Tire fire no match for dedicated band

By Ann Montero
Correspondent

Grubbs didn’t let a late arrival stop him from spending time with fans. (Janika Berridge / Photo Assistant)

Make no mistake, the weekly College Union Board Rat Concert Series did take place Friday night, though not at the time everyone was expecting. Due to a tire factory fire and flooding on their way to the College, Wakey!Wakey! and opener Casey Shea didn’t arrive until 6:15 pm.

With no time for a decent sound check, Michael Grubbs and Rebecca of the five-person band Wakey!Wakey! took the stage at 7:25 p.m.
Grubbs started his short, seven-song set with his catchy “Square Peg Round Hole,” off the band’s most recent album, “Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said the Last Time I Saw You.”

The enthusiasm and general good humor Grubbs had on stage seemed to calm those who had been hoping for a longer show. Grubbs repeatedly apologized for the situation, promising, “I’m taking a helicopter here next time, and I promise to stick around. I don’t know where I’ll be yet, but I promise to stick around somewhere after the show to talk to everyone.”

The usual “crowd-pleasing pop and art-damaged indie rock” took a somber turn when Grubbs played a song off his EP “War Sweater.” The violin’s accompaniment sounded like creaky gates and rusty swings, and the lyrics supplied an eerie feeling when Grubbs sang, “And I love you, I swear it, I would never lie, but I fear for our lives and I fear your closed eyes.”

Grubbs pumped the crowd back up with his next three songs: “Light Outside,” “Twenty-Two” and “Dance So Good.” Between each song, Grubbs looked to connect with his audience, despite his limited time. He told a few stories about being on the road during concerts and tours and joked to the crowd, “I’m so stoked there’s so many people. Maybe my mom was right when she said I was good-looking.”

His second-to-last song, “Brooklyn,” may have been the most familiar to some because it was featured on the hit TV drama “One Tree Hill.” Grubbs played a small role in a couple of episodes in the show’s seventh season, where the producers incorporated his music into the show.

“I learned a lot. We upped our professionalism and I was introduced to so many people who were excited about my music,” Grubbs said when asked what it was like playing his music on the TV show.

Grubbs ended with another popular track, “Almost Everything,” which he admitted in an interview was currently his favorite song. He then left the stage and spent 20 minutes giving autographs and taking pictures with fans.

Shea wooed the crowd with songs about love on his acoustic guitar. (Janika Berridge / Photo Assistant)

Opener Casey Shea only played a 20-minute set of his songs and apologized for “the tire factory that caught fire.” Shea remained optimistic though, pumping up the crowd for Wakey!Wakey! Shea played soft, love-themed songs, with lyrics such as “Love is the answer, come on gather round,” and made sure he wasn’t going over his time limit so the crowd could see Wakey!Wakey!

The night began in a bit of chaos, however: When CUB members discovered the status of the band’s arrival time, they rushed to find student performers to play until the band showed up. Luckily, freshman physics and mathematics double major Ryan Manheimer, freshman Michael Cort and Signal photographer and sophomore interactive multimedia major Matt Mance were available to occupy the crowd for almost two hours.