Mannequin Pussy lights up First CUB Alt show

By Connor Iapoce
Staff Writer 

Dabice livens the crowd (Darby VanDeVeen / Staff Photographer).

In front of the tricolor glow of the stage lights, three bands took control of the semester’s first CUB Alt show, where they provided demanding performances for an intimate crowd who threw the energy right back at them. 

The College welcomed alternative and indie rock bands Mannequin Pussy, Steep Leans and Shelf Life to the stage in the Brower Student Center Room 225 on Oct. 1. The crowd filled up as the night went on and sounds collided in a way best described as punk rock. 

Mannequin Pussy, a modern punk band from Philadelphia, unleashed a frenzy of guitars, sludgy bass and pounding drums mixed with powerful sonic vocal punches. The set was blistering, with the band speeding through its set and hitting fan favorites such as “Drunk II” and the title track of its recent album “Patience.” 

Fronted by singer Marisa Dabice, the band thanked the crowd for coming out on a Tuesday, as the crowd eagerly began to roll in for the headliner. 

“I’ve been getting into Mannequin Pussy recently, so it was really cool seeing them live,” said Sara Weingartner, a senior graphic design major. 

Dabice offered up an apology to the crowd, as she had a bit of a cold, but it wasn’t apparent as her vocals ranged from an impassioned howling to powerful whispers without skipping a beat. 

The band thought it had some technical issues with the music, but Dabice noted that “it was good enough for a conference room.” 

Under a haze of feedback and crunchy guitars, the songs were short and sweet, demonstrating a fierce creativity of never wasting a second of time. 

As the set closed down, with the band playing frantically through its last three songs and Dabice giving it her all on stage, the crowd lit up with a swell of energy from dancing, moshing and banging their heads. 

The first support was Shelf Life, an alternative rock that also hails from the City of Brotherly Love. With aspects of a jam band, Shelf Life chilled out the atmosphere in the early stages of the night. The standout piano and driving drum beats led the intimate music, under the crooning vocals of frontman Scotty Leitch. 

Leitch built a rapport with the audience, asking them a series of “this or that” questions like “Queen or Led Zeppelin?” and “Moon or Sun?” and the infamous story of Van Halen and brown M&M’s. 

Leitch told the crowd exactly what was coming up next by saying, “we’re going to play a rock song.” 

“Welcome to the drop d portion of the show,” he said, in describing the change of the guitar tuning to create a heavier sound. 

Audience members bobbed their heads against Shelf Life’s rocking back and forth on stage, creating pensive harmonies between the floor and stage. Leitch said the band was happy to be there and would play for 3 hours if that’s how much time was left in the set. 

“I’m definitely going to check out Shelf Life, because they had a really cool sound,” Weingartner said.

The main support came from Boston’s Steep Leans, a moody, ambitious indie band mixing elements of lo-fi and surf rock. Lead singer Jeffrey Gray Somers stood stage right as the band commanded a dominating presence while working its way through the chaos of its personal rock and roll. 

The slick guitars swirled against the droning drums and bass, creating a groovy and sometimes wavy, art punk sound. Songs were powered from the rhythmic, jangly guitars finding purpose under the haze of Somers’ melodic vocals. 

“I thought Steep Leans had a really amazing set,” said Alana Staskiewicz, a senior urban education and mathematics dual major. “It felt like a movie. At one point, I caught myself closing my eyes and listening and just being amazed.”

Somers said little on the stage as the set never slowed down, but he thanked the crowd for coming out to the first show in which the band played new songs from its album “Naukeag.” 

The band seemingly never misstepped while powering through the set, in sync as the members raised their guitars in unison to bring them crashing back down in an act of dramatic punk energy. 

“I thought the show went great,” said Somers. “It’s fun coming back to Jersey. I’m a Philly, at sometimes, native so it’s good to be back in the hood and in the area. Love coming out and seeing some college kids. Good time playing these shows, for sure.”

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