta student Elio Vezza along with D.Jay and Henry Menzel from the New Jersey ska band Survey Says! [sic]. The goal of the organization is to help book shows for local touring bands; the people of #Occupy Local Shows are from touring bands themselves. “We’ve been doing this for a little under a year,” said Vezza, and before the event mentioned, “This is going to be our first school show.”
The line-up for this show featured bands such as the head lining act Far From Proper, The Hotel Year, The Pants, Firestarter and the show’s opener Ignition. Ignition was one of the more unique bands that played that night. The three piece band seemed to be an instrumental jam band with some very catchy riffs. Their sound is most like Sun Of Pearl and switched between heavy and clean guitar sounds. They overall seemed to be a really tight band with really good guitar chemistry and a spot on drummer. Unfortunately, the set felt a bit too short and the room hadn’t filled up enough yet to request a proper encore.
Up next, Firestarter gave the show the first signs of a true pop-punk sound. Everything got really lively and the band got the crowd dancing around a bit. They had the driving drum beats, the heavy guitar chords and songs about growing up. Firestarter played a solid set that had an important a role in pushing the show’s momentum forward.
The following performance by The Pants was anything but boring. This band definitely gets the award for most kinetic performance of the night. Every band member was moving around in every song, except for the drummer, who did his best to really hit those beats. They also seemed to be the band with one of the biggest personalities, always doing something to try and keep things from being serious between the audience and themselves. There were some moments where the band seemed to struggle starting a song together, but with a smile and a riff they were back in a groove.
The Pants put themselves out there as a fast and fun pop-punk band that is sure to be entertaining in future shows.
The Hotel Year proceeded to change things up a bit with a slightly more indie rock take on a pop-punk sound. They are a more lyrically driven band and so their sound varied from their show contemporaries. The drumming in The Hotel Year was slower to accentuate their style and often would switch up the speeds during a song.
Finally, Far From Proper wrapped up the show with the same energy from when it started. There were a good amount of people who knew the words to some of their songs and lead vocalist Nick Harrison would often turn the mic over to someone in the crowd. In the middle of the set, everyone went crazy when they did a cover of Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue.” The crowd was singing along and the microphone was surrounded by groups of people whenever it was turned to them. All that was missing was some crowd surfing and it would have been a picture-perfect rock show scene. Even though they didn’t change the song up that much, Far From Proper threw it out there at the perfect time and it was the highlight of the night.
It was a great show that a lot more people should have braved the snow to see. What seemed like an average Oneonta pop-punk show turned out to be one of the best of the year so far. It brought back memories of the acoustic shows from before break with the closeness of the crowd and the fun each band had during their set. The show was also extremely loud, but it added to the fast energy and probably helped to lure in unsuspecting listeners. Everyone that attended seemed to take something away with them from the show, whether they danced in the crowd all night or discovered how human a rock show can feel. It will be very interesting to see what the next #Occupy Local Shows and Music Industry Club collaboration will produce next.