‘Gossip Girl’ star brings his band to the Rat

By Kimberly Ilkowski
Features Editor

With the closing of the Rathskeller just a month away, one of the best ways to say goodbye was to hold one of its biggest shows to date. The bar was over-capacity on Friday, March 27, for indie-pop darlings Prinze George and soulful rockers MOTHXR to take the stage amidst the chaos of fans.

Prinze George dazzled the moment they hit the stage, wearing edgy and fashionable all-white ensembles. With a sparkling dress that continuously caught the light, lead singer Naomi Almquist shined while performing songs off the group’s debut, self-titled EP.

Almquist stuns while singing lead vocals for Prinze George. (Kimberly Ilkowski / Features Editor)
Almquist stuns while singing lead vocals for Prinze George. (Kimberly Ilkowski / Features Editor)

Almquist’s dance moves flowed to the rhythm of music, with Kenny Grimm jamming on his guitar and Isabelle De Leon dripping with fierce girl power as she killed it on the drums.

The Brooklyn-based trio had the crowd swaying and singing to songs like “This Time,” “Upswing,” “Victor” and a sugary-sweet cover of The White Stripes “We’re Going To Be Friends.”

The band just wrapped up a stint at South By SouthWest Music Festival in Austin, Tex. where they played a show a night.

“It was just a crazy, nuts, eye-opening experience,” Almquist said. “There’s no sound checks and it makes you learn to just let go and that the show must go on no matter what happens.”

The three had previously never been on tour before, so the experience also helped them find ways to survive being on the road.

“We learned how to function on very little sleep,” De Leon said.

Any lack of sleep they experienced from being at the festival was not visible at the show, as they rocked the crowd with high synths and drum solos by De Leon.

By the time MOTHXR finally took the stage, it was nearly impossible to navigate through the sea of people waiting for them to perform.

The large display of student attendance was caused by frontman Penn Badgley, who is widely known for his role as Dan Humphrey on the teen drama “Gossip Girl.”

MOTHXR, led by Badgley, performs a passionate rock set. (Kimberly Ilkowski / Features Editor)
MOTHXR, led by Badgley, performs a passionate rock set. (Kimberly Ilkowski / Features Editor)

Transitioning from acting to a career in music, Badgley displayed his skills on both vocals and guitar, as he led the crowd into a night of bluesy croons and smooth guitar solos.

The band, which has only been making music for roughly a year, played various singles such as “Stranger,” “Victim” and “Centerfold,” each with a distinctive, sultry flair.

These songs and many more will appear on their upcoming full-length release, but those who attended the show may be surprised by how the live versions of the songs will appear on the album.

“I listen to a lot of R&B and soul music, and you can hear a lot of that on the record,” Badgley said. “Our live sound is more rocky. It’s really a minimal album, I don’t play guitar on it, and there’s less long instrumentals.”

As Badgley moaned into his microphone, the incredibly talented Simon Oscroft shredded guitar at his side with Darren Will on synths and a new drummer who performed with a constant smile Although many students were there to see one of their favorite actors, it was important for them to see this different side of him and support his current endeavours.

“There’s that one element of it, you’re lucky if you’re able to find it,” Badgley said of the same passionate spark he gets from acting as well as performing music. “That’s how you know you’ve found a very special place when you can feel it (in another medium).”

The group is set to take on summer music festivals, starting in August with Full Moon Fest at Governor’s Island in New York City and TBD Festival in September.