Dancing students rock to electric Rat Show bands

By Shayna Inocentti
Staff Writer

Students were dancing around in the Rathskeller on Tuesday, April 2 as the bands We Are The City, Bear Hands and Hey Ocean! took to the stage for an unforgettable triple performance.

The indie rock band from Kelowna, British Columbia, We Are The City, was the first group to break in the crowd at the College Union Board’s show. Three guys, Cayne McKensi (vocals/keyboards), David Mensel (guitar) and Andrew Huculiak (drums) made up the trio.

Indie rock bands keep the crowd moving all night at the Rat. (Janika Berridge/ Photo Assistant)

“We are happy to be here tonight,” McKenzie said.

Despite microphone problems at the beginning of the performance, the band went ahead and played five songs for the College. A memorable moment of the performance was when McKenzie closed his eyes while playing the keyboard, and breathed the lyrics into the mic, opening a song with the lyrics, “I’m afraid I’m going to hell … You’re always thinking of yourself.”

The audience was captivated by the vulnerability of the opening of this song, which soon sped up to include chords from the guitar and a thick beat from the drums.

All of the songs played had a unique start-stop sound of rapidly fired notes that were followed by a slight pause, catching the audience off guard, keeping them on their toes.

Bears Hands, an indie rock/post-punk group from Brooklyn was the second band to perform. Formed in 2006, the band’s four members have worked hard to form their upbeat and rebellious sound.

“We just recorded our second record. It doesn’t have a name yet,” said vocalist and guitarist Dylan Rau. “We are going to play you some of the new songs that we have been working on.”

Fast-paced music with heavy guitar chords from Ted Feldman (guitar/keyboard) and a deep bass sound from Val Loper (bass/percussion) quickly filled the room. Students instinctively began bobbing their hands and taping their feet to the infectious music.

One of the new untitled songs described a man’s troubled mind and the trials of relationships: “I am in love with this feeling, but I must confess that feelings are fleeting.”

The last song Bear Hands played, “Crime Pays,” opened with a steady beat from the drummer, T.J. Orscher, and was quickly followed by the rest of the band in this rebellious outcry.

The indie pop band Hey Ocean! from Vancouver, Canada was the last to commandeer the stage.

Flute notes and a drumbeat introduced the band’s opening song “I Am a Heart.” Beckingham and Vertesi’s voices soon accompanied Ball’s words, blending beautifully.

The innovative trio experimented with different instruments to form their unique sound. Some of the instruments included various shaped and sized maracas, cow bells and a xylophone.

During the song “Change,” the trio even utilized their voices to produce harmonized whistling that wowed the audience, as they clapped along to keep the tempo.

“Hey Ocean! was so different and refreshing from anything that I have heard before. Everything they did was so unexpected,” said Julie Hang, sophomore psychology and music double major at Rider University.

What was even more unexpected was when Hang’s boyfriend pulled her out of her seat to be the first to start dancing. A crowd of other students soon joined in, dancing on top of the tables alongside Ball and Vertesi as the song “Make A New Dance Up” filled the Rat.

At the closing of the show, students were able to purchase merchandise from all of the bands that performed that night — including a great deal on the Hey Ocean! album at a “pay what you can” price.

Many lined up, still smiling, ready to purchase a memento from an unforgettable night.