While GW bands don’t always take the spotlight on campus, the Student Musicians Coalition set the stage for four student bands Friday at Mitchell Hall Theater.
Buzz about the event, colloquially called “Foggy Bottom Bonnaroo,” grew as the four bands signed on to the bill – representing a range of genres.
The show started late with Sam Fox-Hartin, a philosophy major whose folk-inspired sound is only amplified by his harmonica, guitar and plaid shirt. The senior came down from the stage into a crowd of close friends who screamed his name as he sang heartfelt songs and quipped with the crowd that alternatively stood and sat in an intimate half-circle around him.
“It’s really, really nice having your friends come out and showing support,” Fox-Hartin said. “No one’s being an asshole.”
Fox-Hartin’s songs varied between the upbeat – a cover of Weezer’s “Buddy Holly” that got the audience singing – and softer songs where Fox-Hartin crooned, “Everything that’s cold and wrong is what’s taking me back home.”
Que Crivella blasted onto the stage next removing all trace of the singer-songwriter that preceded it, as the crowd got bigger, closer and crazier.
The crowd grew larger and more raucous with every song as the craziest members of the audience filled the small space between the band and the audience. The set ended with a crowd unable to make up its mind, screaming both for another song and for The Harpies’ highly anticipated final performance of the night.
It was clear The Harpies were influenced by the surroundings. While the band’s sound is a mesh of different genres, its songs held a reverence for the group’s environment. One song was even dedicated to “the homeless guy on Pennsylvania Avenue with the red cap and the beard.”
The Harpies and the opening performances proved that the music scene at GW has potential and support.
“We all know a lot of guys in these bands,” Brett Harrison, who came to support his friend Youssef Bishara, The Seedheads’ drummer, said. “It’s not really a community, but there’s a ton of potential – look how many people we have here tonight.”
The show ended with a joint effort from the members of all four sets doing a cover of The Kingsmen’s “Louie, Louie.” During the song, University Police Department officers responded to a noise complaint and came to shut down the event, but allowed the bands to finish up upon learning the show was almost over.
The night drew to a close as both The Seedheads and The Harpies stressed their hope to produce more events like Foggy Bottom Bonnaroo in the future to help cultivate the GW music scene. The event’s audience shared the sentiment.
“Everybody came out of the woodwork,” freshman Jordan Morrisey said. “It’s not exactly what people would expect, but is definitely something that should exist.”