By Geo Gomez
This Wednesday night, October 11, Katie In ’13 and her band opened for Ivan & Alyosha. With their fluid chemistry and rousing energy, the performances could put a Friday night concert to shame.
The members of Katie In’s band include In, Aaltan Ahmad ’14 (S&B Graphics Editor), Tom Earnest ’16, Arthur Richardson ’14, Sinan Goral ’15 and Micah Nelson ’14. Although they currently lack a band name, their talent speaks volumes.
A band’s performance depends partly on their technical talent, and partly on how well the band’s innate chemistry pushes them to work and build off each other onstage. With In and her band, this kind of unscripted rapport gives the music room to breathe and grow on stage.
“It’s thrilling and it’s fun when I know the people I’m performing with and I can improvise with them and show what we’ve been working on,” In said.
In has drawn from a variety of influences for her performance style. These influences include some fantastic artists that she holds dear.
“Nina Simone, Karen O and St. Vincent are my influences. Good female performers that kick ass” said In.
Although soft-spoken and unassuming in person, In is also a charismatic and enchanting performer.
Wednesday night, the band was in Gardner, ready for action. In their first song, In sang about a woman in her bathtub, washing away her sins. She sang the song in a shaded voice, but at choice moments unleashed a powerful tremor as she crooned the “Ahs” of the bathing woman.
The band played magnificently, as In’s influences shone in her performance. Along with original songs, the band played “Something’s Got a Hold of Me” by Etta James. The throwback had the audience roaring in delight as In delivered the classic lines “Oooooh, I gotta good feeling.”
The band’s performance was tighter than Ziploc. Each member had a chance to strut their stuff. Whether it was the deep bellowing of the trombone, the tight guitar shredding, or a funky bass solo, the well-layered solos maintained the atmosphere, while demonstrating the band’s talents. In and her band brought their best to the stage, and enchanted the audience with an engaging performance.
The main act, Ivan & Alyosha, performed after In’s band. The band has been featured on NPR in the series Tiny Desk and All Things Considered. Their latest album, All the Times We Had, has been lauded as an “album that effortlessly captures the warmth and immediacy of Ivan & Alyosha’s live performances.”
The band members were all smiles and jokes with the crowd, giving shout-outs to the audience that “stuck around to hang out with us.” There were numerous moments that showed the bands endearing nature, such as when they introduced one of their songs as “a jig-happy one.”
Their charm, however, belied the powerful and honest emotion that ran like a steadfast current throughout their performance.
At times, the band would relent their composure to wail on their instruments and, like a river rapid’s crashing momentum, erupt into a tremendous bottom-of-the-heart symphony echoed by their on-stage stomping.
Under the roar of the music, the band delivered music rich with frankness and intimacy. Combined with their endearing charm, the band delivered a performance that was everything an audience could ask for, including free merchandise!
“Pick up one of our free vinyls by the merch stand! So you can take us home with you…Take our music home, I mean!” said Tim Wilson, Ivan & Alyosha’s lead singer, during the performance.
Ivan & Alyosha closed the show by retiring their instruments, save for one guitar and one drummer. As they all began to clap and stomp, they doled out a soulful, stomp-heavy song that swept the entire audience into clapping and stomping along. The song was one last hurrah, flooded with the band’s devotion and joy.
Both bands delivered a rousing performance that, with In’s devilish spunk and Ivan & Alyosha’s endearing honesty, made a Wednesday night in Gardner come alive.