Upon entering The Nines on March 23, one was enveloped with a typical Friday night in the Collegetown scene: 20-somethings scattered around the bar, adolescents spread throughout the restaurant area, all awaiting live performances from local artists. The amount of people dispersed throughout the small setting gradually increased and the air buzzed with chatter. As The Yips took their places on stage, the crowd’s noise level dropped and was replaced with the sound of an alternative rock/funk garage jam.
Lead vocalist and guitarist Sampson Bandes’ raspy voice pierced through the amplifiers, crashing perfectly with bassist Jack Simons’ sound. The drums came in and tied the instruments together, adding passion to the performance.
Their complex beats separate them from the mainstream. The variety of genres ranged from blues to funk to eerie sound effects to rock. The groove they projected got people up on their feet, and by the end of the set, nearly everyone was built up with enthusiasm. The Yips’ final song, a cover of the infamous “Misirlou” made famous from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, had people running to the dance floor. After the set, they exited the stage leaving energy and adrenaline swirling through the airwaves.
The crowd mingled about as Second Dam set up their equipment, preparing for their set that would include string instruments, electric guitars, bass guitars, a ukulele, drums and vocals. The diverse instruments blended together perfectly to produce a sound that’s difficult to categorize.
The unexplainable sound of the music of Second Dam — influenced by bands like Good Old War, Dispatch and the Red Hot Chili Peppers — became apparent as they kept the crowd dancing with their opening song “Walk Across The Country.” To lead singer K.C. Weston’s surprise, the crowd knew every word to the band’s original songs.
“I have these amazing band mates who make this band what it is, but hearing people sing along? That’s what gets me personally,” Weston said. “All I really do is write, and as a lyricist, hearing people sing those words back? The feeling can’t be described.”
The band took a unique approach to The Police’s “Roxanne,” as Weston sang it with immense passion and a growling tone. They also took on The Strokes’ “Someday” and added their own liveliness to it.
The combination of Brian Schmidt’s electric violin and Kayla Sewell’s cello with Zack Jones’ electric guitar and PJ Scott’s bass with Nick Ciccantelli — who sat in for Andrew Weir — provided a solid foundation of distinct beats.
As fantastic as the music was, the crowd truly made the show what it was. The togetherness between friends and strangers was due to the one thing everyone had in common in that moment: the music was awesome and the energy was high.