Last Saturday, Feb. 23, WMUH hosted two bands on Muhlenberg’s campus in Moyer Hall Miller Forum. Featuring various snacks and beverages, the event was scheduled at 11:15 in the evening. Walking in, the colorful lights flashed brightly around the stage and occupants, and the stage was all set with the Bad Bad Hats’ instruments on stand-by.
Starting in Minneapolis, Minn., the Bad Bad Hats is an indie rock group named after the Madeline children’s book series. The group is made up of three members: Kerry Alexander (Guitarist and Vocalists), Chris Hoge (Guitar/Bass) and Connor Davison (Drums). Connecting to the audience rather well, Alexander recounted the process and overall enjoyment of making the music videos for many of the songs they performed that night. One such song, was “Nothing Gets Me High.”
With the drums playing a soft swing in the background, Alexander’s voice takes on a low and raspy tone.
“And I would love if you loved me,” the bass accompanies with and countering bass line, as her voice rises the bass flows downward.
“I wish I was seventeen again, back when love really moved me,” she turns to the drum, synchronized the play on beat together, “but that was then, yeah.”
Catchy, but smooth, it’s near impossible not to dance along, or sing along once the chorus repeats for a third time.
“Still me writing love songs,” Alexander explains in an interview, “catchy melodies…something a bit looser and spontaneous.”
The music videos too, are very entertaining. Taking Alexander’s advice, I found the video is set in a room of television sets which appear and disappear throughout the piece. Each shows a scene or snippet of a life or moment, passing by to the music. It’s oddly fitting that the song ends with the bass trailing off into a voidless abyss of silence.
Alexander is both the lyricist for her band as well as other solo acts throughout her career. She describes her beginning when her father gave her a guitar in middle school.
“When I got that guitar, it was like a whole new world was open to me. In some ways it felt like I was learning an entirely new instrument. But it was a great source of inspiration for that reason.”
A second song, which they described the making of the music video in more detail, was more about describing and emulating a ‘journey’—particularly in the process of songwriting. This piece is simply called “Girl.”
The majority of the video is the band in motion, traveling from place to place, jumping from vehicle to vehicle, all of which transition throughout shots of the musicians making music.
The Vaughns performed next, shifting from the soft swing of the Bad Bad Hats to cold hard rock with a touch of synthesizer. Formed in early 2014, The Vaughns are made up of four members: Anna Lies, Tom Losito, David Cacciatore and Ryan Kenter.
One of their big hits is the single “Santa Cruz” which gained national recognition in 2017-2018. Featuring a very rhythmic and an energized bass line, the piece kicks off into a loud and upbeat beginning. Very distinct from the previous band.
Audience members seemed to react well to the concert as a whole, bopping and moving to the dual genres throughout the night.
“I thought both of the bands were good and I overall enjoyed the concert.” Rachel Legow ‘19 said when I asked her opinion of the concert. She did feel, however, that the event was not as advertised as well as it could have been. Legow explains that she had only attended the event because her friend had told her about it in passing.
“The bands were definitely complete unknowns to me and weren’t my usual genre of music, but I actually had a really great time,” said Jacob Borislow ‘19. “I don’t know if it was just how loud they were playing or the fun vibe but I was definitely bopping to the songs. I think the turnout was also more than usual which was great to see the Muhlenberg and Allentown community coming out for some local music.”