Black Oak Takes Off with Post Rock Innovators

Mac Trainor, Contributing Writer

The SUNY Collective’s show this past Thursday at The Black Oak was a great demonstration that there is, and has always been, a supporting scene to local and regional musical talent in Oneonta. Featuring Long Island progressive rockers Exemption, with local acts Lights on the Horizon and Take Off, the show was energetic, talented and simply a great time.
With the indie rock duo Take Off, featuring Oneonta students John Graziul and Rich Rogers opening the show, the scene was set with fast paced and in-your-face rhythm sections, a perfect example of two guys just getting together to play original music for others to enjoy. The post rock trio Lights on the Horizon, consisting of Luke Rock, Seth Masten and James Walrus came second, continuing the previous act’s vibes with a salvo of well-written, well-performed originals. Started just this past year, the band’s work is inspired by other post rock bands such as Explosions in the Sky, El Ten Eleven and This Will Destroy You. With shredding guitar lines, incredible bass solos and spot-on timing on drums, LotH has gained a loyal fanbase on our campus.
When Exemption hit the floor, the scene was set. Without a moment’s hesitation, the band dove into their first song. With fast riffs and odd-meter time signatures, the band displayed the aggressive characteristics of a prog rock band while still maintaining gritty and easy to follow breakdowns that kept the heads (and hair) in the Oak flying. With a few EPs in the last decade under the band’s belt, Exemption’s latest full length release “Public Cemetery Party” has received great reviews. Regarded as one of the most skilled unsigned acts in the Long Island area, Exemption delivered the expected hype.
This small city of Oneonta has many ways to get involved in local shows. We as a student body have brought our tastes and contemporary culture to this remote area every year for the last century, and this show displays real local talent that cannot be imitated elsewhere. Our time as college students is limited, so we should embrace and add to the music scene we create around us for the time we have. Check out these local band pages online, and check out the next show flyer on campus you may have grown a habit to ignore. Next weekend when you turn on your television, laptop or radio for entertainment, remember that pure, live local talent is only a bus ride away.

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