Local Look: The Music Scene in Warwick, RI

by John Downey '23 on March 4, 2021
A&E Co-Editor

Arts & Entertainment

Young Artists Display Remarkable Grit and Talent

by Jack Downey ’23 A&E Staff

Ever since I started attending Providence College back in 2019, and even before then, I have made it my mission to acquaint myself with as many local scenes in the state of Rhode Island as possible. Throughout my time at the College last year, I met various bands, most of them situated in either Providence or the area surrounding the University of Rhode Island. However, I came across a scene over this past summer that immediately gripped me: that of Warwick, RI.

The Dirty Mushrooms practicing in Warwick. From left: Omega (bass and vocals), Viizzy (drums), and Emmett Clarendon (guitar). JACK DOWNEY ’23 / THE COWL

What grabbed my attention most about Warwick was the pure, unadulterated creative energy that permeated every corner of the scene. Even if the sounds of some of the bands are not the most original, the energy and passion behind the music makes up for this deficit, and then some. 

Warwick is a scene dominated by ideas. This is not a group of bands that plays a few shows and wait for greatness to be handed to them; these bands claw and fight with every song they release and show they play, depending on COVID-19 restrictions. 

Some bands fall along the way. In the six months that I have been following this scene, I have seen a shocking number of bands come and go. However, when this happens, the members of these bands get up, dust themselves off, and then form new bands. It is quite phenomenal and inspiring to witness the tenacity of these musicians.

Two of the most exciting bands in this scene are The Dream Thieves and The Dirty Mushrooms. The Dream Thieves, formerly known as Vertigo, are what can be described as a heavy alternative rock band, though that is hardly a sufficient description. This band incorporates elements of grunge, shoegaze, metal, and indie rock, among other genres, into a heady and hypnotising brew of loud sounds. 

As Vertigo, the band experienced several lineup shifts, leaving guitarist and singer J Tack as the only remaining original member. However, this fallout has not even come close to stopping him: Tack has continued to develop and enhance the band’s sound. Utilizing a dizzying array of effects that are swamped in fuzz, Tack’s guitar is like a fighter jet, gliding through the air while unleashing a torrent of fire on the listener in what is a thoroughly thrilling experience. His vocals cut and burn through this wall of noise as he screams and croons with raw passion. Bass player Meg Pereira adds to this wall by delivering pummeling bass riffs that are also incredibly versatile and melodic. Also, the drummer—who may or may not be me—is pretty decent if I do say so myself.

The Dream Thieves (then known as Vertigo) performing at a livestream event at JamStage in Pawtucket. From left: Meg Pereira (bass) and J Tack (guitar and vocals).

The Dirty Mushrooms are a band that has converted everyone who has come into contact with them into a disciple of their music. The core duo behind this band are none other than OmegaKami and Viizzy, two of the rappers from Nycto Mafia, as mentioned in The Cowl’s article titled  “A Look at Providence’s Underground Rap Scene” from the Feb. 25 issue. In this band, Omega plays bass and sings while Viizzy plays drums. Emmett Clarendon, guitarist and all-around musical master, is also in the band. 

Dubbed by the members as “experimental hardcore,” the sound that comes from this band is unlike anything I have ever heard. Omega punishes his bass, which is normally missing strings, while screaming at the top of his lungs. Viizzy’s drumming is beyond talented, combining the straightforward furiosity of hardcore punk with subtle touches that put him in a drumming league of his own. On top of all of this, Claredon’s guitar spices up the music by providing extra melody to flesh out the rhythm made by the roaring bass. Whether the songs are brooding and gloomy, or animalistic and rage-filled, The Dirty Mushrooms are one of the most intriguing and exciting bands in the state. Their demo EPs can be found on YouTube.

Outside of these two bands, other amazing bands and musicians are quickly building a name for themselves. There is The Joy Bombs, a metal band that is quickly gaining a following; Trve G0th, a musician who dabbles in everything from post punk to beats to folk punk; The Sanita Experiment, which combines gothic textures with metal’s power; and a currently unnamed riot grrrl band, which promises to be really exciting. “Exciting” is truly the word to describe the Warwick scene: the creativity and originality in the scene sets it apart from many others, and for that reason, it is worth all the attention it gets.