Despite almost an hour-long interlude of electronic music, there was a tangible change in the energy of the crowd as Grouplove came onstage to Skrillex and ASAP Rocky’s “Wild for the Night” at the Fall Concert in Kendall Hall on Saturday, Nov. 9.
Once Grouplove’s performance was fully underway, their music worked its magic on the crowd. The second song they played, “I’m With You,” reflected the crowd’s change in demeanor as its intro built in intensity and merged different musical elements.
By the time singer and guitarist Christian Zucconi crooned the opening line, “I’m with youuu,” the students, who had occupied individual seats, took to their feet to form a group swaying and dancing in unison.
“I really felt the love. Their music is just so upbeat and easy to relate to,” senior graphic design major Mariska Voell said.
The synergy that overcame the audience on Saturday night was paralleled by the strong bonds the band created at an artist residency in Greece. Vocalist and guitarist Andrew Wessen said,
“We were a tight-knit group among other artists, when we got together we would yell ‘Group!’ Then we just evolved into Grouplove.”
After touring and recording together for more than four years, the group is still extremely positive about the connections between their personal and musical relationships.
“It’s like being on a team, and you’re with your homies,” said vocalist and keyboardist Hanna Hooper.
Wessen then added, “It really prolongs your career if you can say ‘OK’ and be friendly with one another … I feel like (the band) is still in its honeymoon period.”
Despite the strong connection among Grouplove’s members, they don’t take on a single image and don’t collectively fill a specific stereotype. This description is personified in their willingness to embark on new adventures while on tour.
“We like to do anything that’s unique, because the lifestyle can be very monotonous if you let it,” drummer Ryan Rabbin said.
This penchant for the unbeaten path has taken members of Grouplove to Red, White and Blue thrift shop in Trenton before Saturday’s concert and beekeeping during their previous stop at American University.
The diversity that defines Grouplove is also evident in their music — both stylistically and in its meaning.
During the concert, Grouplove showcased a wide variety of tracks from their three current releases featuring poppy songs, tracks reminiscent of rock ’n’ roll and even synth-laden jams. This range of musical sounds and instruments was indicative of the band’s open-ended intent for its music.
“We look to move listeners in a positive way,” Wessen said. “If you want to be happy, we make you more happy. If you want to feel depressed, we make you feel more depressed. We’re looking to accentuate the mood that you want to believe.”
Grouplove’s product isn’t targeted at one type of fan, and it isn’t created to evoke a particular emotion. But whether they’re performing at a college, major venue or large festival, there is a specific style in which they perform.
“We only know how to play one way, which is super reckless and fun. Depending on whatever arena you’re playing in, that never changes,” Wessen said.
Grouplove’s ability to appeal to a wide group of people was evident in their concert succes. Combined with their commitment to performing enthusiastically, the band ultimately left a positive impression on the College’s students.
“It was incredible when (they) started playing,” senior exercise science major Michael Yarish said. “I found myself dancing in unison with kids I’ve only ever seen in class. Powerful stuff.”
Thanks to our friends at Lions Television for taking a video of the interviews: