Indie music groups draw diverse crowd response

I expected the turnout to be not good when I saw the vague event posters. Walking to the Dining Commons with an umbrella and still ending up wetter than a whale, I was positive there would be two, maybe three people there.

I was wrong.

The crowd of about 60-80 faces, many non-Eastern affiliates, came for the 7:45 p.m. show on Oct. 26 of three groups: Stephen Hoffman, and Saxon Shore.

A perfect compliment to each other, Stephen Hoffman might have seemed like the polar opposite of but Saxon Shore tied it all together.

Steve Hoffman kicked off the show with a completely instrumental set, at times a little ear-piercing.

At times, perhaps his attempts to be artistic covered his talent. With the amount of equipment he had for one guy with one guitar, it was questionable what sounds were from his guitar and which were artificially generated.

Hoffman’s set was an acquired taste.

Senior youth ministry major Ellen Thilo said, “I thought he was awful, pretentiously artistic.”

On the other hand, the audience was either sitting on the Dining Commons floor or lying down. Even those in a state that could be confused for sleeping had some form of movement.

Next came the band with a set described by lead vocalist and UPenn student James Porter as enigma and indie.

Unique is the band’s use of accordion, horns and a glockenspiel. I only wish the sound was better, for many of these instruments were hard to hear.

Drummer Steven Ribbons had particularly energetic solos. If there were better lighting, I would have expected to see sweat flying off his face.

The audience seemed to notice the difference between the two sets.

As Porter encouraged interaction, the audience was on its feet, head-banging, foot-stomping and fist-pumping. To the layperson, sounds like rock.

I invested $3 in a burned CD of tunes. It was worth it.

And now on to the main event, Saxon Shore.

A combination of the first two acts, Saxon Shore brought the beats from and the vibration of strings from Hoffman to create a new, instrumental sound to the evening.

In what is described on Myspace as, “indie/rock/ambient,” Saxon Shore is easy on the ears.

Thilo and Saxon Shore bass player Will Stichter describes them as “spacey.”

Much like the style of music, each audience member seemed to do his or her own thing for Saxon Shore. Some were sitting, some were lying on the floor and others were dancing to the beat of the music.

Without the distractions of lyrics, Saxon Shore is added to my study time playlist on iTunes.

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