Jack Downey ’23
On April 29, music could be heard echoing throughout Providence College’s campus. The reason? WDOM’s annual festival, Stuartstock. Last year, Stuartstock was a bright spot during a gloomy COVID-19 pandemic year. This year’s festival built on that momentum, featuring a positively electric bill with music of all genres.
Kicking off the event was Diego Avila ’22, performing under the stage name A-Fue. A week ago, A-Fue released his newest album, Beast Mode, on all streaming services. Armed with this new material, he took the stage and blew the audience away with his tight flow and emboldened attitude. Even the most diehard rock fans at the show were getting into A-Fue’s music, proving his crossover appeal. Notably, A-Fue delivered verses in Spanish and ended his set with an unreleased track.
Up next was WDOM’s webmaster, Alex Sateriale ’24. Armed with only an acoustic guitar and his voice, Sateriale sang and crooned his way through songs ranging from Foo Fighters’ “Everlong” and Passenger’s “Let Her Go” to Mike Posner’s “I Took a Pill in Ibiza.” The biggest hit of Sateriale’s set was his final song, a cover of 5 Seconds of Summer’s “Youngblood.”
Following Sateriale was twin sibling duo Ava and Paloma Dobski ’25, with the former on guitar and backing vocals while the latter sang lead. The sisters performed an eclectic mix of covers, including “Closer to Fine” by the Indigo Sisters and “Killing Me Softly” by The Fugees. Their harmonies elevated these to new heights and captivated the audience. Similarly to Sateriale, the pair’s final song, “Hey Ya” by OutKast, was their biggest crowd-pleaser. At first, they sang slowly, but picked up the tempo towards the first chorus. At the conclusion of the performance, the Dobskis’ announced that they had disbanded. Truly a tragedy.
Ben Guisto ’24 was next to take the stage. Guisto’s set was notable for its multitude of instruments and guests. He started off with a cover of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets,” which involved him playing a keyboard in classic Elton John fashion. Next, Guisto invited Nick Grilli ’24 to the stage to sing “In The Blood” by John Mayer and Ried Kieper ’24 to the stage to play electric guitar on Cage The Elephant’s “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked.” At the end of his set, he performed an original song called “Madeline,” which left the audience wanting to hear more of his original material.
After Guisto came DJ Houseparty, aka WDOM station technician Kieran Kraus ’23. He put together a catchy and well-connected set of songs that immediately had people dancing. What’s even more impressive is that Kraus also DJ’d 22 Nights, later that day, proving his dedication to his work. Notably, Kraus’s set marked a transition point between the solo/duo acts that kicked Stuartstock off and the bands that would take the stage for the rest of the event.
The first of these bands was a brand new group called The Constellations. Consisting of Reid Kieper ’24 (vocals, guitar), Declan Henry ’24 (vocals, guitar), Griffin May ’24 (bass), and Sean Smith ’24 (drums), the band charmed the audience with three originals and two covers. Much of their set harkened back to the bright, upbeat sound of 60’s rock music, especially their cover of “Twist and Shout.” However, they also had a modern edge to their sound, as apparent in their original song “All or Nothing” and their take on The White Stripes’ “Fell in Love With a Girl.” Overall, their set was thoroughly enjoyable, and the PC community awaits their next appearance with great interest.
Next up were St. Joe and the Dorms, who made their debut at last year’s Stuarstock. With May on vocals and guitar, yours truly on bass and vocals, and Cat Mazo ’22 on drums, the trio powered through classics such as “Help!” by The Beatles and “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones. In typical Dorms fashion, the set ended with an original, “Sometimes I Think,” and Chuck Berry’s rock standard “Johnny B. Goode.” Their charisma and energy had the crowd moving and dancing throughout their entire set, with some people even starting an impromptu mosh pit. It was truly a sight and sound to behold.
Freshman Year, another new band, was next. The group’s core trio was Mason Wasserman ’25 (guitar), Alonso Moreno ’25 (vocals, guitar), and Ryan Peduto ’25 (drums). They were joined by Wes Stephens ’25 (vocals) and Maisie Cocker ’25 (vocals). Stephens’s baritone helped the band glide through songs such as Mac Demarco’s “Freaking Out The Neighborhood” and The Arctic Monkeys’ “Fluorescent Adolescent.” Cocker took the lead on “Heart Shaped Box” by Nirvana and “Where is My Mind?” by The Pixies, with the latter song inspiring some joyous movement. Towards the end of Freshman Year’s set, Moreno took lead vocals on another Nirvana song, “Breed.” Overall, the set was very entertaining, and Freshman Year are certainly a group to watch.
Next up was The Keegan Turner Band, which consists of PC students yours truly (bass) and Colin McNamara ’25 (guitar), as well as the titular Keegan Turner (vocals, guitar) and Dennis Chadwick (drums). The band rocked their way through five original songs and a cover of The Ronettes “Be My Baby.” Recently, the band released their first original single “Prequel Love,” and the live performance of this track generated some serious buzz among the crowd. The highlight of the group’s set was their performance of “Take a Chance,” with its singalong chorus and driving beat getting the crowd moving and singing along.
Finally, PC’s own Fr. Justin and Fr. Peter took the stage as The Hillbilly Thomists to close out the festival. Backed by a magnificent sunset, the two Friars performed classics such as Weezer’s “Island in the Sun” as well as originals such as “Holy Ghost Power.” The soft sounds of acoustic guitar and mandolin swept gently over the campus, making everyone in the audience feel at ease. It was the perfect way to end the event, and everyone left feeling good.
Overall, Stuartstock ’22 was a sensational event, and it will go down as one of the greatest musical celebrations of PC’s 2021-2022 school year.