Therese Ferrara, Contributing Writer
Friday, September 19, marked the opening of the first annual Swankfest at local pub, club and grill, Gallagher’s. The Oneonta alums responsible for the concert, Alex Fredkin and Tommy Sayre, recently started Swanky Media, a full service entertainment company that specializes in event promotion, band management, and concert booking. Fredkin and Sayre put their talent to good use harnessing the potential of young artists and creating a professional atmosphere that exhibited each band’s individual style. The show featured a variety of funk and rock music from SUNY Oneonta bands Ruda Maya, Doses and Mimosas and Naughty.
At 7:00 p.m., the first band, Ruda Maya, took the stage. As the opening band, their job is arguably the most difficult and important. They must hype up the audience and set the tone for the rest of the night. Members of the funk rock band, Russell Somer, Spencer Woodley, Steve Sobers, Taylor Willingham and Shon Lillade did not disappoint. Inspired by Miles Davis, Ruda Maya incorporates great drumming with awesome guitar runs, creating an energetic and dynamic sound. Their style, characterized by long melodic chords, captures a feeling reminiscent to the classic rock era of the 60s and 70s.
Next in the lineup was Doses and Mimosas. The rock group includes Zack Reyes, Tom Barnhart, Joey Torro and Ryan Costello. Their sound resembles that of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. A highlight of their performance was the band’s punk cover of the Neighbourhood’s “Sweater Weather,” featuring a modified beat, which add a newfound dimension to the wildly-loved song.
Naughty wrapped up the night, headlining the Friday night show. Justin Babbino, Lucas Benedict, Patrick Snyder and Andrew Loffler comprise the indie rock band whose eclectic sound is best highlighted in the song “Forget Your Boyfriend.” The cool, catchy song about a controversial relationship combines an upbeat tempo with just the right elements of rock. It is their most popular song, although it was hard to tell because Naughty had their audience going wild throughout their entire set. While the boys have gained a lot of experience since performing for their first time, the newest member of the band, Andrew Loffler, says that playing his first headlining show was “magical” and lead singer Lucas Benedict adds it’s “still hard coming down from a show like that.” With the band members’ demanding and powerful stage presence it is easy to understand why.
Swankfest is an ingenious idea. Fredkin and Sayre showcased their talent as co-hosts and organizers of the show, as well as the industry experience they garnered while at Oneonta. The concert itself is a great way to promote young artists, feature up and coming ones and give back to the college community.
The accommodating nature of the show allowed for students under the age of 21 to experience the concert as well, allowing the bands with otherwise low social media presence to connect with fans, their fellow collegiate students. The fans are not the only people who felt the night was a huge success, both Fredkin and Sayre “are very happy with how Swankfest turned out! All of the bands were great and it seemed like everybody was enjoying themselves. If everyone’s having a good time, we’re having a good time.” With Swankfest such a success this year, Oneonta eagerly awaits to see what the talented duo has planned next.