Any band that can take an audience of about 30 people and turn them into the rowdiest bunch of students Quinnipiac has ever seen deserves some recognition.
The free SPB Spring Concert Friday night featured Stroke 9, a California-based band comprised of singer/guitarist Luke Esterkyn, lead guitarist John McDermott and bassist Greg Gueldner. The band performed in the gymnasium with opening QU student band The Stone Quarries, who performed a handful of tunes, including a cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Reilly.”
Although student attendance was lacking, Stroke 9 was able to get the few people in the audience dancing and singing along. The small crowd also made for a more intimate performance, and allowed lead singer Esterkyn to take requests from the audience, as well as interact with just about every person there. They performed their big hit from back in the 90s “Little Black Backpack,” along with favorites such as “Washin’ and Wonderin'” and “Do It Again.” The band also treated the QU audience to a cover of the Bloodhound Gang’s “The Bad Touch,” an unexpected bonus for the audience.
Some other highlights of the show were provided by Stroke 9’s die-hard fans in the front row, who belted out every word to every song and eventually started their own version of a mosh pit in front of the stage. Esterkyn invited them to join the band on stage for one of their songs, and toward the end of the night, the same two students jumped up on stage again; this time without an invitation, but the band seemed to enjoy their company.
After the show ended, Stroke 9 came back for a requested encore performance, and then stuck around to meet the fans. Most of the audience stayed and shook Esterkyn’s hand while the other band members cleared the stage.
Stroke 9 did nothing but put on a strong, solid, enthusiastic performance that too many students missed out on. The band that most people may label a “one hit wonder” proved that there is much more to them than “Little Black Backpack.”