Review: Class Actress, Guards, Mouth's Cradle at the WERW Launch Show

The student radio station’s first concert of the semester showcased three acts that played energetic but diverse sets

WERW’s first concert of the semester showcased three acts: Mouth’s Cradle, Guards and Class Actress.

Hip-hop, alt-rock, and synth-pop all found their onstage niche in the Schine Underground. While the artists represented a wide spectrum of styles, sounds and showmanship, they shared an enthusiasm and vigor in performance that made for a happy audience – from the eardrums to the dance floor.

The show began with Mouth’s Cradle, featuring a set of both old favorites and new numbers. Frontman Kevin Hegedus gave a performance that revealed a full college career’s worth of stage-presence development. Just like an orchestra articulates the full power of a symphony through its dynamic range, Hegedus’s showmanship articulates his particular brand of hip-hop through motion range. Audience interaction, playing dead, and simply uncompromising dance moves all found their way into the show. Despite the illusion of spontaneity it’s clear that his performance was driven by calculated practice and expertise.

Guards, a five-piece alternative rock band from New York City, followed. While fewer in the audience danced, a judicious use of guitar effects and sonic texturing stood out as the most notable element of their performance. Guards’ lead vocalist, Richie James Follin, often gestured to the crowd to make more noise. “Clapping is a great way to keep warm,” he said between songs. The group concluded with their fastest numbers in a climactic exit. While the crowd received them more quietly, the sincerity of Guards’ attention to the audience did not go unnoticed.

Class Actress rightfully lived up to their status as headliners with their performance, bringing the energy level back up with a set of songs deceptively simple in composition. Right at home onstage, the band’s distinctive synthed-out style avoids groping for unnecessary complexity.

“It’s like a haiku,” frontwoman Elizabeth Harper told The NewsHouse after the show. “It’s not to prove you’re smart or witty, but to write a good pop song.”

Class Actress achieved the same effect in their performance style. They were entertaining but never strained. Not trying to prove anything paid off, and the same can be said for the concert as a whole. Where each act was accomplished musically, they also showed a sincere investment in the act of performance without being overwrought or solipsistic.

After all, isn’t music ultimately about having fun?

Elizabeth Harper and Scott Rosenthal of Class Actress headlined the show

Elizabeth Harper and Scott Rosenthal of Class Actress headlined the show.
Photo by Eric Vilas-Boas/The NewsHouse

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