QU Snow concert features live music by student band Zoocore

By on October 27, 2004

Quinnipiac’s QU Snow club held a ski and snowboard awareness fair last Saturday, and capped off the day of free events with a concert featuring three bands, one of which, Zoocore, featured a QU student member. The concert was put on by QUSNOW, an organization for ski and snowboard enthusiasts, or for those who would like to learn the ropes of the slopes. The club organizes day trips to northern ski resorts where members can ski or snowboard at discounts. QUSNOW is also involved in Parents’ Weekend and organizes projects for community service.

There was supposed to be four bands playing but one of the bands, Little Yellow Box, dropped out at the last minute. The first band up was Zoocore, starring one of Quinnipiac’s undergraduates, Jack McNamara. Each one of Zoocore’s songs is about an animal, except for one song which had the lyric “Don’t mess with my boxers!” and was accompanied by one of McNamara’s friends whom he called onto the stage. One of the band’s members was sick so McNamara took it upon himself to put on a solo acoustic performance.

His music was satirically emotional punk, lacking any relevance to politics, society, or real emotion with respect to romantic relationships or any human qualities. It was obvious that McNamara was not taking the whole thing or himself seriously and he made it clear that he knew his performance was kind of ridiculous, which is not a bad approach to such a diverse genre of music.The lyrics to Zoocore’s songs are satirical, goofy, and for the most part pretty funny, reminiscent of the Phoebe character’s song “Smelly Cat” in the sitcom “Friends.”

McNamara performed a number of short haphazard songs, each one inconsistent, lacking a specific pace.

A major drawback to Zoocore’s performance was McNamara’s dependence on the crowd half of which was made up of his friends. For a lot of the songs he would call his friends up to dance and flail around to, or obnoxiously sing along with the songs which they appeared to be pretty familiar with; one of his friends got up onstage to perform an interpretive dance of an elephant. McNamara also talked too much in-between, or even during some songs which made the songs seem even more incomplete and underdeveloped than they already were.The breakdowns to some of the songs were slow-paced and, if they had been more intricately developed, could have been potentially arousing. It would be hard to evaluate Zoocore’s performance seriously or accurately since the lead singer was such a goof-ball and the band was not in its whole form.

The next band up was The Ames Curve from Massachusetts, with Alex Blair Lamb on bass, lead singer Rob Crean, Chris Mard on guitar, Brad Rubin on skins, and Brian Sullivan on guitar. Crean physically reminded me of the lead singer of The Mars Volta and At The Drive-In, since he had a miniature afro and a scruffy beard. The first song they played sounded a lot like a Saves The Day song from their album “Through Being Cool”, with respect to the fast base line and drilling guitar chords. Their songs have rusty, gritty, rocky guitar that backs up Crean’s light-hearted and high pitched vocals.

TAC is upbeat and electric. They sound like a mix between Fairweather, as the snare is very present among the rest of the instruments, and old Green Day; Crean’s voice quite closely resembles Billy Joe Armstrong’s voice from one of Green Day’s first albums, “1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours.” He has high-pitched vocals that change octaves frequently when he sings with rapid and shaky vibrato on end-notes.

Rubin was pretty impressive on drums and he was very creative with the high-hat, very constant on the crash cymbals, and overall, very quick. I could see ‘Ames’ blowing up in the emotional punk scene sometime soon.

The last group to play was Connecticut’s own First Aid Kit, with band members J.P., Brad, James, Nick, and Brian. At first listen, these guys sounded a little bit like the emo-folk-rock group As Tall As Lions with respect to the drums and bass, but as their performance progressed they proved themselves to be a bit more hard-edged. They had breakdowns like Thursday with soft, mellow, slow, and resonant guitar riffs.

The bass is funky, and the drums are quick and unique with a lot of coordination between snare, base, and hat. FAK carries out an incredible harmony, with the base, the drums, and guitar executing a very jarring and hard-hitting synchronization. They are like At The Drive In in that they have such an inconsistent and strident beat that is also attractive because it is so creative and heavy, and in their slow and instrumentally intricate introductions to some of their songs. Despite FAK’s similarity to such obscure and hard-edged musical groups, the lead singer’s voice closely resembles that of Chris Carrabba from Dashboard Confessional and Further Seems Forever.

These guys are energetic, with catchy bass, abstract and creative drums, and unusual lyrics like, “Two hands in pockets full with boastful shelter…The thread keeps spinning because in thread we trust” from the song “In Thread We Trust” off of FAK’s album, “Frights and Shivers.” First Aid Kit is smooth but hard, sensitive but harsh, with songs that have better harmony than melody.

Overall, the performances left something to be desired but that was mostly due to the Alumni Hall’s poor acoustics resulting in hard-to-hear vocals which were distorted by crashing drums and rough guitars. The lack of crowd-energy on account of the poor turnout also put a damper on the event as a whole.


About Dev Milburn