Pegasus Jetpack takes flight from the Rat

A trio of bands injected the Rathskeller with its first dose of rock ‘n’ roll this year when the College Union Board (CUB) held its first student band night of the semester on Jan. 25.

Pegasus Jetpack’s piano-driven sound meshed with post-hardcore quintet Faster than Fate and a group of garage-rockers dubbed Crashing Monty to provide Friday night Rat patrons with the first of many eclectic shows on the spring concert schedule.

Pegasus Jetpack seemed to be the crowd favorite, entertaining the relatively docile audience with a catchy, melodic set that induced foot-tapping and head-nodding around the room. The four-piece indie outfit is the newest project headed by lauded College soloist Jon Irizarry.

“At this point in time, my solo music is on the backburner. I really enjoy writing with a band,” Irizarry, sophomore business major, said. “I imagine at some point I’ll do some more solo stuff, but for right now, I’m focused on the band.”

The focus is paying off. A departure from his part-psychedelic, part-experimental solo record, Irizarry, who is a triple threat as a vocalist, guitarist and pianist, delighted the crowd as he nimbly pounded the ivories and paired off with vocalist/bassist Rick Rogers for some dazzling soft harmonies throughout their hour-long set. The band’s mellow, yet engaging sound displayed a heavy influence from Ben Folds Five, which was only cemented when the group covered his ’90s hit “Army.”

“Ben Folds Five is definitely one of our bigger influences, but we also like to add some funk, like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. For us, it’s really just a mix of fun music to play and listen to,” Irizzary said.

The band’s subdued performance was a radical departure from the high-octane thrash fest that preceded them in the form of Faster than Fate. Hailing from Ben Salem, Pa., the band had no qualms about acting as an electric shock to the typically sedate audiences that attend CUB’s Friday night concerts. Guitars and microphone cables swung freely as the group raced through a set list comprised of post-hardcore and screamo style songs that are typically native to the Jersey scene. Despite receiving a ho-hum reaction from a crowd unfamiliar with its sound, guitarist Kyle Macmanus continued to act like he was headlining the Warped Tour, even doing a flip off his bassist’s back at one point.

“That was actually pretty low-energy for us,” Macmanus said after the performance. “When there are people who are into the music, we’re way crazier.”

Surprisingly, it was the band’s quietest piece that garnered the most attention. As vocalist Tim Khun exited the stage mid-set, the band unleashed an unnamed four-minute instrumental full of chorus-delay effected guitar that managed to turn a few heads. While the song didn’t even belong in the same area code as the band’s aggressive openers “Show Some Spine” and “30 Pieces,” its distant but poignant sounds seemed like they would have been right at home on Circa Survive’s emotionally-charged debut album “Juturna.”

Openers Crashing Monty, who claimed they were playing again for the first time in six months, took the stage with a set of guitar-heavy rock songs that employed enough power chords to make you never want to hear one again. The quartet of sophomores, split between Rowan University and the College, produced a series of structurally-safe, standard rock tunes accentuated by the vocals of Joe Conboy, whose sing/scream style danced along the lines of Bear Vs. Shark’s Marc Paffi.

CUB holds its student band nights all semester, so be sure to stop by the Rat to see what’s hot and what’s not in the College’s music scene.