By Mae Kristy Calacal
Outside the closed doors of room 100W of the Brower Student Center, a line of students stretching over the steep staircase located by the east entrance waited to be seated. Some gathered in groups of two or more, discussing everything from the show’s headliners, Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins of Tigers Jaw, to their opinion of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
While some opted for the simplicity of a pair of jeans and a sweater, the majority of students preferred styles associated with the alternative and punk rock subcultures — combat boots, leather jackets and T-shirts with band logos like The Wonder Years and Modern Baseball emblazoned across the front.
The students had come to watch three acts that are huge hits in the local New Jersey and Pennsylvania music scene: Dylan Walker of Aw Shucks, Sarah M. and Walsh and Collins of Tigers Jaw.
While some performers at CUB Alt are not as well known as others, Cub Alt coordinator and junior English major Morgan Lubner sees their merit.
“It’s cool for (the bigger bands) to come around,” Lubner said, “but the shows are also great opportunities for those starting out to put their name out there.”
She cited Walker, of Aw Shucks, as an example. A longtime fan of the main act, Tigers Jaw, Lubner recounts the time she had emailed the band, asking them to perform at CUB Alt. According to Lubner, “it was a surreal moment” when they agreed to come.
Walsh and Collins played a sample of their discography, starting from their album “Charmer” to the newly released “Spin.” In between songs, the pair spoke with the students and dedicated a cover of The Cure’s song “In Between Days” to Walsh’s family members, some of who were present at the show.
Walker of Aw Shucks, the opener, performed his song, “PJs.” The song had lyrics that could easily resonate with the average college student, such as “Won’t you look at the time? I’m running late for my classes.”
Two others joined him after the song, representing 3/4 of the band, Aw Shucks, from Westampton, New Jersey. Aw Shucks played its set, which included songs like “Spitting Flowers” and “Signals.” Following suit were the tracks “Oh Sheesh” and “Backroads.”
After a five-minute break, Philadelphia-based musician, Sarah M. took the stage touting only a black bass with an amber-colored pickguard. To conclude her act, Sarah M. chose to open up to the audience about the negative effects of drugs and show business.
She advocated for more discussions in the music industry regarding these issues. She then dedicated her final song to a friend lost to drugs, whom she misses dearly.
“I lost a lot of beautiful people to drug overdose,” Sarah M. said.
Walsh, meanwhile, was grateful for the opportunity to perform with his band.
“It is a really amazing thing to play music and make a living out of it,” Walsh said. Walsh recognized the divide between local bands and those who have more experience in the music business, however he said “college shows are great for (closing that gap).” While everyone has their different interests, goals, and area of study, many agree that music, no matter where it comes from, brings people together. In this case, the unity took place in room 100W of the student center.