Rock and Roll Returns

by Jack Downey '23
A&E Co-Editor

Arts & Entertainment

A Retrospective of The Latest Student Concert at The Met

Last academic year, there were three concerts featuring Providence College students at The Met in Pawtucket, RI. With each show featuring student bands, the turnouts were always in the hundreds, and the crowds loved every second of it. The student who orchestrated much of what happened at these shows was Nolan Donato ’22, who started putting on shows at The Met with his band in 2019. A combination of Donato’s draw, effective marketing, and a yearning for shows caused by the pandemic led to the concerts being some of the most exciting events of the last school year.

However, after Donato graduated in the spring, there was some concern that concerts at The Met wouldn’t be able to happen anymore. The looming question was whether or not other student bands would be able to continue the success of the previous shows. After a summer away, it wasn’t certain whether or not students would still be interested.

After Oct. 6, the answer is a resounding yes.

Two weeks ago, the first Met show since May occurred, and it was certainly a night to remember. The bill consisted of three student bands: St. Joe and the Dorms, Jack Wilmot and Co., and Timeless. Each band showcased a different but appealing sound that kept the audience enthralled the entire way through.

Starting off the night were St. Joe and the Dorms. The trio, known for its energetic and chaotic live shows, did not disappoint, with guitarist Griffin May ’24 and bassist Jack Downey ’23 spending more time in the air than on the ground. The band tore through fan favorites such as The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” and the Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right,” as well as their crowd-pleasing original “Sometimes I Think.” With drummer TJ Johnson from the University of New Hampshire taking his place behind the kit, the band was the tightest it’s ever been.

Following The Dorms was Jack Wilmot ’24 and his backing band. Wilmot played his debut set at The Met in May, winning over the audience with his voice and charisma. This time around, he gathered together a backing band consisting of Ryan Peduto ’25 on lead guitar, Alex Rzehak ’23 on rhythm guitar, and Brendan Greene ’24 on drums. Unlike the previous band’s, Wilmot’s set consisted largely of modern alt rock and indie rock songs, such as Declan McKenna’s “Brazil.” He also performed his debut single, a slow burning tune called “Make It.” Wilmot was occasionally joined by his friend from Holy Cross, Matty Lucey, who helped keep the crowd hyped up.

Closing out the night was Timeless, a band that has recently been building momentum on campus. Most recently, it played the senior class dance, 223 Night, to raucous acclaim. They received a similar amount of praise at The Met. With their full six-member lineup, including PC students Cross Pistocco ’23 (vocals, guitar) and Ben Gemma ’23 (drums), the band members proved that their constant playing renders them a tight-knit group. They pulled off different styles with ease, jumping from classic rock to funk to hip hop and back again, and by the end of the night, the crowd joyously mustered up all its energy to join them in singing “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond.

Overall, the night was more than a triumph. It proved that live music is still alive and kicking on campus, and that the momentum established during the previous year hasn’t diminished. Hopefully, the excitement continues for the rest of the year and onward, with WDOM’s Tune In concert on Oct. 28 being the perfect way to test this.

Keep Calm and Rock On

by Jack Downey '23
A&E Co-Editor

Arts & Entertainment

A Call to Arms (Instruments) for Providence College Students

Last year, something glorious happened at Providence College: a music scene began to emerge.

After a large drought during which WDOM’s Stuartstock disappeared for several years and the number of bands on campus was at an all-time low, student musicians came together and formed groups. Concerts happened at The MET in Pawtucket, RI as well as on campus, and for a moment, new music blossomed at PC.

However, with some musicians graduating and others going abroad, it appears that the short-lived music renaissance has taken a blow.

What is to become of the concerts at McPhail’s? Will live music still ring out at the events hosted for each class? Last year, the student body was more receptive to live music than ever before, with concerts packed with enthusiastic revelers. Is it possible to reach these heights again?

The answer to this question is yes.

Now that live music has revealed itself as a dominant force on campus, the chances of it going away are slim. Despite the semester not even being a month old, there have already been instances of live music at PC. For example, St. Joe and the Dorms, a wild party band that has been rocking PC since 2021, took the stage at McPhail’s during casino night and tore the roof off the building with high octane covers of classic songs. Two of the members even suffered injuries during the crazy two-hour concert. The next day, Timeless, another band featuring members of the PC community, serenaded Eaton Street with well-known hits for hours.

There is also an entirely new group of potential musicians that have moved onto campus: the Class of 2026. Many of these students most likely play instruments, but not all of them know of the opportunities that are present for musicians here at PC. The best advice for these people is that there is no time like the present. Seriously.

With students responding so positively to live music in the past year, as well as the unveiling of the new music technology and production major, PC is embracing music more and more, which is fantastic to see. However, this can only continue as long as people are taking advantage of what is in front of them. Talk to musicians at events. Jam with people in Smith Center for the Arts. Write and perform music. Music is a universal language, and it is one that PC is just starting to become literate in.

PC’s Pep Band is probably the biggest example of music bringing people together on campus. Their powerful renditions of hit songs get everyone excited at sporting events, including the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. If you are a musician looking to get involved at PC, the Pep Band is the perfect place to start, particularly if you play a low brass instrument such as trombone. The atmosphere at games is electric, and you’ll have the best seats in the house!

Music is one of PC’s hidden gems, and if you want to take part in it, the perfect time to start is now.

A Month After The Met

by Jack Downey '23
A&E Co-Editor

Arts & Entertainment

A Month After The Met

Looking Back on a Night of Musical Triumph

Jack Downey ’23

After last September’s utterly spectacular concert at The Met in Pawtucket, the anticipation for a follow-up performance was through the roof. Behind the scenes, the musicians put plans together for a Dec. 4 show in order to meet demand. However, this goal proved to be unfeasible, so the concert was moved to Jan. 27, right at the start of Providence College’s spring semester.

Unfortunately, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 had other plans. Omicron shut down most concerts throughout January, leading to the postponement of The Met show out of safety concerns. Feb. 17 was set as the new date for the performance. Fortunately, by then, the threat of Omicron had receded, and with PC relaxing its campus-wide mask mandate, the timing for a concert could not have been better. Feb. 17 was a go.

Set to perform at this show were wild rockers St. Joe and the Dorms as well as returning headliner Nolan Donato ’22 and his backing band. Previous exciting performances from both groups led hype to grow exponentially in the weeks leading up to the show. On the day of the performance, the whole campus seemed to be buzzing about it. Everyone seemed to feel that this night was going to be something to write home about.

Just as the show was about to start, however, tragedy struck: Donato fell ill. Unable to recover, he ultimately made the painful choice to leave The Met and go home. Backstage, the other musicians avoided panic, instead they figured out how to continue the show without its star. The decision was made to split vocal duties amongst the remaining musicians. Guest singers Jack Wilmot ’24, Lauren Fraser ’22, Anna Gaul ’22, and Kathryn Genest ’25 chose a handful of songs on the setlist and began rehearsing right then and there. The backing band, led by Griffin May ’24 and Joe Genest ’22, took on some vocal duties, as well. Yours truly even got to sing a couple of songs.

St. Joe and the Dorms first took the stage, and their chaotic energy and charisma immediately had the audience in the palm of their hand. After blasting through a setlist consisting of only the fastest of rockers, such as “Rockaway Beach,” “Dancing With Myself,” and “Johnny B. Goode,” their set was so enjoyable that they seemingly departed the stage just as quickly as they walked onto it. 

Fortunately, the headlining band provided a perfect follow-up. The only thing left to chance was how the crowd would react to the news of Donato’s unfortunate illness. After playing through Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish,” Genest ’22 broke the news to the audience. Much to the musicians’ relief, the crowd was very understanding of this development and still hungry for a night of live music. With their energy restored, the band carried on.

All the guest singers did a fantastic job. Fraser and Gaul’s duet on Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” was certainly one of the highlights of the night, due largely in part to the two singers’ chemistry. Wilmot also shone brightly, particularly when he led the audience through a rousing rendition of “Kilby Girl” by The Backseat Lovers. The entire crowd was jumping, which was truly an awe-inspiring sight. Genest ’24 got the groove going towards the end of the set by playing “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith, not to mention a medley of funk classics. The entire concert ended with an ensemble performance of “Country Roads, Take Me Home” by John Denver, a perfect way to end the night.

The crowd was truly blown away by what they saw. Many of them had not been to a concert featuring their peers before, and to see that kind of talent demonstrated by their friends and classmates was something to behold. Colin McNamara ’25 remarks that the concert was “life changing” and “something he’d remember for the rest of his life.” Another concert at The Met is currently being planned for later in the spring semester. Topping the Feb. 17 show will certainly take effort, but the talented student performs are surely more than up to the task.

A Fantastic Weekend of Concerts at PC

by The Cowl Editor

Arts & Entertainment

A Fantastic Weekend of Concerts at PC

Orchestra, A Cappella, and More!

Jack Downey ’23

Over the past week, there were many concerts at Providence College as the semester begins to wind down. The first was a performance at 4:00 p.m. on Dec. 3 featuring the PC Orchestra. Helmed by Dr. Sang Woo Kang, the talented musicians captivated the sizable audience with several classical standards such as “Concerto No. 4 in F minor” by Antonio Vivaldi. This song in particular featured absolutely outstanding work by concertmaster Hashim Hassan ’23, though it cannot be understated how well the blend of PC students and local musicians performed throughout the duration of the show.

Later that night, at 7:00 p.m., the PC jazz band, directed by Dr. Eric Melley, took the stage over at ’64 Hall. The band came out at full force with the Sonny Rollins standard “Tenor Madness,” featuring a blazing solo by tenor sax player Tommy “T-Bone” Hebert ’23. As the set progressed, the band took on all different styles of music, the most surprising of which being ’80s pop. Grace Maffucci ’22 joined the group on stage for a couple of songs, the last being “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper. Despite the fact that this song is anything but jazzy, the band’s sparse rendition, accompanied by Maffucci’s standout vocals, made it one of the concert’s highlights.

Saturday saw the long-awaited return of rock band St. Joe and the Dorms. Donning Christmas-themed clothing for this performance, the trio tore the roof off McPhail’s with a mixture of rock classics and holiday staples, including Wham’s “Last Christmas,” Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolph Run,” and Bruce Springsteen’s take of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Conrad Drezek ’25 held nothing back with his drumming, Griffin May ’24 captivated the audience with his guitar playing and charisma, and yours truly held down the fort on bass and vocals, even if that meant nearly suffering a concussion after flying backwards during one of the more energetic songs. One must face physical injury in the name of rock, after all.

Also on Saturday was Lessons and Carols. Returning after a year of hiatus, PC’s Liturgical Choir and PC’s Chorus joined together and performed classical church hymnals and carols to ring in the season. The combination of music and Gospel readings truly added to the experience. Some highlights included the beginning of the service, with solos by Maffucci and Logan Johnson ’23, as well as cantoring by W. Cole Patno ’24. Another memorable moment came when Dominican Schola joined the combined group to sing a Gregorian chant. Presiding over Lessons and Carols was Father  Kenneth Sicard, O.P., President of Providence College.

One would be remiss not to mention the a cappella concerts that occurred this past weekend. The three groups, Strictly Speaking, Anaclastic, and Special Guest, held two shows. The first fell on Dec. 3 at  7:30 p.m.; the second, Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Having two shows turned out to be a prudent move, since people absolutely packed Smith Concert Hall to see the groups perform. First on stage was Anaclastic, the all-female group. The audience was left speechless by the beautiful harmonies and powerful solos that radiated from the stage, the natural reverb of the concert hall making the group sound like one three times their size. 

After them came Strictly Speaking, the co-ed group. They had the audience raving as they sang their way through multiple fan favorites, including Lorde’s “Bravado,” which was led amazingly by Grace Stewart ’23. The set closed with Bastille’s hit “Pompeii,” with Jack Wilmot ’24 taking lead as the rest of the group dutifully backed him up throughout. 

The final of the three to perform was the all-male group, Special Guest. Coming out with gusto, the group grabbed the attention of those in attendance with their clothes, which featured blazers and turtlenecks, as well as their entertaining stage presence. The latter was exemplified by members of the group dancing during some of the songs. One of the highlights was The Bee Gees’ “More Than A Woman,” which featured Dom DaSilva ’24 on lead vocals. Their set concluded with a show-stopping rendition of Silk Sonic’s “Leave The Door Open” with solos by Christian Willett ’24 and Nolan Donato ’22, and on that note, the door closed.

This past weekend was truly an eventful one for music at Providence College, and it was great to see how positive of a reaction each event received. Hopefully, such musical events at Providence College will be met with this appreciation next semester and for years to come.