Those were the instructions in a Facebook event last week. The Rival at GW had a unique opportunity to promote a wego live “secret concert.” Students were only told the location a day prior and they had to show up to learn the rest. In case you couldn’t make it, here is what you missed…
The “secret concert” last Thursday night was at Chinese Disco, which featured Bencoolen, Wylder and SHAED. In a vibrant and tight-knit setting, these bands took part in a series of secret shows put on by wego live. wego live is part of wego concerts, a concert-sharing app that shows users nearby concerts in addition to connecting them with people who hold similar music tastes.
The app was founded by native-D.C. resident, Fitz Holladay, recently launching at the end of March. Holladay conceptualized wego concerts from his love of concert going and desire to coordinate social plans around them. He saw a need for music fans to have a platform to experience local and up-and-coming talent. Holladay remarked,
“The app is geared towards a young individual, 22-years old, who just moved to a new city, doesn’t know a lot of people, likes live music and wants to connect with other people going to those shows.”
This GW-exclusive concert was also sponsored by Sofar Sounds, a “Global community of people who put on secret shows in intimate spaces,” as put by Holladay. It is present in approximately 240 cities worldwide. With the increasing presence of online networking, wego concerts and Sofar Sounds bring people together based off their music preferences and geographical areas.
The band lineup for Thursday’s show was not made known until people arrived at Chinese Disco. Holladay talked about how secret shows force people to listen to something new as well as helps schedule artists they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.
Thursday night gave GW students a taste of some local DC music. Chinese Disco, a rustic-chic bar and lounge was the ideal setting for indie music to end the long week.
Fast paced and rousing, Bencoolen is a band formed by five GW students. Their powerful guitar lines and soulful saxophone motifs have brought them much success over the past year. In the last year, the group was voted as the best Washington DC college band of 2015, closed the Arlington Virginia festival, and opened for the Cold War kids at Fall Fest.
The band is without a doubt a group that meshes very well. Lead singer Paul Gregg delivers soaring vocals as Jack Bentsen provides deeply soulful melodies on his Alto Saxophone. Will Lockery, brings the sound to the next level with drumming that forces you to rhythmically nod your head in approval.
Bencoolen has had an exciting past month. They recently played at Clemson, and before that, Bucknell. As northern college crowds begin to move towards DJ sets for their parties, the group has found success in the south, where they played a series of day shows.
Keep your eye on the fellas’. They’re on to something.
Hailing from Fredericksburg Virginia, Wylder is the intersection of skillful songwriting and intriguing melodies. With their adoption of a wide range of instrumentation including violins, cellos and the mandolin, they add an exclusive texture to their Indie folk sound, but manage to channel groups such as The Shins and Death Cab for Cutie.
The group consists of six members; Will McCarry on guitar and vocals, Lonnie Southall on guitar, Mandolin and vocals, Russel Michelson on piano and vocals, Lavar Edmonds on violin and Cello, Jackson Wright on bass, and John Wills on the drums.
Recently, Wylder came out with their first extended play Rain and Laura. The album is a very comprehensive first project. It was a year in the making, and took the band all over the country, from recording studios in North Carolina, to ones right in DC. According to lead singer, Will McCarry, it’s an album that tells a story. “There’s a narrative about heartbreak. To me, the album is about putting associated feelings before the person.” Rain and Laura becomes a vessel through which the listener can experience the tales mused on the track.
The album can also be found on Spotify, where it was recently featured on a weekly discovery playlist. Their most successful song so far has been Sunstroke- a fast paced, James Mercer-esque piece with a catchy and airy melody. It has over 30,000 plays on Spotify.
The sound they create is a versatile one. At their recent pop up show at the Chinese Disco in Georgetown, they were short two members, but still produced a sound that filled the house. McCarry’s finely tuned tenor matched with Wright’s dexterous bass playing and Michelson’s able keyboarding made for an exciting live show and an ambiance to be appreciated.
On April 22nd, Wylder will play their album release show at the Rock and Roll hotel in Southeast DC. The bands recent album, as well as their upcoming shows foretells their imminent emergence from the DC scene.
SHAED blurs the lines of synth-pop in the best way possible. The tracks they’ve released cross over into what can even be felt as an R&B vibe. In their song Just Wanna See, listeners are entranced by an intricate arrangement of chords, as well as an expertly mixed board of effects that tempts one to press replay several times after.
SHAED consists of three members. Lead singer, Chelsea Lee maintains control over a powerful alto, which gives way into an evocative falsetto. Max Ernst exercises impressive versatility as he solos on the keyboard, and his twin brother Spencer sends vibrations through the crowd as he plays the bass and pad. Together, they create a unique sound that makes even their sound check an exciting experience.
Following a renaming, the group is still catching their stride. Earlier in April, they released Thunder, complete with a music video inspired by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.The video includes the work of several other DC artists, and the song is no exception to their exciting and intricate style.
According to lead singer Chelsea, the group will be releasing new music about every month and a half. Though there is no immediate plan for an EP, their repertoire is growing. The future is looking very bright for this group, and I believe they’ll develop into a sound that will be electrifying once they make their way on to the stages of festivals.
“We’re just doing our own thing”, said a grinning Max Ernst.
GW students danced, mingled and partied to the sounds of three amazing bands’ two-hour show. Carly Berlin, a sophomore who attended the concerted stated, “The app was very user-friendly…I had never been to a secret concert like that before, but am glad that I went!”
Unbeknownst to many college students, DC has a vibrant music scene. Despite how sometimes it gets overshadowed by politics, the music industry in DC has drawn much talent here and built up the concert infrastructure. This includes the 9:30 Club, U Street Music Hall and Echostage.
This event shows the power of social media to bring online action into real life experiences. Wego concerts is utilizing the power of the technology generation to get users out of their social, music and entertainment comfort zones.