My American Heart and Sherwood gave UC Irvine students a treat on Wednesday, Sept. 20, when the two rock bands performed on Ring Road in the afternoon sun. Sponsored by Associated Students of UC Irvine, the bands gave their all for a substantial crowd of about 40 people.
First up was My American Heart, an alternative band with an ’emo’ edge. With no band member over the age of 19, it is remarkable that Heart has already performed at the 2005 and 2006 Warped Tours as well as Taste of Chaos last year. Comprised of vocalist Larry Soliman, guitarist Jesse Barrera and drummer Steven Oira, this Asian-American trio from San Diego played a set of six songs, mostly about broken hearts and broken dreams.
Heart has a rather relaxed style exemplified by the members sitting down while performing. Soliman, while clearly connecting with the emotional, heartfelt lyrics, was a bit of a screamer, oftentimes whining his way through songs. The band’s sound compares to that of Halifax or Funeral for a Friend.
Opening with ‘The Process,’ Heart exhibited their tragically poetic side, with lyrics such as ‘Take all my self-worth away / it’s just cold with no love in my veins.’
Next was ‘Poison,’ a somewhat bitter yet empowering tune assuring the crowd that even though love can knock you off your feet, you can, in fact, get back up again.
‘Don’t Sleep’ took a similar route, emphasizing that the world will continue to revolve despite a broken heart. The songs that followed were relatively similar, both in theme and sound, until the appropriately placed last song, which was faster and more upbeat.
The band called up two members from Sherwood to play tambourine for the last two songs, which gave Heart’s sound a bit more variety and flare. Noting that this was only their second college show ever played, it was understandable that the band had somewhat of a difficult time connecting with the crowd, but they were friendly nevertheless, constantly asking the crowd how they were feeling.
The band has an album entitled ‘The Meaning in Makeup’ that was released in September 2005. They hope to spread their unique take on rock music around the country.
Sherwood performed next, but this band’s music took a much different path than its predecessors. From the get go, it was clear that this was not merely a very talented group of musicians, but also an extremely friendly, tight-knit group of friends.
Made up of keyboardist Mike Leibovich, (a dead ringer for Andy Dick), Gabe Dutton on guitar, Nate Henry on bass and vocals, Dan Koch on guitar and vocals and drummer Joe Greenetz, a brunette with a head of hair so curly it would put a Muppet to shame, these San Luis Obispo natives had nothing but fun on stage during their set of eight songs.
The second Joe began playing, Mike broke out into a spastic dance, occasionally tossing his tambourine up in the air while rapidly running his fingers up and down the keys. Gabe turned his guitar into a dance partner, prancing around in a rock-like waltz on the stage, which they had strewn with flowers moments before. It is obvious that these five guys have no inhibitions when it comes to performing.
Unlike Heart, Sherwood’s lyrical themes range from independence (‘Traveling Alone’) to loyalty (‘I’ll Wait for You’) to romantic longing (‘Summer Sends Its Love’). Nate and Dan sang beautiful harmonies that went along nicely with the band’s catchy beats, similar to bands such as The Format and Limbeck.
What drew the crowd to Sherwood seemed to be their affability and their honesty, which they displayed in humorously admitting that they were stalling for the sole reason that they did not have enough songs.
They may not have planned their gig well, but it is that kind of disorder and mayhem that made Sherwood so appealing and enjoyable. Mixing fun with a simple passion for musical performance, they are the kind of band that manages to put a smile on anyone’s face, no matter their musical tastes.
All in all, the performances by Heart and Sherwood provided a great deal of musical variety and enjoyment for UCI students, helping to make Welcome Week the success that it was.