On Wednesday, March 9th, at approximately 8:15ish pm, students gathered in Schine Underground to see the talented singer-songwriter Coleman Hell perform.
The show was opened up by Pizza Party, a band comprised of four multi talented SU students. Pizza Party got the crowd pumped up with a host of their original and catchy songs, often breaking out the saxophone to add a ska-punk element to their music. They closed their set with a great rendition of “Mr. Brightside” by the Killers.
Directly following Pizza Party was Prelow, an NYC based duo who showcased their mellow “stoner” music. Although their music was on the slower side, they still managed to keep the crowd engaged and enthusiastic.
Finally, it was time for Coleman Hell to perform, and the energy he exuded during his set was electric. His set ranged from sentimental songs like “Take Me Up” and “Thumbelina” to sexy dance numbers such as “Heat of the Night.” Of course, the show would not have been complete without his breakout hit song “2 Heads,” which he saved for the end, and believe me, it was worth waiting for.
Overall, the show was a success. Pizza Party’s set was unique and diverse. Their sound ranges from pop rock, which is exhibited in their song “Lies! You Told Me,” to more pop punkish songs such as “Lucy.” If you enjoy bands like The Wonder Years, Less Than Jake or Man Overboard, you would thoroughly enjoy listening to Pizza Party. Also, being SU students, it was easy for them to connect with the audience and get people to respond to their sound. They may have been the opening act this time, but someday soon, they will be headlining.
As for Prelow, their slower, indie, electronic music was a bit harder to dance to or get excited about. Their music was a tad too mild for my tastes, and after the third song I was ready for Coleman Hell to take over. However, they still did a decent job capturing the audience’s attention, and their track “I’ve Been Drinking” is pretty alright. Many of their songs blurred into one another, lacking the diversity and range that Pizza Party and Coleman Hell showcased in their sets. Nevertheless, they did a fairly good job opening for Coleman Hell.
Of course, Coleman Hell stole the show. Not only does he have a cool name, but his lyrics, beats and persona are equally as captivating. If you were not able to attend the show on Wednesday and have not heard much of his music, I highly suggest, better yet, I demand that you look up his EP right now and take a listen. He is originally from our great neighbor to the north, specifically, Thunder Bay Ontario, and gets his inspiration from a plethora of artists. Having grown up listening to a lot of older rock and funk music, he now considers himself an electronic and alternative rock artist.
When I asked who his musical inspiration was, he said that he was “a big fan of Jeff Buckley,” and that he “feel[s] that he was taken away too soon.” Buckley’s music, which was deeply soulful and meaningful, is reflected in much of Hell’s music. Not only does he garner inspiration
from Jeff Buckley, but he has also “reembraced” where he grew up, having decided to use elements of folk music within his songs to represent his hometown.
Although I was previously a fan of Coleman Hell before the concert, I can absolutely say I am even more addicted to his music now after seeing him live. When he first took the stage, I was unsure what to expect because he is still a relatively new artist, however, he blew me away.
I have seen some amazing artists perform, from Paul McCartney and Billy Joel, to country artists such as Zac Brown Band, and even pop rock bands such as Imagine Dragons and One Republic, and I can easily say that Coleman Hell’s performance has made it to my list of all-time favorites. His spastic dancing, extreme energy and charismatic personality help him command the stage and connect with the audience. He was extremely down to earth, even taking the time to talk personally to people in the audience, and got everyone clapping and singing along to songs they barely knew.
Additionally, his vocal range is phenomenal and completely unexpected. Usually an artist sounds better in the studio, but he displayed a range on stage that far surpassed any of his recorded works. He was able to sing falsetto controllably, and make his voice raspier when need be. To say that he is an amazing singer would be an understatement.
All in all, Coleman put on one Hell of a show.*
Photo by Kyla Perlman
*20 Watts apologizes for that pun