Tag: Jack Downey ’23
Stuartstock 2023 is the Biggest Yet
by Jack Downey '23 on May 30, 2023
Arts & Entertainment
On April 22, Providence College’s radio station, WDOM, held its annual music festival: Stuartstock. Each year, the club invites student performers of all genres to play for their peers. Over the past few years, the event has quickly grown in size, partially as a response to the pandemic shutting down events, including those featuring live music. This year, the club outdid itself.
The roster for this year’s Stuartstock boasted an impressive 12 acts. There were singer-songwriters, bands, rappers, and even some friars. The event truly had something for everyone. The lineup started with singer-songwriters: Alex Sateriale ’23, Caleigh Lynch ’23, Matty Reynolds, and Ben Guisto ’24 and friends (Reid Keiper ’24, Nick Grilli ’24, and Lily Amadio ’24). DJ Kraus House (Kieran Kraus ’23) changed up the vibes before the bands took the stage: Timeless, The Grapes, The Hopeless Romantics, St. Joe and the Dorms, and Freshman Year. The final acts of the day were KPTN KLEO (Kari Robles ’23) and The Hillbilly Thomists, featuring Father Justin Bolger, O.P. and Father Simon Teller, O.P.
Another aspect of the festival that was different from past Stuartstocks was the location. Typically, the concert takes place on Slavin Lawn with a small stage in front of the Atrium. However, this time around, things were moved to Smith Lawn. Performers played on the brick patio in front of Smith Center for the Arts while audience members sat on the lawn or danced on the road in between. Public Safety actually shut down the traffic loop to prevent any problems, allowing people to stand on the bricks and asphalt without fear of oncoming traffic.
The two biggest obstacles facing the event were the weather, with ominous reports of rain appearing on the horizon as the day grew closer, and a country-themed darty that was taking place down the road. However, the rain held off for the most part, and the concert’s strategic location meant that those who wanted to go to the darty had to walk by the performances. This led to many curious students stopping, at least momentarily, to see what was going on, boosting WDOM’s numbers and leading to more engagement overall. It also meant the two food trucks present, Presto Strange O and Haven Brothers, had no trouble with sales.
Overall, the event was a huge success. Every single act brought their A game, with the gray skies being colored in by soaring harmonies, sweet guitar melodies, pounding drums, and rumbling bass. It was an event where people tried new things, with some inviting up guests who had not performed in front of people before. Most notably, The Hillbilly Thomists went electric for their set, with Fr. Justin Bolger, O.P. picking up an electric guitar and an ensemble of students backing them up. It was an exciting closer for an exciting event, and it only shows how much live music is continuing to grow at Providence College.
Back in 2017, there were three acts total at Stuartstock. In six years, that number has quadrupled. Who knows, maybe we’ll have 48 acts by 2029!
Most Recent PC Music Showcase at The Met Continues Hype
by Jack Downey '23 on May 30, 2023
Arts & Entertainment
In the past year, one of the most anticipated events of each semester is the concert, sometimes plural, at The Met. The last one, which took place in February during the coldest day of the year, was a surprise hit, with nearly 300 people coming together to dance away the icy blast. After that success, the excitement for the follow up was through the roof.
Once people returned for Easter Break, promotion began for the awaited sequel. The lineup would consist of The Hopeless Romantics, The Grapes, and St. Joe and the Dorms. A portion of the proceeds would also go to the Izzy Foundation, a local charity that seeks to aid children with cancer. A flurry of Instagram posts ensued, as well as printed flyers that even made their way down to Eaton Street doorways. Before anyone knew it, the day of the concert had arrived: April 28.
Doors opened at 7:30 p.m., with The Hopeless Romantics going on at 8:00. The band consists of Declan Henry ’24 on vocals and guitar, Reid Kieper ’24 on vocals and guitar, Colin McNamara ’25 on bass, and Sean Smith ’24 on drums. Their set featured a 50/50 split between originals and covers. Old favorites such as “Twist and Shout,” made famous by The Beatles, met new covers, including an energetic take on Counting Crows’ “Accidentally in Love.” They showcased their writing chops as well, with their tried and true songs “She’s the Quiet Kind” and “Maybe We’re Not Meant to Be” mixing with newer tunes such as “Why’d You Have to Lie to Me?” Like a runaway train barreling towards a brick wall, the band tore through these songs with an energy that was only tempered by their attention to detail, making their set quite a compelling experience. Just as suddenly as it started, The Hopeless Romantics’ set wrapped up, and with a bow, the band exited the stage.
The Grapes were up next. On a bittersweet note, this show was the last to feature the classic lineup of Jack Wilmot ’24 (vocals), Ryan Peduto ’25 (guitar), Alex Rzehak ’23 (guitar), Ava Dobski ’25 (bass), and Brendan Greene ’24 (drums) since Rzehak is graduating. However, to send him off, the band played their tightest set to date, with their opener, Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower,” blowing people away. Indie favorites such as Mt. Joy’s “Sheep” met bombastic covers such as Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music.” Each band member was at the top of their form, the songs gelling in a way that showcased serious evolution. The band even played Wilmot’s newest original, the genre-bending “Places I’ve Been.” Despite lineup changes on the horizon, it will be exciting to see what the band does going forward.
Finally, St. Joe and the Dorms took the stage. Working with the classic trio of Griffin May ’24 (vocals, guitar), Jack Downey ’23 (vocals, bass), and TJ Johnson, the band was practically bristling with energy upon picking up their instruments. After an introduction by Father Justin Bolger, O.P., the band tore into The Who’s “My Generation,” followed swiftly by The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” With reckless abandon, the band took on songs of all genres, with The Ramones meeting Kenny Loggins head on. Classic crowd pleaser “Sometimes I Think” was also not the only original, with a newer song, called “Talking to Her” making its way onto the setlist. Towards the end of their set, they decided to mix things up by inviting Peduto back up. At first he was on drums while Johnson hopped on guitar to cover AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.” However, the two switched for the final song in the set: Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.” Someone get me my keys!
The show was a massive success, raising over $1,000 for The Izzy Foundation. A fiery rock show that also benefits charity? Sounds like a win-win in my book!
WDOM/BOP Battle of the Bands Brings Down the House
by Jack Downey '23 on May 29, 2023
Arts & Entertainment
On Saturday, April 15, W.D.O.M. and B.O.P. teamed up to cohost a new event at McPhail’s: a Battle of the Bands. Many other schools in the state have hosted these, so it was exciting to see Providence College generate enough on-campus talent to have one of their own. The bands on the roster were Freshman Year, Wave Goodbye, The Hopeless Romantics, Friday Life, The Grapes, and St. Joe and the Dorms.
Each band brought something special to the table. The amount of dedication and passion on display was truly heartwarming, as was the crowd’s reception. Many people came out to support their friends, highlighting how important audience members are to the live music experience.
Freshman Year went first. Their set consisted of “Cloud 9” by Beach Bunny, “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus, and “Can’t Stop” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. For this performance, the band was fronted by Christina Schwab ’25, and she did a terrific job. Wes Stephens ’25, the bass player, also got a chance to take lead vocals on “Can’t Stop.” Mason Wasserman ’25 and Ryan Peduto ’25 crushed it on guitar and drums, respectively, with Alonso Moreno ’25 showcasing his bass chops on “Can’t Stop.”
Following Freshman Year was Wave Goodbye. The lineup for this band was Jack Downey ’23 on vocals and guitar, Reid Keiper ’24 on guitar, Veronica Butler ’25 on bass, and Sean Smith ’24 on drums. They quickly blasted through three jangly originals written by Downey, which was exciting since they had never been played with a full band before.
The Hopeless Romantics went on third. Easily one of the quickest rising groups on campus, the quartet consists of Declan Henry ’24 on vocals and guitar, Reid Kieper ’24 on vocals and guitar, Colin McNamara ’25 on bass, and Sean Smith ’24 on drums. Starting with one of their most beloved originals, “Maybe We’re Not Meant to Be,” the band had people up on their feet. Even more people took to the floor when they busted out a cover of “Twist and Shout,” most famously done by The Beatles. Finally, the group showcased a newer original called “Why’d You Have to Lie to Me?” a tense indie jam that closed things out with a bang.
Originally, The Keegan Turner Band was supposed to perform next, but due to a last minute unavailability, Friday Life hopped on the bill around an hour in advance. The quickly assembled version of the group consisted of Jack Downey ’23 on vocals and guitar, the founder of the band back in 2017; Brendan Downey ’26 on keys, Colin McNamara ’25 on bass, and Griffin May ’24 on drums. With almost no prep time, the band launched into three originals, including fan favorite “Don’t Depend On Me.” The final song, “Young Adult,” featured Brendan unplugging his keyboard from the PA and allowing members of the audience to play it. This certainly caught people off guard!
The Grapes went on next. Their lineup consisted of Jack Wilmot ’24 on vocals, Ryan Peduto ’25 on guitar, Alex Rzehak ’23 on guitar, Ava Dobski ’25 on bass, and Brendan Greene ’23 on drums. With each performance, this group continues to get tighter, and that was on full display here. The first two songs they performed showcased their funkier side: “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder and “Brick House” by The Commodores. After this, they cranked things up for a smoky rendition of “All Along the Watchtower” in the vein of Jimi Hendrix. Peduto’s blistering solo did the legend justice.
Finally, St. Joe and the Dorms took the stage. Immediately after they plugged in and began playing, the crowd was on their feet and dancing. They kicked things off with “I Wanna be Sedated” by The Ramones before blasting right into “Fight For Your Right” by The Beastie Boys. Finally, they had the crowd singing along to their original “Sometimes I Think.” Griffin May ’24 (vocals, guitar) and Jack Downey ’23 (vocals, bass) hardly spent any time on the ground, while Cat Mazo ’19 laid down some tasty grooves on the kit. It was a spectacular end to a spectacular event.
After some deliberation, the judges (Father Justin Bolger O.P., Father Jordan Zajac O.P., and Father Simon Teller O.P.) came forward with their decision. The rankings: The Grapes and Freshman Year tied for third, St. Joe and the Dorms came in second, and The Hopeless Romantics took home first place. Big congratulations to them. Make sure to follow all these bands on social media and stay tuned regarding their activities going forward.
Concert Review: March 5th at Pub on Park
by Jack Downey '23 on April 8, 2023
Arts & Entertainment
While many PC students went away during spring break, including a large portion of the class of 2023 who went to Punta Cana, some of us remained in the frigid temperatures of New England. However, a recent local show warmed things up significantly.
On March 5, a concert consisting of four bands occurred at Pub on Park in Cranston. The order of the acts was as follows: Neglected Witches, The Hopeless Romantics, Bozo Brain, and Vertigo. Neglected Witches took the stage at around 8:00 P.M., their outfits and stage demeanor immediately catching the attention of the audience. With amps cranked to the max, the band kicked off the show, with even the bass coated in fuzz and distortion. Bassist and singer Quinten Ouellette showcased some remarkable vocal chops, jumping from sinister low tones to shrieking highs and back as if it was child’s play. Guitarists Evan Lachance and Joey Raymond chugged and shredded away on their guitars, and drummer David Costanza kept things moving the entire time. Overall, fans of heavy music should absolutely check this band out.
Following Neglected Witches were The Hopeless Romantics. Something notable to mention about this group is that it is made up entirely of PC students. Declan Henry ’24 and Reid Kieper ’24 both sing and play guitar, Colin McNamara ’25 plays bass, and Sean Smith ’24 plays drums. The last gig this band played was nearly a year ago, so anticipation for their return was high, and The Hopeless Romantics absolutely delivered. Featuring a nice blend of originals and covers, their set had something for everyone. Members of the crowd actually stood up and moved close to the stage during the band’s take on Nirvana’s “School.” Some of the band’s original material also drew positive reactions from the audience, including the songs “If Only I Knew” and “Maybe We Weren’t Meant to Be.” This band is definitely one PC students should check out.
Up next was Bozo Brain, a two piece hardcore band featuring Meg Pereira on bass and vocals and Tate Lymburner on drums, though the two switched off at one point during the set. While it might seem as though a two piece band would have a hard time creating enough sound to entertain an audience at a rock show, this couldn’t have been farther from the truth. With Pereira’s amp being channeled through multiple effects pedals and two amps, the sound of her bass was massive, and Lymburner’s drumming added a steady backbeat under the wall of sound. From the opening song “Bozo Brain,” which serves as a mission statement for the band, the crowd was hooked by the pounding melodies and powerful lyrics. In a scene where hardcore bands are as numerous as the stars, Bozo Brain manages to stand out.
Finally, Vertigo closed out the night with a sound so massive it could’ve filled a stadium. The band is only a trio, consisting of Jake Draven, Meg Pereira, and Drew Correra, but they sound like a group twice their size. Draven’s guitar playing, which encompasses both rhythm and lead playing within the same song, is enhanced by a wide array of pedals as well as a built-in pad that allows him to control frequencies with a swipe of his finger. His howling vocals ride on top of the shrieking guitars like a fierce wind. Meanwhile, Pereira’s bass remains as loud as ever, and Correra’s drumming adds an insane amount of dimension and scope to the songs. Throughout the past year, the band has improved their craft and are now a tight live unit, so they were very exciting to see, and the audience was captivated until the last note.
To check out these bands, follow them on Instagram: @neglectedwitches, @officialhopelessromantics, @bozo_brain, and @we.are.v3rtigo.
A Review of The Benji’s new EP, Kitty Pills
by Jack Downey '23 on March 5, 2023
Arts & Entertainment
The Benji’s are without a doubt one of the coolest bands in Rhode Island. They’ve been releasing music since 2015 and are one of the state’s most beloved live acts, opening for bands such as The Motels. So, when they reached out to me a few months ago and asked me to review their newest EP, I was honored and excited.
Their new EP, Kitty Pills, which was released on Valentine’s Day, is an important one for many reasons. For starters, it’s their first collection of songs released since 2015’s EP1. While they’ve released a song or two since then, this marks the band’s first proper release in eight years. The second reason is because it marks a shift in sound for the band. On these six songs, the overall sound is a lot crunchier and distorted, making it much more like their live shows. The band is a three piece without a bass player, meaning that during shows the guitar has to be crunchy and the keys have to be fuzzy to fill up space. This EP has that in spades.
A perfect example of this is the leadoff track “Good Living.” The track instantly kicks off with guitars and drums that hit the listener like a bullet train. At times, such as the end of the chorus, the wall of grainy sound abates briefly to allow some breathing room. Arpeggiated, clean guitars peek out among hits on the ride cymbal before the sonic tsunami hits once again. A fuzz-coated solo from guitarist Philip Geronimo is the cherry on top.
The next track is the title track and it decreases the tempo while increasing the impact of the dynamic changes. A steady beat laid out on the floor tom and the snare by drummer Adam Cargin opens the track, after which the guitar comes in, weaving between each hit. Quieter moments such as these allow singer and keyboardist Maryssa Morse to shine. On previous recordings, Morse’s voice was more obscured by the instrumentation. However, on this EP, her voice is front and center. Considering she has a great voice, this is certainly an improvement. The peace set up during the verses is shattered after a brief pause by the absolute juggernaut of the chorus, during which the walls of fuzz and distortion come back in.
The noise continues on the third track, lead single “Shimmering.” Clocking in at only a minute and a half, the song wastes no time, barreling through at breakneck speed. Morse’s voice surfs waves of rumbling synth bass and heavy guitar, propelled by fast drumming on a Benji’s. The whole track feels like a 90’s power pop song in the vein of bands like The Muffs. Overall, it was a very wise choice as a lead single, since it is so markedly different from anything the band had released up until this point. A Strokes-esque guitar break in the middle of the song makes the track even better.
For the most part, the song “Tapes” mellows things out, a chill 6/8 time beat propping up breezy guitar and Morse’s voice. As with “Kitty Pills,” however, the sound once again gets ramped up for a powerful, anthemic chorus. The length of this song is also under two minutes, and just as quickly as the noise balloons up, the track ends, leading right into “Skate,” a fun garage rock tune that sounds just like something out of the west coast. A persistent drum beat plays under crisp guitar chords. The bridge mixes things up by going in a more ethereal direction, adding keys outside of the bass to the mix.
The last track, “Bad Sign,” is also in 6/8 time, though it moves a bit faster than “Tapes.” While the guitars are still crunchy, they aren’t as bombastic as they are on some of the other songs, instead sticking more to the background. This makes sense considering it’s the last track on the EP; it’s as if the band is playing itself out. Geronimo gets one last chance to show off his soloing skills, playing his longest one on the entire EP. After one final triumphant chorus, the song and the EP both come to a close.
These six songs are all a pleasure to listen to, and I highly recommend it to everyone! You can check out The Benji’s on Instagram @thebenjis401, as well as on every music streaming platform.
PC Wants the Airwaves: WDOM Continues to Grow in Popularity
by Jack Downey '23 on March 4, 2023
Arts & Entertainment
Most people you talk to will probably tell you that radio is a dead medium. However, Providence College students would tell you otherwise. The school’s radio station, WDOM 91.3 FM, has been steadily gaining a reputation as a club to be a part of.
This year, the club hit a milestone: every single time slot for shows was filled. Seven days a week from 6:00 AM to 2:00 AM, the airwaves will be buzzing with different PC student shows. Whether they will be dealing with music, sports, comedy, or just about anything, they’ll be heard on 91.3 FM.
Many of the shows are musically oriented. Fan favorites like The Coolest Beans, Rock and Roll for the Soul, and Deep Tracks bring listeners a wide array of rock and rock-related music. Other shows have themes that the hosts weave into the music that they play. For example, Tea Time (Taylor’s Version) is, as the name suggests, a Taylor Swift-themed show. Another example is the Time Machine, which plays music from only a certain year while also providing the listeners with historical facts about that time period. Some shows also tend to go for music that isn’t heard as often, such as the Great American Songbook, which focuses on jazz standards.
There are a plethora of talk shows to be heard on WDOM as well. Some of these, such as Go Long, Offsides, and Santis United discuss sports (football, hockey, and soccer, respectively). Other shows such as The Fellas are a bit more free form, where each episode features a different topic. One of the newer shows, Hepatitis Z, is a comedy show. The constantly expanding number of topics that are discussed on the air is a big reason for why the station is gaining more and more fans.
The overall atmosphere of the club is another reason. The ability to spend two hours every week either listening to the music that you want to hear or talking about something that you’re passionate about is fun and therapeutic. Even during the most stressful of weeks, hosting a show is something that most people can look forward to. At the end of the day, even if people aren’t listening, it’s still an enjoyable experience.
Finally, the station’s events have also increased awareness of and interest in the club. The two concerts that WDOM puts on each year, Tune In With WDOM in the fall and Stuartstock in the spring, are some of the biggest events on campus, highlighting not only student performers but also the work that the radio does. In recent years, more events have been added to the schedule, such as the silent disco that they co-hosted with BOP last year. The event was an unexpected hit that left attendees demanding a sequel, which is bound to happen sometime later this semester. There are also multiple karaoke nights, and there is even a Battle of the Bands in the works with BOP, so stay tuned! Also, be sure to check out WDOM and hear for yourself what the airwaves have to offer.
Rock and Roll Breaks the Ice: Frigid Friday Gets Heated at Latest Met Concert
by Jack Downey '23 on February 22, 2023
Arts & Entertainment
After last semester’s raucous celebration of local music that took place at The Met, the excitement for the next one was through the roof. The recent performance by The Breeze in McPhail’s only added fuel to the fire, and when the next Met show was revealed to be taking place on Feb. 3, anticipation hit a fever pitch.
However, there was a massive, unforeseen problem that appeared on the forecast. The problem in question: subzero temperatures the likes of which New England hadn’t experienced in a long time. Anyone who went outside this past weekend quickly found out that there was no exaggeration in what meteorologists were saying: the biting cold and fierce winds made it positively miserable to be anywhere but indoors. Because of this, there was an understandable fear that the turnout for the concert would be lower than expected. This could not be farther from the truth.
Doors were set to open at 7:30 p.m., but because the line outside built up so quickly, the venue actually opened to the public earlier than that. By the time music was set to begin, the place was already packed in a way that PC shows at The Met hadn’t seen in a while. Perhaps people thought that all the energy from the show would warm them up, or maybe the cold just didn’t affect them as much. Whatever the reason, people showed up in force for the event, guaranteeing a wild night.
The first band to take the stage was The Grapes, formerly known as Jack Wilmot and Co., known for their laid back vibe and intriguing repertoire of newer alternative rock mixed with older classics. However, for this performance, the band was dialed in and loud, leading to their best performance thus far. Lead guitarist Ryan Peduto ’25 was front and center in the mix, ripping solo after solo that had the crowd cheering at every note. Singers Jack Wilmot ’24 and Daniel Ruse ’24 both delivered excellent vocal performances, and Alex Rzehak ’23, Ava Dobski ’25, and Brendan Greene ’23 provided a solid backbone on guitar, bass, and drums, respectively. After such a performance, the crowd was thoroughly hyped up for the bands to come.
After The Grapes came St. Joe and the Dorms. It would certainly be a challenge for the rock n’ roll trio to match or top the energy they brought to the last Met concert, but they managed to put on a show that was wild and chaotic even for them. Leaping and running around the stage, as well as off of it, the band ran through classics by The Ramones, The Who, and The Clash at lightning speed. They performed these songs at such a speed that they actually ran out of material to perform and had to ask the audience for requests. The crowd was invested in every minute as Griffin May ’24, Jack Downey ’23, and honorary Friar TJ Johnson tore through songs old and new. They even got Father Justin Bolger, O.P. to introduce them!
The last act of the night was The Breeze. They also billed it as a reunion of their high school lineup,performing as Next Level. Whatever the name of the band, they brought a powerful performance to The Met that had the crowd swaying, jumping, dancing, and belting out the lyrics with the band. PC students Julia Carson ’25 and Jordan McBride ’23, on vocals and keys respectively, were at the top of their game, keeping every member of the audience engaged. The rest of the band consisted of Jacob Calamar on guitar, Ben Carson on bass and vocals, and Corey Hall on drums. Each of these musicians was also top notch, and together, the band formed a tight-knit unit that performed classic songs with energy and strength. Truly a fantastic closer to a remarkable night.
Overall, the evening defied expectations and was truly a hit. The next one is rumored to take place in May, so stay tuned!
The Breeze Blows McPhail’s Down: PC Students Shine in Local Band￼
by Jack Downey '23 on February 21, 2023
Arts & Entertainment
Last year, to kick off the spring semester, the Board of Programmers held an event in McPhail’s featuring The Breeze. Showcasing two PC students, Jordan McBride ’23 on keys and Julia Carson ’25 on vocals, the band delivered an electric performance that had everyone on their feet and dancing. They covered genres ranging from rock to pop to country, and they pulled each one off perfectly.
Recognizing how successful the event was, BOP brought The Breeze back for a sequel on Jan. 20, and they once again knocked it out of the park. They tore through songs such as Paramore’s “Still Into You,” Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats,” and Olivia Rodrigo’s “Good 4 U.” The crowd was constantly moving and singing along.
Throughout the course of the performance, each band member displayed an incredible amount of enthusiasm and energy. Even McBride was jumping up and down behind his keyboards. This only enhanced the crowd’s admiration, as they often jumped and danced with the band as they played.
The band ended the main portion of the concert with a roaring version of “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey. While this song is constantly covered, The Breeze truly did it justice. It had power and passion behind it, and when it ended, the audience immediately demanded more. The band responded with performances of Van Halen’s “Eruption,” Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.” The latter is often considered a joke song, mainly because errant concertgoers love to request it no matter who is playing. However, like with “Don’t Stop Believin’,” The Breeze took the classic and did it more than justice.
Carson shared lead vocals with her brother, Ben, adding an extra sense of dynamism to the first portion of the song. Prior to the second verse, McBride performed a masterful keyboard solo. While initially it was meant to be a short display before the vocals resumed, the crowd continued cheering him on, and the band happily obliged. Later on came everybody’s favorite part of the song: the guitar solo. As the tempo changed, the air was charged as everybody let go of their last vestiges of energy and demolished the dance floor. The band tore through the rest of the song like a runaway train before ending and coming to a crazy finish. With that, the audience went back to their dorms, happy and ready for more.
And more is about to come. As astute audience members have noticed, there are various flyers posted around giving the details of The Breeze’s next show. They will be taking the stage at The Met in Pawtucket, RI, on Feb. 3. Joining them will be St. Joe and the Dorms as well as The Grapes, formerly known as Jack Wilmot and Co. The concert is sure to be as electric as the most recent one in McPhail’s, if not more. The last Met show was a huge success, so don’t miss the next one!
Music in Full Swing at PC
by John Downey '23 on December 4, 2022
Arts & Entertainment
With the semester hurtling towards its conclusion, many groups on campus are hosting their final big events. Two such groups fall into the musical category: the PC Jazz Band and the PC Symphonic Winds.
PC Jazz Band’s Fall Concert took place on Nov. 18 under the vast ceiling of ’64 Hall, which was certainly a change in atmosphere following the band’s performance at McPhail’s a month prior. Leading the jazz band was Dr. Eric Melley, whose enthusiasm for the genre was apparent in every word he spoke. While the band was smaller than previous years, consisting of five horn players, a drummer, a bassist, and a keyboardist, they were incredibly tight and tore through an exciting list of songs. This list was composed of jazz standards such as Duke Ellington’s “Cottontail,” Charlie Parker’s “My Little Suede Shoes,” and Miles Davis’ and Victor Feldman’s “Seven Steps to Heaven.”
However, the most exciting moment of the concert was the final song, which was a take on Snarky Puppy’s intimidating “Lingus.” The song began in 5/4 time, but the band was undeterred, recreating the epic grandiosity of the original. While the first half of the song captivated the audience, they were truly hypnotized by the second half. At this point, the time signature switched to a more accessible 4/4. With only a bassline and minimal drumming, the keyboardist, Jordan McBride ’23, created a psychedelic soundscape, playing an improvisation that was large yet versatile. After a brief drum call, the rest of the band came in and began to groove. Members of the audience were seen nodding their heads in time with the music, their eyes fixated on the stage. When the concert ended, the praise was unanimous.
The next day brought the Symphonic Winds concert, which was also led by Dr. Melley. This time, the show was held in the Ryan Concert Hall, located in the Smith Center for the Arts. Featuring a much larger band than the jazz concert, the music was also vastly different. The theme for the night was “Moving Pictures.” Unfortunately, this was in no way connected with the band Rush. However, what was on display was quite impressive: most of the pieces performed were accompanied by images projected onto a screen above the performers. For “Urban Scenes” by Andrew Boysen, pictures of various cities melded with the music played to create a very captivating experience. “Prelude, Siciliano and Rondo” by Malcolm Arnold featured a more stream of consciousness approach, with each of the images on the screen selected by the band members. The presentations weren’t just still images, however: the piece “Sheltering Sky” by John Mackey was accompanied by an animated video, further enhancing the overall experience.
One of the most heartwarming aspects of both these concerts was the size of the crowd in attendance. Both events drew a lot of spectators and audiophiles, which was great to see. There are still a number of performances left to go this semester, including some by the three a cappella groups on campus, so hopefully, people continue to take time to see and hear the great musical performances that PC has to offer.
The Latest Scoop at News Cafe
by John Downey '23 on November 17, 2022
Arts & Entertainment
Concert at Pawtucket Bar Features Many PC Students
Last Thursday, there was a small concert held at one of Rhode Island’s most distinctive venues, News Cafe. Located a few highway exits away from The Met, this bar is a beloved spot for local bands and has featured acts from all over the world. However, despite its rich history, few Providence College students knew about it. That all changed last week.
The bill for the night consisted of The Keegan Turner Band, who played at WDOM’s Tune In on Oct. 28; Party Mountain, a pop punk band from Massachusetts; and Jack Wilmot and Co., a PC-based band that took The Met by storm on Oct. 6. At first, interest in the concert was low, particularly after the original lineup fell through, but as the date approached, more and more buzz began to grow until it was clear that there was going to be a decent crowd for the event.
Kicking off the night at 8:30 was The Keegan Turner Band. The members of this group include PC students Jack Downey ’23 on bass and Colin McNamara ’25 on guitar, along with the titular Keegan Turner on guitar and vocals, and Dennis Chadwick on drums. Their set at News Cafe was a special one because it consisted entirely of unreleased material. Since they had plans to record a ten-track album over the course of this past weekend, the band decided to run through all the songs in front of a live audience in order to gauge the reaction to each one and to work out any possible problems.
The Keegan Turner Band tore through their set with confidence despite several of the songs having never been played in front of a live audience. Certain songs, such as the doo-wop inspired ballad “Mrs. Sandman,” got a noticeable amount of praise from those present, while the band clearly had a good time playing songs such as the massive crescendo of a closer, “Bethany.” The group played like a well-oiled machine, and anticipation for the currently unnamed album is certainly much higher after the show.
After them came Party Mountain. Although there were no members of the PC community in this band, they still got the Friars in the crowd moving with their highly energetic songs and lighthearted stage presence. There was quite a lot of musical talent on display, with each member’s playing connecting seamlessly like a sonic puzzle. At one point, three of the members switched instruments, but this did nothing to hinder the quality of the performance. Their music, which had elements of Blink-182, Foo Fighters, and even ska at one point, had their dedicated fans dancing across the floor and more casual fans at the very least nodding their heads.
Finally, Jack Wilmot and Co. took the stage. By this point, the venue was packed, with a sea of PC students crowded in front of where the band was standing. With Jack Wilmot ’24 on vocals, the band behind him consisted of Ryan Peduto ’25 on lead guitar, Alex Rhezak ’23 on rhythm guitar, Brendan Greene ’23 on drums, and newest member Ava Dobski ’25 on bass. The group kicked things off with a cover of Declan McKenna’s “Brazil.” They then worked through a mixture of fan favorites such as Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” and John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change,” as well as modern alt-rock hits such as The Backseat Lovers’ “Kilby Girl” and Mt. Joy’s “Sheep.” For a number of these songs, Wilmot was joined on vocals by his friend Daniel Ruse ’24, which helped to hype the crowd up even more. The amount of support for Wilmot and his band was massive, and it led to the final set of the night being an incredibly pleasant experience.
When the concert was over, people either left the venue or stayed at the bar a little while longer. Either way, it was a very fun concert, and hopefully there will be another show at News Cafe soon.