By Julia Ahart
The usually bare, white walls of Brower Student Center Room 225 lit up with the vibrant sounds of indie rock as The Happy Fits took the stage to play their original music on Friday, Sep. 1 to kick off the CUB Alt concert series.
When the New Jersey-based band took the stage, band members Calvin Langman and Luke Davis, were joined by Graham Orbe, who filled in for their original guitarist Ross Monteith, who broke his arm and could not play. Monteith still came to the concert, however, to support his fellow band members.
Before the band played their first song of the night, their stage presence and personality had already filled the room. They jumped into their opening song, “Too Late,” and instantly had the audience bobbing their heads to the captivating music.
The electric cello, played by Langman, gave the band an iconic sound and left the audience raving over the instrument. With Davis on drums and Orbe on guitar, the stage was filled with contagious energy that spread to the audience throughout the night. The band performed “Achy Bones,” one of the songs on their album, Concentrate, which came out in June of this year, and they encouraged the audience to clap and sing along.
Several students at the concert were familiar with their music and were happy to sing along to their songs. Anna Gelson, a sophomore psychology major, has been listening to the band for two years. She first heard about The Happy Fits because the band members graduated from a rival high school in her area.
“Listening to them is easy for me,” Gelson said. “I like listening to their music when I’m chilling or doing homework.”
Toward the end of the concert, the band encouraged Monteith to join them on stage, despite having only one arm to perform with.
“Do it, you coward,” they jokingly taunted, trying to get Monteith to greet the audience.
When Monteith made his way to the stage pushing past the crowds, Langman praised him through the microphone.
“What a champ!” Langman called out as Monteith mounted the stage. The audience clapped for Monteith as he picked up a tambourine and sang the next song, While You Fade Away.
The Happy Fits ended their performance with “Grow Back,” one of the most popular songs from their new album. The relaxed yet powerful tone of the song swept through the room, creating an atmosphere that allowed the audience to connect with the music.
As the room slowly emptied, students crowded the merchandise table. While leaving the room, some students were sporting bright blue and pink The Happy Fits sweatshirts.
“Even the songs I didn’t know I was still dancing to, so it was fun,” said Anthony Saginario, a junior political science major who has been listening to the band for more a year. “It was awesome.”
The band expressed how impressed they were with how the concert space filled with so many fans, some of which were peers the band knew from high school.
“We were not expecting nearly that many people to show up,” Monteith said. “It’s super cool –– there was a great turnout tonight.”
The band explained how they met in high school and got their start after reconnecting via Facebook after graduation. They added that they started off using acoustic instruments, which was how the iconic cello made its way onto the stage.
“It was a nightmare to deal with in terms of sound,” Monteith said. “There were just so many problems with it that we just put it aside and bought this electric cello.”
Since then, The Happy Fits has consistently incorporated the instrument into their image as a band.
“It’s more common to see an acoustic cello with a string orchestra, so seeing it in this setting it pops out,” Orbe said.
The band shared their plans for an upcoming tour starting this month that starts in Canada and continues down the west coast of the U.S. The tour will pass through Austin, Texas, and then come up the east coast through North and South Carolina.
“We never even thought we’d make it out of Jersey,” Langman said.
The band is excited to be working on new music and has a possible second album in the works. As for now, The Happy Fits will be working on writing new songs while continuing to spread their original music across the country.