By Maddi Ference
In honor of Homecoming weekend, CUB Alt invited three alumni bands back to where they all began, for impressive performances on Friday, Oct. 23, in the Decker Social Space.
The Black Sox Scandal, Gianna’s Sweet Debut and Not Rutgers are comprised of alumni who share a love for music and the College.
The Black Sox Scandal lead singer Tom Smeaton conversed with the audience in between songs, including bits and pieces of the band’s backstory and songs that they wrote and performed during their time at the College.
“We wrote this song over at the Music Box and we played it for the first time at the Rat — rest in peace,” Smeaton said about the now closed bar and music venue formerly in the Brower Student Center.
Even though the campus has changed since The Black Sox Scandal formed, Smeaton and guitarist Dan Lisi, both 2013 graduates, said the origin will forever remain the same. The friends were not only in the same graduating class but also played their first show together in the Rathskeller in late 2012. Of its five members, only Smeaton and Lisi were in attendance which resulted in a very relaxed acoustic performance that highlighted Smeaton’s vocals and Lisi’s guitar skills.
The pair performed songs similar to that of the popular acoustic pop punk duo This Wild Life, and put on a very calm yet fun set for their audience. Though they were not performing in front of a large audience, the heart and passion they performed with was comparable, and arguably better than any artist on the Top 50 charts.
Following their performance, the band Gianna’s Sweet Debut took the stage. The band featured alumnus Chase Destierro on vocals and guitar, Scott Calhoun on bass and Dominick D’Aversa on drums. The band played a lively set and showcased their alternative sound.
The band Not Rutgers played a set of covers which ranged from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “American Girl” to John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change,” most of which made the audience nostalgic for their college days.
Everyone in the audience sang along as the band jumped around on stage and ended the concert on an enjoyable and lively note, perfectly conveying the overall excited atmosphere of the College with Homecoming just around the corner.
“It’s cool to see old students who were in (new students’) shoes continue to play music. It shows it’s doable to split time (between) jobs and continuing to make music,” said Christine DiPierro, a junior engineering management major who serves as the CUB Alt event coordinator.
For current student-musicians looking to start a band, the general consensus from the alumni was to go out and just make it happen.
“Just talk to people,” said Matthew Mance, a 2014 alumnus and member of Not Rutgers. “Reach out and put yourself out there.”
The alumni were very supportive of the other bands on the lineup as they were seen sitting amongst the audience and singing along to the songs they were familiar with.
“Take that first step to get started,” Lisi said. “Having a band in college is all about having a good time and make a lot of friends.”