The Southerner

Student bands flourish at South high

Aeon Bollig, Staff Writer

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This article was published in the Southerner spring news magazine.

The lights dimmed at The Beat Coffeehouse on Friday, March 11th. Three South seniors and their Southwest drummer prepared for the night ahead as the crowd anxiously awaited their first count-in. Senior Jakob Bjerkness stepped up to the mic, promising a cool night, as the rest of the band members of One Hot Second prepared to play their first song, titled – Where Do they Go?

    Along with vocalist Bjerkness, One Hot Second consists of South seniors James Lunning and Joe Conway, who play bass and guitar, respectively, along with Southwest senior Brendan Bradshaw on drums. “We all play different genres at the same time… or so I’ve been told,” said Lunning in an interview before the show.

    Four songs into the group’s setlist and the room has finally gone dark, as lights illuminated the four bandmates. If it wasn’t for what happened two years ago, the band wouldn’t even be here today.

    “[The band started] Way back with Joe and everyone else and we wanted to make a band,” said Lunning. “It just kind of happened. [We] Formed in 2009, and didn’t really have a name until a month ago.”

    Though they didn’t have a name for quite a while, the quartet auditioned for this year’s Talent Show here at South, ultimately being turned down because of their out-of-school drummer. “Kind of bugged,” said Lunning. “But we could play at Southwest’s Talent Show with only one student from that school.”

    The foursome wrapped up their setlist of original tunes and covers alike, but they aren’t the only ones to jump on stage. The lights go up as the musicians pack up their equipment and set it to the side, heading into the crowd with high-fives and single yells from a mysterious man proclaiming love for the bassist.

    Four more South students went up to the front of the room, setting up their equipment for a good few minutes before they armed themselves with their respective instruments. Three of them Seniors, one being an Alumnus, the band going up went by the name of Heart of Bristol.

    Senior Joe Goff warmed-up on the drums and Julian Manzara tuned his guitar as bandmates Andy Battcher and Tim Barbeau checked their mics with the sound guys in the back.

    “We started as a three-piece called Threshold,” said Battcher in an interview along with Manzara prior to the performance at The Beat. “We needed a singer. Then we got Tim Barbeau.”

    Heart of Bristol started with a song by the name of Pacific. The crowd energetic, sometimes too energetic. What the four young adults played surely got everyone into it.

    “We’ve been playing music for a while,” said Manzara. “Most of the stuff we write is heavy metal, then we just jam. It’s good to have a variety.”

    “We sometimes think what would happen if we got big, but we really just don’t care,” noted Battcher. “[It’s] Usually just for fun, but we do get glory out of it. [We] Play a bunch of gigs, have fun, make money.”

    “If you know the words, feel free to sing with me,” Barbeau told the crowd as the band began to play their cover of the 1970’s Black Sabbath song War Pigs, getting the crowd together for a mixture of a singing along and all-out impromptu moshing near the front of the room.

    “We should give some time to the last band,” said Barbeau as they wrapped up.

    As the lights went up again, the next band hopped on stage to set up. Mammoth Catches Fire was the name – and it was taken straight out of an Arctic Adventures of Lassie picturebook from the 1960’s. Page 214, to be exact.

    South juniors Rob Barbeau [Younger brother of the previously mentioned Tim Barbeau] and Connor Geraghty prepared alongside their ex-South bandmates John Devitt and Evan Morgan as the crowd got back together to cool down and take a sip of their drinks.

    Three band performances in, and the room was hotter than ever. Vocalist and guitarist Devitt spoke into the mic to let the audience excuse them for being covered in sweat. “Take off your shirts!” an audience member yelled repeatedly from the front row.

    “Personally, I just want to have a good time,” the younger Barbeau brother said in an interview after the show. “John and Evan want to pursue some kind of career and music, but to me it’s a lot less important.”

    The band got together last spring, and have played four shows since, including the one at The Beat on the 11th. “We had John and Evan together, playing in Connor’s basement, when we decided – these are the guys we need,” said the young Barbeau. “We want to continue shows and record a full album, maybe get it sold at Cheapo or some place like that. But if it doesn’t happen by the end of the summer after Senior year – it’s not going to happen.”

    Four hours after the show began, it wrapped up with Mammoth Catches Fire’s final song in their setlist. The crowd was swaying in eachothers arms, all happy as can be. It was a long few hours, and everyone was covered in a thin layer of shimmering sweat – but it was all worth the money.

    The bands that performed at The Beat that night had all put on shows prior to the event on the 11th, but everyone’s got to start somewhere. Maybe it’s after another band broke up, or purely from scratch. Such is life with seniors Nick Bates and Lucas Wiggins. Their band? Vomit Placenta.

    “[We]Formed in the wake of the break-up of our pop-punk band The Hotshot Boys,” said guitarist and vocalist Bates. “We realized that nothing in the world made sense – it’s all garbage.”

    “We wanted to bring new life – or death – to music,” said drummer Wiggins. When it comes to defining their genre? “You can’t put a label on it,” said Wiggins. “It’s raw emotion channeled into the performance.”

    Recently formed, the band has yet to do many shows, the duo and their shows have kept to house parties and obscure venues. “We try to put something out there that people will hear whether they relate to it or not,” said Wiggins.

“Playing with Vomit Placenta helps us come to terms with the irony of the real world,” noted Bates.

When it comes to playing in a band, there’s more than meets the eye. There are health effects, whether you’d like to declare them detrimental or beneficial, you have to admit – they exist.
    “You can choose to learn a certain breed of self-control, but honestly? It’s not healthy,” said Bates. “There are certain dangers, you know?” added Wiggins.

    “I’m less stressed,” said Lunning. “I feel appreciated. It boosts my self-esteem… I know it makes Jakob feel real good.”

    “It reduces stress. And the dancing is good exercise,” said the younger Barbeau brother. “It’s psychologically balancing,” added Battcher. “If you want to get some anger out, Metal is the way to go. But yeah, we do some other stuff too. Plus its a sweet way to meet other musicians.”

    Though music has become part of our normal everyday lives, living life as part of a band rarely ever comes without surprises. “So… I guess we’re getting paid for this,” concluded Battcher. “Like… twelve bucks.” The lights dimmed at The Beat Coffeehouse on Friday, March 11th. Three South seniors and their Southwest drummer prepared for the night ahead as the crowd anxiously awaited their first count-in. Senior Jakob Bjerkness stepped up to the mic, promising a cool night, as the rest of the band members of One Hot Second prepared to play their first song, titled – Where Do they Go?
 
    Along with vocalist Bjerkness, One Hot Second consists of South seniors James Lunning and Joe Conway, who play bass and guitar, respectively, along with Southwest senior Brendan Bradshaw on drums. “We all play different genres at the same time… or so I’ve been told,” said Lunning in an interview before the show.
 
    Four songs into the group’s setlist and the room has finally gone dark, as lights illuminated the four bandmates. If it wasn’t for what happened two years ago, the band wouldn’t even be here today.

    “[The band started] Way back with Joe and everyone else and we wanted to make a band,” said Lunning. “It just kind of happened. [We] Formed in 2009, and didn’t really have a name until a month ago.”

    Though they didn’t have a name for quite a while, the quartet auditioned for this year’s Talent Show here at South, ultimately being turned down because of their out-of-school drummer. “Kind of bugged,” said Lunning. “But we could play at Southwest’s Talent Show with only one student from that school.”

    The foursome wrapped up their setlist of original tunes and covers alike, but they aren’t the only ones to jump on stage. The lights go up as the musicians pack up their equipment and set it to the side, heading into the crowd with high-fives and single yells from a mysterious man proclaiming love for the bassist.

    Four more South students went up to the front of the room, setting up their equipment for a good few minutes before they armed themselves with their respective instruments. Three of them Seniors, one being an Alumnus, the band going up went by the name of Heart of Bristol.

    Senior Joe Goff warmed-up on the drums and Julian Manzara tuned his guitar as bandmates Andy Battcher and Tim Barbeau checked their mics with the sound guys in the back.

    “We started as a three-piece called Threshold,” said Battcher in an interview along with Manzara prior to the performance at The Beat. “We needed a singer. Then we got Tim Barbeau.”

    Heart of Bristol started with a song by the name of Pacific. The crowd energetic, sometimes too energetic. What the four young adults played surely got everyone into it.

    “We’ve been playing music for a while,” said Manzara. “Most of the stuff we write is heavy metal, then we just jam. It’s good to have a variety.”

    “We sometimes think what would happen if we got big, but we really just don’t care,” noted Battcher. “[It’s] Usually just for fun, but we do get glory out of it. [We] Play a bunch of gigs, have fun, make money.”

    “If you know the words, feel free to sing with me,” Barbeau told the crowd as the band began to play their cover of the 1970’s Black Sabbath song War Pigs, getting the crowd together for a mixture of a singing along and all-out impromptu moshing near the front of the room.

    “We should give some time to the last band,” said Barbeau as they wrapped up.

    As the lights went up again, the next band hopped on stage to set up. Mammoth Catches Fire was the name – and it was taken straight out of an Arctic Adventures of Lassie picturebook from the 1960’s. Page 214, to be exact.

    South juniors Rob Barbeau [Younger brother of the previously mentioned Tim Barbeau] and Connor Geraghty prepared alongside their ex-South bandmates John Devitt and Evan Morgan as the crowd got back together to cool down and take a sip of their drinks.

    Three band performances in, and the room was hotter than ever. Vocalist and guitarist Devitt spoke into the mic to let the audience excuse them for being covered in sweat. “Take off your shirts!” an audience member yelled repeatedly from the front row.

    “Personally, I just want to have a good time,” the younger Barbeau brother said in an interview after the show. “John and Evan want to pursue some kind of career and music, but to me it’s a lot less important.”

    The band got together last spring, and have played four shows since, including the one at The Beat on the 11th. “We had John and Evan together, playing in Connor’s basement, when we decided – these are the guys we need,” said the young Barbeau. “We want to continue shows and record a full album, maybe get it sold at Cheapo or some place like that. But if it doesn’t happen by the end of the summer after Senior year – it’s not going to happen.”

    Four hours after the show began, it wrapped up with Mammoth Catches Fire‘s final song in their setlist. The crowd was swaying in eachothers arms, all happy as can be. It was a long few hours, and everyone was covered in a thin layer of shimmering sweat – but it was all worth the money.

    The bands that performed at The Beat that night had all put on shows prior to the event on the 11th, but everyone’s got to start somewhere. Maybe it’s after another band broke up, or purely from scratch. Such is life with seniors Nick Bates and Lucas Wiggins. Their band? Vomit Placenta.

    “[We]Formed in the wake of the break-up of our pop-punk band The Hotshot Boys,” said guitarist and vocalist Bates. “We realized that nothing in the world made sense – it’s all garbage.”

    “We wanted to bring new life – or death – to music,” said drummer Wiggins. When it comes to defining their genre? “You can’t put a label on it,” said Wiggins. “It’s raw emotion channeled into the performance.”

    Recently formed, the band has yet to do many shows, the duo and their shows have kept to house parties and obscure venues. “We try to put something out there that people will hear whether they relate to it or not,” said Wiggins.

“Playing with Vomit Placenta helps us come to terms with the irony of the real world,” noted Bates.

 

When it comes to playing in a band, there’s more than meets the eye. There are health effects, whether you’d like to declare them detrimental or beneficial, you have to admit – they exist.

    “You can choose to learn a certain breed of self-control, but honestly? It’s not healthy,” said Bates. “There are certain dangers, you know?” added Wiggins.

    “I’m less stressed,” said Lunning. “I feel appreciated. It boosts my self-esteem… I know it makes Jakob feel real good.”

    “It reduces stress. And the dancing is good exercise,” said the younger Barbeau brother. “It’s psychologically balancing,” added Battcher. “If you want to get some anger out, Metal is the way to go. But yeah, we do some other stuff too. Plus its a sweet way to meet other musicians.”

    Though music has become part of our normal everyday lives, living life as part of a band rarely ever comes without surprises. “So… I guess we’re getting paid for this,” concluded Battcher. “Like… twelve bucks.”

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Student bands flourish at South high