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Singer revels in New Jersey roots

By Kalli Colacino

Students were eager to catch a glimpse of CUB Alt’s third show this semester in the Brower Student Center on Friday, Sept. 21. Opening band Free Cake for Every Creature got the crowd amped up with their indie pop tunes, and conversely, headlining singer-songwriter Mree got the crowd to unwind and relax with her indie folk music.

To vary her set, Mree plays a mix of original songs and covers. (Meagan McDowell / Photo Editor)

The crowd was energized and nodding along to the catchy lyrics as the band played. Drums were echoing throughout the room, and the crowd was loving every second of it.

Marie Hsiao, better known by her stage name Mree, stole the stage. Mree is a headlining singer/guitarist from Northern New Jersey, who has been writing songs since she was 14 years old. She got on stage with her guitar and plenty of laid-back confidence.

“My name is Marie, and I have some pretty chill songs to play,” she said.

The singer opened with her song “The Laundry Bin,” a mellow tune with lyrics about being an introverted person and trying to fit in. Hsiao’s airy, high-pitched voice stood out against the soft acoustics of her guitar. The students in the room were leaning forward, eager to hear more.

“I liked her a lot. Very smooth,” said freshman political science major Jacob Blumberg.

Mree’s song “Atmosphere” was a crowd favorite. Swaying and enjoying the sound, the crowd passionately clapped when the song concluded.

The background she provided on her writing process gave the song more meaning.

“I wrote (Atmosphere) a really really long time ago….I believe I wrote it in high school,” she said.

Mree switched gears a bit and began playing her electric guitar. She covered a popular classic, “I Want it That Way,” by the Backstreet Boys, to get the crowd pumped up. Mree’s mellow, raspy voice gave the song an original twist.

Her next song, “In the Kitchen,” was also well-received by the crowd. Mree let the audience know that she had just recorded a music video for the song and urged the crowd to watch it.

Mree ended her set with the song “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley. This song, and Mree’s light falsetto, calmed the crowd after an exuberating set. When she finished strumming the last chords, the crowd gave a booming ovation.

The opener, Free Cake for Every Creature, a Philadephia-based indie pop band, was partially responsible for the crowd’s pulsing energy during Mree’s set.

Lead singer/guitarist Katie Bennett wowed the crowd with her soft voice and predominant guitar. Heavy drums followed close behind, backing up Bennett’s screaming guitar. After a few high energy songs, Bennett said “we’re going to bring this down a little bit,” before switching gears to a more mellow sound.

During the song “Sideline Skyline” off the band’s most recent album, “The Bluest Star,” Bennett started with a guitar solo followed by the calming sound of a pedal steel guitar from a fellow band member.

Both Free Cake for Every Creature and Mree sold merchandise after the show, including T-shirts and album CDs.


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