Underground music thrives at WQAQ’s weekend Spring Concert

Nancy Hall

Alumni Hall became CBGB last Saturday as five bands took command of WQAQ’s annual Spring Concert.

Quinnipiac students were joined by local youth to rock out with The Loved Ones, Let It Burn, The Explosion and The Bouncing Souls. Opening the show was Zoocore, winner of this year’s WQAQ-sponsored Battle of the Bands. The bands brought punk to Hamden in a big way, reminding the relatively large audience of the enduring power of underground rock.

Up first on the bill was Zoocore, consisting of QU junior Jack McNamara on guitar and Kenny Goshgarian on drums. No strangers to campus crowds, the duo belted out their signature animal songs in a set that included “Dolphins,” “Rory, the Red Panda,” and a cover of Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock.” The crowd favorite, however, seemed to be “Beat Box Turtle.” McNamara smiled throughout the set and those who listened to Zoocore seemed proud to support the familiar pair.

Second to the stage were The Loved Ones, a Philadelphia trio who got the horde pumping with songs such as “Massive” and “Candy Cane.” Lead singer and guitarist Dave Hause never played the part of the showy frontman. Rather, he and bassist Michael Cotterman seemed to play off of each other’s energy. This combined with the contributions of drummer Mike Sneeringer and made their set stand out from the rest.

During one of their songs, Shal Khichi of The Bouncing Souls hopped on the drums to assist the band. Hause told the crowd that “if the Bouncing Souls know our songs, you should, too” Undoubtedly the show garnered a new fan base for The Loved Ones.

Next on the bill was Let It Burn, a New Jersey-based quartet that seemed to pride itself on showmanship. Lead singer and guitarist DJ Values tried to emulate musicians of the past, using the Pete Townshend windmill strum, the behind-the-head guitar playing of Jimi Hendrix and the Axl Rose moves at the microphone. While interesting to watch, audience participation took a visible nosedive during the performance. Let It Burn ended on a good note, performing a cover of U2’s “I Will Follow” which perked ears and deserved praise.

The Explosion proved worthy of their name as they broke onto the stage and roused the crowd back to their feet. A mosh pit instantly formed and was active throughout the set. Lead singer Matt Hock’s voice was a powerhouse, best exhibited in the crowd favorite “Here I Am.” The song seems designed for radio airplay with its catchy chorus and raspy vocals.

The music of The Explosion can be likened to the early groundbreaking punk artists, but such a comparison would be unfair to the original sound that the Boston band emotes. They could be the next big thing in the scene and music fans should anticipate their appearance in the mainstream soon.

Around 9:30 p.m., the main act took the stage. The Bouncing Souls received an overwhelming audience welcome, creating a huge mosh pit that fostered crowd surfing and stage diving. Singer Greg Attonitoi encouraged fan interaction, borrowing a hat from one fan and shaking the hands of many throughout his time on stage. Bassist Bryan Kienlen and guitarist Pete Steinkept, along with Khichi, rounded out the power of the Jersey band, playing such favorites as “Hopeless Romantic,” “True Believers” and “East Coast! F*** You!”

While some songs, including “Fight to Live,” have a sound reminiscent of The Ramones, the authentic sound of The Bouncing Souls has itself lasted since the late 1980s. Brought back to the stage by the crowd’s singing of “Ol