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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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RYFC Continues With NGHBRS

It was half an hour before show-time on an eerily foggy Monday night.  Outside the doors of the University Café a restless crowd was building up but the doors were closed to the public.  “They’re doing sound check,” the security guard said.  “They’ll start letting people inside in a few minutes.”  The crowd waiting outside was steadily growing when RockYoFaceCase founder and event coordinator Patrice Zapiti poked her head out the door and ensured the crowd it wouldn’t be too much longer but the sound check was a necessity.  Seconds later, Zapiti reappeared with a guitar in one hand and a chair on the other.  Plopping herself onto the chair right in the middle of the crowd, she started playing and singing one of her own songs.  Immediately following, she told the crowd, “Come close and put your arms around each other, this one is a sing-along.”  The crowd, looking very confused, complied with the strange request and as she began to play Green Day’s “Good riddance (Time of Your Life,” the looks of confusion melted as everyone sang along.

Finally the doors opened, and students made their way into the little college bar that had been transformed into something resembling an Asian tearoom, complete with tea.  The Oriental theme, which was inspired by the featured band, NGHBRS, involved the tables decked out in rich ivory and orange tablecloths and adorned with trinkets and bowls of fortune cookies and overhead were brass lanterns.  The set where the first band, Hotel of the Laughing Tree, played was set up similar to a living room.  There were two couches draped in colorful fabric, plush oriental rugs, and five TVs all displaying the NGHBRS logo.

Hotel of the Laughing Tree was the only band to play the special living room set.  Although they were short five band members (typically they play with seven), lead singer and songwriter AJ Astrada and lead guitarist Brandon Peterson picked up the slack pretty well.

“The set is amazing with all the TVs, and obviously the band is amazing,” said Ula Gradowska, a freshman.

Astrada sang the vocals as Peterson sang harmony, and to make up for the lack of musicians, Peterson went between playing a snare drum and a guitar throughout the performance.

When asked about the missing band members, Peterson explained, “They’re all away at school.  We just did a tour, it lasted about a week because that’s how long everyone was home for spring break.”

Despite the distance separating these band members, they still managed to get a spot in Alternative Press’s list of “Top 100 bands to watch in 2011.”

Next band up was Republic of Wolves on the main stage and there was some delay in between performances due to what appeared to be technical problems, and it was some time before everything was set to go, despite the lengthy sound check prior.  There are six band members in the band — three guitarists, a bass player, a drummer, and a keyboardist.  They just barely fit on th etiny UCafé stage but they made it work.  The crowd started to get pretty rowdy, and although some were more so than others, there was definitely some howling.

Their last song, titled “Green Fire,” literally finished the set with a bang.

“The drummer had me mesmerized,” confessed jeremy Benhamroun, a sophomore philosophy major.  “I think I saw him take a chunk out of the cymbal.”

Needless to say, the band left the stage amidst cries for “one more song.”

Next up was Gabriel and the Marine, with front man Mike Desmond and new bassist Jesse Lyons.

“The new bassist just joined like three weeks ago, he used to be in a metal band; I think,” said Brandon Peterson of Hotel of the Laughing Tree.

This could explain why although their music was amazing, their stage presence was slightly off, and weren’t exactly coordinated with each other.  In response to how he knew details about the band, Peterson said, “There’s not that many band in Long Island, so we play all the same venues and get to know each other.  We’re friends with these guys.”

Finally, much later than was scheduled, the featured band NGHBRS went on to the delight of the crowd.  Front man and Stony Brook student Ian Kenny came out on stage with a megaphone and jumped right into the performance with so much energy that he was dripping with sweat by the second song.  in addition to singing, Kenny also played the keyboard.  There are three other band members — a bassist, guitarist and, of course, drums.

The energy continued throughout the set, especially when, during the crescendo of “Drinking with Friends,” guitarist Tommy Fleischman jumped on a high chair standing on the stage and left the overhead stage lights swinging.

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