The East Lansing area is no stranger to up and coming bands trying to start some buzz after doing numerous shows at local venues. ASMSU did their best to take advantage of this by hosting three local acts. Unfortunately, the crowd did not look too thrilled for a majority of the show, and at times the crowd looked pretty nonexistent.
The night started off with Black Jack Persia as the opener. The quartet— comprised of two guitarists, a bassist and a drummer—did everything one would expect of an opening band. The vocal performance by the lead singer, and occasionally the second guitarist, was nothing spectacular, but it was certainly far from bad.
Black Jack Persia is a band that is using the musicianship of the members to carry it through live shows. This was easy to pick out after only a few songs. With every track featuring an entertaining solo, the only thought that came to mind was whether this was a legit band, or if it was just a group of friends who only came together for jam sessions. If the latter was the case, then Black Jack Persia certainly succeeded in putting on a worth while show.
While the guys kept a small crowd entertained, they even had some friends of theirs filming footage for a music video. It was unclear which song the video was being made for, though, because the first 20 minutes of the show were filmed. After the film crew left, everyone assumed that the guys were going to be leaving the stage shortly after. But that was not the case.
In what seemed like a backwards approach to show promotion, ASMSU had Black Jack Persia on stage for almost an hour. When the jam session obsessed quartet finally left the stage, they were followed up by the band Loune, who only went on for 25 minutes.
Was I mad that Loune only performed for 25 minutes? Not even. Was this indie-emo quartet bad? Not really. Were they an exact replica of the over hyped bands that find their way into WDBM’s rotation? Yes.
If Loune finds their way into mainstream success—and by success, I mean a nomination at the MTVU Woodie Awards at the very least—then it will only prove that bands who sing and dress like geeks are what the kids love these days.
Loune may have been gimmicky, but they weren’t a complete write off. Unlike Black Jack Persia, Loune placed an emphasis on the sounds they were making. When the lead singer wasn’t dying to hit high notes, the quartet was able to play their music in a way that didn’t sound formulaic. It was intriguing and always unpredictable, and the small audience loved every moment of it.
As Loune made its exit, I was wondering if there would be a sudden rush of people coming to see the third and final act. After 15 minutes, and a much deserved break from the dim lighting of the Union ballroom, I realized that rush wasn’t going to happen. I remembered that a big crowd doesn’t make for a great show, so I was excited to see who ASMSU was going to bring on stage. I soon found out that there are weirder things in music than Lil Wayne’s wordplay.
Cloud Magic was the third and final act for the night. The quartet members could be described as hippies. It’s hard to describe the music, mostly because it seemed like a barrage of sound. The vocals sounded distorted, and not on purpose. The only thing interesting about this band was the female back up singer who also happened to play the tambourine.
It was a night of stylistic diversity mixed with a desire for actual vocal presence. If these are the bands ASMSU thought would attract a crowd, then it may be time to go back to the drawing board. Not only did the crowd peak at a mediocre showing of enthusiasm, but most people left before the third act was even done setting up. Minus Cloud Magic, the bands weren’t bad. The problem is that they weren’t able to really draw any positive response out the audience.
If you want to see some of the best in bubbling musical talent around East Lansing, go check out a hip hop show at Mac’s Bar; at least they do call and response.