ASUCI refused to falter in its entrance to the new school year by inviting local darlings The Jakes and Newport Beach’s own Saosin for a free show in the seldom-used Aldrich Park. Oh, yeah. William Tell was there, too.
Outside of the festivities themselves, the night was also a critical outing for the newly indoctrinated officers of student services to appease the growing anxiety of a student body desperate for a big-name headliner. Wednesday night got ASUCI two Anteater thumbs up.
The festivities took place at 7 p.m when Irvine’s The Jakes took the stage. For a band right out of high school, it played like a group with more than a recently released EP under its alternative rock belt. The band’s set was nothing short of impressive as its energetic neo-blues style got many doubters stuck on its six-man effort, similar to the funk-infused rhythms of England’s The Kooks. Lead vocalist Sameer Gadhia’s clean, wide-ranging pipes were spot-on and never climbed to notes beyond his reach.
William Tell, another Orange County native, was truly a different story. In the same vein as his previous band, Something Corporate, Tell was quick to use the stage as his therapist’s office. His voice stayed at a constant, ear-piercing shriek, a similar sound to the nasal-obsessed vocal styles of many pop-punk bands in the 1990s. Despite his many attempts to rally the crowd in an anti-Irvine rant, his hackneyed style – overly emotional lyrics paired with simple guitar – got much of the crowd dancing with the Wienerschnitzel hot dog that made its presence known at the perfect time.
Saosin closed the show with, admittedly, a screamo-progressive style that is far too apparent and well-received in the Southern California music scene. Still, there was no denying the band’s raw talent with guitarists Justin Shekoski and Chris Sorensen’s metal-esque whirlwind performances. Alex Rodriguez, who replaced Saosin’s previous drummer during the recording of its “Translate the Name” EP, played an effortless, double-bass percussion attack that perfectly complemented the band’s many time changes.
After the departure of the band’s notable singer Anthony Green, who found greener pastures in Circa Survive and later his own solo effort, Saosin was looking to turn heads with a new studio album. It did just that with new singer Cove Reber in 2006. Reber’s charming, high-pitched voice on Saosin’s highly anticipated full-length album was almost non-existent as he was apt to scream rather than sing.
However, a bigger distraction was needed to forget the band’s tight performance. Saosin did not take itself too seriously. It let the music speak for itself.
The Welcome Week concert was truly a great production by ASUCI. Shocktoberfest, the annual Halloween themed festival, will be headlined by Three 6 Mafia on Oct. 17. So start thinking about your costumes and let’s get crunk.