January 23 AfterHours

January 23 AfterHours


Written by Caroline Lowder, Screen Editor

The feeling of the weekend nearing began to create an exciting buzz around campus, and it wasn’t just the  coffee. Students sipped their Starbucks in AfterHours on a Thursday evening, anxiously awaiting the advertised show for Jan. 18.

The small, dim theater had about 30 people, standing around the stage waiting for the upcoming performances. Only a few moments after 7 p.m., two musicians hopped onto the stage, one sporting a midnight black lip color noticeable from all corners of the room. They introduced the band as Prior Panic and began playing heavy metal rock music.

On first glance many would not know  the group is classified as  “Gay Cello Rock.” After a couple opening songs, the lead singer softly giggled, a stark contrast from the previous screaming in their songs, and meekly asked the crowd, “Is anyone gay here,” only to be followed by a roar of cheers. “Cool,” they laughed. “This [next song] is gay.” The social commentary created by Prior Panic’s music inspired the feel of the night and, after a short set list of about 6 songs, the next act, Katie Ellen, took to the stage. Without any introduction, she began to play.

“Take me to a quiet place where I can run and hide,” sang Katie as the volume got progressively louder and the audience’s heads begin to bob faster.

Going straight into the next couple of songs, it was clear that Katie Ellen’s inspiration was born from, in her own words, “a critique of the intersection between freedom and happiness especially when it comes to love, romantic relationships, and social expectations of gender and sexuality.”

This is particularly prevalent in her song  “Sad Girls Club,” which she prefaced to the crowd by telling the story of buying her friend a t-shirt on which this phrase was printed. She described that this song was for “us raised as girls…[taught] we need … grin and bear it…us raised as boys… stuck in the idea of masculinity…[the Sad Girls Club] is…[a] world where we aren’t afraid to feel.” Amidst the many cheers, Katie Ellen played their final songs. As they ended their set, the crowd had almost doubled, awaiting the final act.

Sorority Noise, the final band of the evening, is a four-man band originating from Hartford, Connecticut. While you might not have heard their name, you surely will in the next couple of months, with their top song on Spotify, “Using,” having a staggering 4.1 million listeners.

How does a band of four men acquire the name Sorority Noise? Cameron Boucher, the lead singer, accompanied by a guitarist, bassist, and drummer, explained that the band was concerned about new neighbors moving next door to a former punk house they owned in Connecticut.

“What if a sorority moved in next door? They’d probably be pretty loud too,” he elaborated, “There would probably be enough sorority noise to cover up what we were doing.”

They were so inspired by this phrase they made it the name of the band and it stuck. Just as seamlessly as they acquired their name, the band took to the stage, beginning, just as Katie Ellen did, without any introduction. From the first moment they began to play, it was apparent they were some of the audience members’ favorite band, as they knew every word to each of the songs.

The band has a new age Nirvana feel, with one guitarist looking like the spitting image of Kurt Cobain and each member beginning the night wearing some form of flannel. After a few songs, Boucher spoke for the first time, stating simply “Be as kind as you can and make good decisions,” which, very similarly to Prior Panic’s short commentary, provided a stark contrast to the loud sound of their music.

“You’re your own inspiration when it comes to music…that’s the thing I find I’m writing about,” Boucher explained, which fell directly in line with a phrase from their song “Art School Wannabe,” – “Maybe I’m my own greatest fear.”

And just like that, the Thursday night AfterHours show came to an end, preparing us all for the weekend to come, giving us some catchy tunes to hum on the way home, and providing thoughts  for us all to ponder until the next music performance.

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