Rock bands Teenage Halloween and Hold On, Caufield opened for pop-punk group Slaughter Beach, Dog last Tuesday night, in the latest installment of the College Programming Board’s biweekly Tuesday Night Live series. The two-and-a-half-hour concert took place in Friends Hall, beginning at 9 p.m. as a crowd of approximately 30 students poured into the venue to help themselves to free pizza and drinks as the first act of the night, Teenage Halloween, performed a sound check.
The Asbury Park-based Teenage Halloween delivered a loud and fast-paced set; heavily-distorted guitars threatened to drown out the voice of the group’s lead vocalist Luke Henderiks, who sang for most of Teenage Halloween’s allotted time as he performed original songs like “666” and “Waitress.”
“I went to see Teenage Halloween in New Brunswick,” freshman Caroline Eskay said as the band brought its performance to an end. “They’re very good.”
Chris Vickery, a friend of Eskay’s visiting Ramapo, describes himself as a fan of the band and a friend of Henderiks. “I met him through a friend a few years back, because I also play in a band,” said Vickery, “Luke booked my first couple of shows and kind of got me going.”
Hold On, Caulfield’s relatively short set followed, featuring songs described by the group as “emo space jams” on their official Facebook page. The four-piece group from New York’s fast punk numbers were interspersed between softer, atmospheric moments created through effect pedals plugged into the musicians’ guitars.
Freshman Mike Falzone enjoyed the opening bands, but considered Slaughter Beach, Dog to be the concert’s main attraction. The band’s frontman Jake Ewald is a founding member of Modern Baseball, a favorite act of Falzone’s. “I like his lyrical content,” the freshman said of Ewald’s songwriting. “It’s very good. He puts his words very well.”
Junior Amanda Krause and her on-campus guest, Jamie McLaughlin, also attended the show. “We’re big Modern Baseball fans, and Jamie’s a big Slaughter Beach fan,” said Krause.
“I’m a big fan of Jacob Ewald in general,” McLaughlin said, “his music’s always super catchy, he’s a talented guy. Anything he touches I feel like turns into gold.”
Krause agreed. “He’s got a pretty unique voice,” she said, “It’s hard not to like him.”
Slaughter Beach, Dog opened their performance with a lesson. Ewald, dressed entirely in black, encouraged the crowd to move closer as he brandished a small poster featuring a hand-drawn pie chart. “Since this is an institution of higher learning,” the singer said, “I thought this would be appropriate.”
The leader of the three-piece group then pointed to the chart. “As you can see, I’m approximately 33.33 percent of this band.” After the initial wave of audience laughter subsided, Ewald flipped the poster over, revealing yet another pie chart. “We’re going to have about 37.5 percent adult alternative, which is not super-heavy, still rocking,” he said, “and on the other hand, we’re gonna have about 37.5 percent rock…we’re gonna have 15 percent stripped-down indie rock, which is really just a fancy way of saying, ‘I’m gonna play two songs by myself,’ and we’re gonna have 10 percent other people’s songs, which is just a cover.”
Ewald then lead his band into their first number, strumming his guitar as attendees nodded their heads, tapped along to the beat and danced. Slaughter Beach, Dog’s nearly hour-long set ended at 11:30 p.m., when Ewald set down his guitar and moved behind a merchandise table to speak with students.