As the sun set behind York Hill, the volume rose when WQAQ’s Spring Concert kicked off on Saturday night.
Four bands, ranging from local talent to nationally acclaimed musicians, took to the stage in Alumni Hall, providing a crowd of 190 students and locals with a taste of alternative music styles.
“We don’t usually enjoy college shows, because normally they’re set up in lunch rooms or some lazy location,” Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s lead singer Richard Edwards said. “But when you’re playing at a place set up for shows, it becomes an easier and more enjoyable experience.”
And the opening band, Myopia, was familiar to the Alumni Hall setting. They had won WQAQ’s Battle of the Bands concert on Feb. 12 at the same location. Comprised of members from Greater New Haven, Myopia brought a metal sound with a contemporary twist.
Booking for the other three bands was no easy task, Farrell said, as the South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival in Austin, Texas drew many WQAQ favorites from the East Coast. Past concerts, with talents Manchester Orchestra and Cut off Your Hands, brought bands with a bit more buzz.
“Attendance definitely wasn’t nearly as good as it’d been the past two years,” he said. “Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s haven’t put out a record since 2008, so even though they’re both great bands I’m sure that had an effect on attendance.”
Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, the five-man group formed in 2005, has received numerous forms of acclaim, including an appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. During the show, the band openly joked and brought a light, humorous mood to Alumni Hall.
“To those who know us, this is a new one,” said Edwards between songs. “But to those who don’t, it’ll just be as old as the other stuff we’ve been playing.”
Last but not least, headliner Murder By Death began their set, belting out heavy rock songs with a modern country twist.
“It’s really good being here,” Murder By Death’s lead singer and guitarist Adam Turla said. “It’s nice to finally play [tonight] after everything seemed to go against us.”
The four piece band dealt with several issues before making it to Hamden, including a hand injury to drummer Dagan Thogerson and a nearly-missed flight.
“The lady who checked us in at the airport was a vicious sea hag,” Turla joked during one song break. “We could have some great lyrics if she sent in her diary.”
Murder By Death, on tour promoting their soon-to-be released record, played several hits from a span of their four albums, along with new tracks from their upcoming album “Good Morning, Magpie.”
My Heart to Joy also performed, coming after Myopia and before Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s. The indie/punk band from Kensington, Conn. has been together since 2006.