An array of student-musicians filled Friends Hall on Saturday night at the Homegrown Music Festival, an annual event hosted by the College Programming Board. Three seperate acts took the stage over the course of two hours, providing audience members with a wide variety of musical genres.
The venue was set up as standing room only and at the back of the room they offered complimentary pizza and beverages to which attendees helped themselves. A DJ on stage had the walls shaking with bass until shortly after 10 p.m. when the opening act, the rapper Blind Eyez, took the stage.
The man behind Blind Eyez is junior Keivon Hemmings, whom many students know as the opener for Kid Ink during the College’s Spring Concert last semester. Hemmings launched into a rap performance with unrelenting energy onstage, pumping up the crowd at the start, while closing the set on a slower and more meaningful note.
“I started off my show really with my energy all the way up at the top and then I started bringing it down,” Hemmings said. “When the energy was more emotional, I started to talk about hardships. That’s when I really started feeling it on stage.”
Hemmings continued, “It’s important that people learn about the variety of rappers bringing out the emotion and the hardships talking about things people have to go through. That’s important.”
Next up was singer-songwriter Hadar Baron, a sophomore music industry major, who delivered a more relaxing vibe as she plugged her acoustic guitar into an amplifier. She performed a mix of cover songs and original music, which were well received by the audience. She opened with a cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” embellishing the classic pop song with a bluesy, soulful twist. Her original pieces were just as passionate, but more personally relevant.
“When I get to perform newer stuff, it’s very exciting for me. My second to last song, "Grain of Salt," holds a lot of meaning to me and I always forget how into it I get when I sing it,” Baron said, “I play it and it’s happening all over again and I’m just letting it out.”
“The last song, ‘Both,’ is still new to me so I’m trying to understand how to perform it,” the student songwriter continued.
“You have to know the dynamics of it live, and it’s fun to see people’s reactions and how they interact with it.”
Many attendees reacted well to the musicians’ performances. One audience member, senior Sam Primich, remarked, “I think the show is pretty good, especially the second performer. She was really good. If she played more shows on campus, I’d definitely go and see her.”
The final act of the night was alternative rock band Callout, which consisted of lead vocalist Becky Khusidman, guitarist Jake Feldman, drummer Brian Carter and bassist Anthony Sabino. The group played several original songs, all of which were characterized by speedy instrumentation and energetic, head-banging performances from the band.
This year’s installment of CPB’s Homegrown Concert series appeared to be a success, despite drawing a relatively small crowd. The performers appreciated the chance to showcase their talents in front of an audience of their peers and those in attendance seemed to relish in the atmosphere generated by the concert.