Jack Downey ’23
It has been a joyous return to Providence College’s campus so far this spring semester, despite the looming threat of the Omicron COVID-19 variant. This sense of joy was apparent at McPhail’s on Friday, Jan. 21, when local band The Breeze took over the student entertainment center and absolutely rocked the house.
Despite only being a group for six months, The Breeze exhibited remarkable talent. With its lineup consisting of two Providence College students, Jordan McBride ’23 (keys) and Julia Carson ’25 (vocals), the five-piece band—occasionally expanding to six when Carson’s brother Ben joined on vocals and guitar—blew through four hours of material spanning multiple decades and genres.
The Breeze immediately captured the attention of the packed bar by opening with “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5. More and more people gave their attention as the band continued playing. At one point, Carson, who is also a member of PC a cappella group Strictly Speaking, called up Shannon Flaherty ’24 to perform a duet version of “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse, a performance that went over well with the crowd—particularly with other members of Strictly Speaking.
As the night went on, the group played more and more hits. Songs by 5 Seconds Of Summer, Taylor Swift, and Miranda Lambert had people screaming along. The Breeze also performed an impressive medley of ’80s hits that included “Your Love” by The Outfield, “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield, and “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams. One standout from the group’s ’80s tracks was “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by The Police, a surprising but tasteful choice.
However, the defining moment of the night was when the band played “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas. Starting the song off with a killer drum solo, the band’s opening notes had the crowd going wild. People stormed the floor and began dancing and headbanging to the rock and roll classic. After that moment, the crowd was fully in the palm of the band’s hand. They then played “The Real Me” by The Who, another deep cut that impressed any rock aficionados in the audience. The rendition went on for quite some time, giving every band member a chance to show off their chops. The Breeze continued in the rock vein with their rendition of “Paradise City” by Guns N’ Roses. Members of the audience were stretching their vocal ranges to compete with Carson, who had no difficulty echoing the mighty vocal highs of Axl Rose.
In addition to their magnificent skills, the band was very energetic, with a stage presence that prevented people from looking away. Carson was a wonderfully charismatic singer, and even McBride was jumping up and down behind his keys. Despite the fact that there were other events going on around campus that night, the crowd had hardly diminished by the halfway point, as people could not get enough of the energy that emanated from the stage.
Overall, the show was a phenomenally good time, and it was certainly a performance that people will be talking about for a long time to come. Needless to say, PC students look forward to The Breeze’s return, not to mention the concerts at McPhail’s that are to come this semester.