Tickets for the all-ages show are $25, available at www.rojimusicpresents.com or at the gate.
Sophistafunk (12:30 p.m.)
Mix rich synths with crazy deft flow, plus solid hip-hop rhythms to round out the bottom, and you’ve got the dance-fevered local outfit Sophistafunk. Adam Gold on keys, synths and vocals, emcee Jack Brown and drummer-vocalist Emanuel Washington will jump-start the day’s festivities with jams from their new 12-track LP twentyeleven (Funk is So Phat Records) that will keep the funk faithful on their toes.
Gold is extra-stoked for the 219 showcase: “I’m excited to play with bands very diverse from the usual sound we play with. We’re excited to be a part of it.” After sharing the stage with the New York City bands at 219, Sophistafunk will shoot up to Sterling Stage to play the Last Daze of Summer fest, then continue planning a fall-winter tour that should have them trekking to Colorado. Meanwhile, Sophistafunk is playing Thursday nights with a variety of bands from Rochester and Manhattan at local hotspot Funk n’ Waffles, 727 S. Crouse Ave.
Gold also has a warning for those attending the 219 Takeover: “Tie up your sneakers, because you’re gonna be gettin’ down really hard in the 219 parking lot. Get ready to sweat and enjoy the sound.”
Widowspeak (1:30 p.m.)
The whispering, soft vocals of Molly Hamilton creep out over the alternating relaxed and urgent drums of Michael Stasiak and the intricate, grinding guitar lines of Robert Earl Thomas. The ambient sound of this Brooklyn-based trio has a dreary tinge, gray and misty like a dewy morning, perhaps inspired by Hamilton and Stasiak’s Washington state upbringings along the Pacific. Stasiak and Thomas, who both studied at New York University, came together when Stasiak and Hamilton realized they needed a guitarist to get the band going. When the powers of three combined, a self-titled LP (Captured Tracks) resulted, which was released in August.
The London Souls (2:30 p.m.)
Breathing new life into the power trio, this New York City-based band will be cruising upstate to the Salt City, bringing tunes from their debut self-titled album (EMI) released on July 12. It’s been a while since the threesome last visited Syracuse; according to guitarist-vocalist Tash Neal, “We used to play frat parties a long time ago when a friend went to school there.”
The 219 Takeover! should be a little different in comparison to their last visit, as the band has certainly come a long way since blaring bass in frat house basements. Their debut album was recorded in seven days at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London, an “amazing experience” according to Neal. And yes, they are Beatles fans. “If you had told me three years ago that we’d be recording there I would have said, ‘No way,’” Neal says. “The studio definitely has a vibe and was an overwhelming experience we’re really proud of.”
The London Souls came together in 2008, as the current members and other musician friends mixed and mingled in different groups in the Big Apple, eventually settling into a three-piece lineup:
Neal, Kiyoshi Matsuyama on bass and backup vocals and Chris St. Hilaire on drums and backup vocals. Expect a tight, but aggressive performance that dis tinctly reminds why the power trio keeps coming back again and again.
Beach Fossils (3:30 p.m.)
Imagine soft drumbeats punctuating the meter, guitar musings layered over flowing tunes and fuzzy vocals to top off the package. Beach Fossils take chill to new low levels, with the band’s relaxed rhythms earning them prestige gigs like South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. Their March CD release What a Pleasure (Captured Tracks) features help from Jack Tatum of the one-man pop band Wild Nothing on “Out in the Way,” in addition to the natural songwriting dynamics of Dustin Payseur and John Pena. Although the Payseur-Pena duo commands the recordings on the album, when performing live they are joined by Tommy Gardner and Cole Smith to fill in the layered sound.
The Vivian Girls (4:30 p.m.)
Straight out of Brooklyn comes this tuneful trio with a garage-band feel that delivers a solid punch of pop hooks. Still on the road since April to push their fittingly titled third album Share the Joy (Polyvinyl Record Co.), guitarist-vocalist Cassie Ramone, bassist-vocalist Kickball Katy and new drummer Fiona Campbell have toured from Florida to Canada to Texas before landing back at their borough’s home base. The band, which began in 2007, has released two previous albums for the In the Red label, Vivian Girls in 2008 and Everything Goes Wrong in 2009. Their current LP for Polyvinyl boasts new levels of emotional depth and successful paths into uncharted lyrical and musical territories, with brief jumps into infectious Beach Boys-esque tunes like “Sixteen Ways.” Let the ladies rip.
On The Right Tracks
By: Jessica Novak
There’s nothing like traditional college radio. Every disc jockey has their own style: rock, punk, alternative, metal, hip-hop, funk, world, jazz, Americana and more. The on-air personalities are usually young, passionate and enthusiastic just to share the music they love with whoever’s got the dial turned to their frequency. And there’s no playlist of required tracks scheduling Justin Timberlake and Rihanna every 30 minutes.
Local National Public Radio outlet WAER-FM 88.3 captures that excitement for new sounds by bringing students into the station on Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. for the program Real College Radio (RCR), as they spin musical upstarts that aren’t heard on the pigeonholed genre-specific commercial stations. Before RCR, which will soon celebrate its first anniversary, local ears were unable to locate tracks by Portugal. The Man, WolfMother, Young the Giant and bands such as those playing at the 219 Takeover! on Saturday, Sept. 17, including Beach Fossils, Widowspeak, The London Souls, Sophistafunk and The Vivian Girls.
WAER general manager Joe Lee loved the RCR concept, which would allow the station to unite with the student-run Syracuse University station WERW, now streaming online at www.werwradio. wordpress.com. “We decided to partner and create a program that would highlight music that you would typically hear on a college station because I think that is missing in this market,” Lee says. “There isn’t really a non-commercial entity that is playing music that features up-andcoming, breaking, little-known, emerging artists, whatever the term is you want to put on it. There is a void to fill there and that’s the direction we decided to go in with this program.”
Although WAER is primarily known as a jazz station, Lee thought the musical stretch wasn’t too much for the station’s audience. “We have some eclectic music programs on the weekends,” he says. “And what we’re trying to do is position ourselves as public radio for music lovers. So it fits well with the public radio demographic, which is folks who listen to public radio and have a keen interest in learning and discovering new things, including music.”
Lee says the audience feedback has been overwhelmingly positive for the program, which kicked off last fall. Marina Zarya, a former producer of RCR and now a graduate student at Syracuse, helped Lee brainstorm the idea while she was WERW’s general manager. Then she began picking the DJs, who had to submit soundcheck samples from their radio shows on WERW, which were then critiqued by Lee. There are currently 10 DJs who rotate among two Saturday shifts, from 8 to 11 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Zarya still DJs as well and sees the benefits on both sides of the sound waves. “We definitely wanted our students to have access to a professional studio like WAER, so part of the goal was very educational,” she says. “It’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some of these kids to do a show on an NPR station. And radio nowadays, it’s all kinda the same thing. There’s a lot of Top 40, country, classic rock, they all have automated playlists and play the same music over and over. The point of radio is to bring new music and new cultural awareness to the community, and the best way is to get young DJs who are in touch with the music.”
Lee and Zarya both noted that several DJs are not broadcasting majors, just students who are extremely passionate about sharing their musical tastes each week. Yet responses to the program have been comparable to those garnered by professionals. Louis D’Adamio, a DJ and co-executive producer of RCR, has noticed the feedback: “During our Saturday programming we constantly get people calling in and telling us they love the show, they love how we are trying to change the radio and that they haven’t heard radio this good since the 1960s.”
Lee expects the program to keep growing as long as there’s an audience to support it. Part of the growth plan includes reaching out to students and the community through events such as the 219 Takeover! concert, which is sponsored by Real College Radio, WAER and the Syracuse New Times. “I thought it would be a perfect vehicle for us to get recognition for RCR,” Lee says.
Zarya agrees that the event is an ideal complement to RCR. “We definitely want to build our audience. We want to get involved with different things going on in Syracuse because the community is really growing here and there’s tons of music events and cool places opening up, interesting people and new students,” she says. “Our goal is just to keep expanding it and become a bigger presence in the Syracuse community and especially in the university. In crosspromoting with the 219 Takeover!, our goals are the same: to bring new music to Syracuse. And that’s what Real College Radio does.”