October 27, 2020
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Duster sweeps audience at CUB Alt show

By Connor Iapoce
Staff Writer

The San Jose band plays a roaring guitar (Darby VanDeVeen / Staff Photographer).

A slow burn of a night led to an atmospheric setting on Oct. 18 in the Brower Student Center Room 225.

The College hosted influential space rock band Duster, originally from San Jose, California, who recently reformed in 2018 after it was first active from 1996 to 2001. The supporting acts for the night were Beauty and They Are Gutting a Body of Water. 

Duster captivated the audience through its melodic slow core. The band’s music combined a mixture of ethereal instrumental jams and hazy vocals shrouded deeper in the mix. The mood was set in the darkness of the room, as the shoegaze-y guitars led the way against the deeper bass section and steady drumming. 

Audience members slowly bobbed their heads in appreciation of an indie rock band’s favorite group, with Duster being a heavily influential underground band. 

A loud cheer erupted from the crowd when Duster mentioned that its new album will be out in December, marking its first new original release in 19 years. Cell phone videos lit up the night as people sought to capture the special moment of seeing the band make a comeback.

A band of few words, Duster jammed through the set, echoing the post-rock mystery of the lyrics and music on the Ewing campus playing songs like “Gold Dust” and “Heading for the Door.” The band thanked the crowd and, as quickly as it started playing, the night was over with a pensive mood reverberating in the room. 

“I missed the first two bands, but I think Duster was pretty good,” said Cecilia George, a junior graphic design major. “They were very mellow and it was kind of dripping with a lot of mood, and I enjoyed that a lot. I specifically like the songs that got a little bit harder.”

The main support came from Philadelphia’s They Are Gutting a Body of Water (TAGABOW.) Despite a late start to the set, the crowd was willing to stick around as the room filled up, with a mixture of both College and non-College students coming to enjoy the free concert. 

TAGABOW filled up most of the tiny stage with its five members but the music reverberated powerfully. The music was drone-y, heavy on distortion and used samples in between songs along with fuzzy bass and absolutely monumental drumming. 

The ambitious, experimental project is fronted by singer Douglas Dulagarian, who started TAGABOW as a solo act and then brought in a full band. 

With the band’s experimental slowcore reverberating in the room, there were slight hiccups with unwanted feedback from the amps, but the group powered through the set playing songs from its new album “Destiny XL.”

Dulgarian played a sample from “Jersey Shore” to get a laugh from the crowd, but the band stayed silent for the most part, letting the existence of the songs take hold. 

With one final song, the band seemingly cut its set abruptly short, fitting the style of night with the group being there one second and gone the next. 

“It was my first time hearing them (TAGABOW), and I thought they did a really, really good job,” said Ryan Soldati, a senior communication studies major. “It was a little shoegaze-y, it had some noise segments played back on a sample, which I thought was really cool. Not something I often see at shows played here and Duster was great too.”

The first opener was Beauty, a New Jersey-native out of Red Bank. Its mixture of jangly, power pop was a slick way to open the show. Singer Deaglan Howlett asked the audience to come closer to the stage in an intimate moment for the band, thanking the crowd for coming out early and watching them play. 

The group jammed through the set, playing power chords and harmonizing crooning vocals on songs like “Crumple” and “Sweet.” The songs were emotional and heartfelt against the urgency of the blue and red lights projected against the wall. 

Howlett was thankful for the crowd’s energy, saying, “without you, this wouldn’t happen.”

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