Music Department Rocks for Free

Kate Koenig, Arts Editor

December 3 marked the second in a series of free shows hosted by the Music Industry Club (MIC), this time boasting a bill of four new acts: Take Off, Dylan Bressler, South of America and All But Impossible. The show was held in Room 201 of Fine Arts, a large rehearsal space which is part of the new addition to the building and has seen many concerts since it became open to the department this semester.
A new feature added to this second show was the use of a projector to display visualizations on the wall behind the performers, which, despite apparently being produced by iTunes, contributed well to the overall effect of the live music.
All But Impossible kicked off the show with a set of progressive metal originals. Lead singer and guitarist Justin Volpe fronted with enthusiasm and strong but clear vocals as the quartet played through their set, exhibiting obvious technical proficiency from all members and tightly performed arrangements. Their thrashing in-your-face sound balanced with melodic passages and choruses to make a solid delivery of entertaining hard rock. And for added flair, a friend in a gorilla suit even joined the band on stage for one of their last songs to dance momentarily before jumping back into the audience.
Next up, Dylan Bressler bared his soul as man and guitar alone on stage. Bressler, who also has experience as a drummer, showed skill and confidence on guitar, as well as some impressive songwriting ability. With each song, it was easy to imagine a full band in the background; Bressler brought charisma and a genuinely positive energy to the stage, with powerful hooks and relatable lyrics.
Take Off followed, starting their set with a heavy jam which transitioned into a cover of “Heavy Soul” by the Black Keys. Normally a duet, guitarist Rich Rogers and drummer John Graziul were joined by Will Grandin on bass. Their sound is a mix of stream-of-consciousness jams and more structured songs, often with more jamming thrown into the midst of it all. Devoted to delivering raw, spontaneous and pile-driving rock ‘n’ roll energy, Take Off can be a bit messy at times, but it comes with the territory and they make it work.
Closing the show was South of America, a Rock Combo band fronted by Rachel Borok. Rock Combo is a class offered in the music department where students form rock bands for credit. Despite the typically temporary nature of Rock Combo groups, South of America came across as more than that—they were well-rehearsed, performing all covers but pulling it off with ease, enthusiasm and good musicianship. On-point backup harmonies provided by guitarist Amy Maxwell and bassist Tyler Bailey only added to the experience.
Unfortunately, this show did not see as good of a turnout as the previous one, which had over 100 students in attendance; it looked about less than half that amount the second time around. The free shows, however, seem to be a great platform for local musicians, and we look forward to seeing more of them.

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