Red House rocks 219 Takeover

Review: Last-minute cancellations fail to stop 219 Takeover in downtown Syracuse.

The sound of high-energy funk and dreamy rock held the air outside of The Red House in downtown Syracuse on Saturday. The special occasion was none other than The 219 Takeover, an outdoor concert event presented by Rojimusic. The one-of-a-kind occasion hit a rough patch, however, hours before it was scheduled to take place.

Two highly-anticipated bands, Beach Fossils and The London Souls, cancelled their appearances Saturday morning. Rojimusic owner Christopher VanLuven was none too pleased with the last-minute cancellations.

“It just really sucks,” said VanLuven.

Along with Jay Shelanskey, VanLuven created the event in order to establish Syracuse’s new music scene.

“We wanted to find a way to get new bands to play here. It’s really just a call to start making things happen around here,” he said. “It’s hard to get publicity, but hopefully people will really enjoy the bands we have today.”

The attendance was underwhelming. Even after posting ads in The Syracuse New Times and spots on WAER 88.3, fewer than 50 people turned out for the show. The large parking lot where the concert was held looked bleak and desolate under the gray Syracuse sky minutes before the first band hit the stage.

The dreary mood lifted somewhat as Syracuse’s own Sophistafunk opened the show with a bang. The enthusiastic trio vigorously let out a mix of electro funk and hip hop with songs from their album twentyeleven. Concertgoers gathered around the stage and swayed to the soulful tunes. The trio, headed by MC and vocalist Jack Brown, provided a dose of rich funk and soul. Keyboardist Adam Gold wowed the crowd with his energy and skills, while drummer Emmanuel Washington held down the rhythms with his enthusiasm and talent.

“We’re so happy to be here at The 219 Takeover with you guys,” Gold said.

After an amazing set that even had passersby stopping to watch, it was hard to imagine who would follow such a strong opening. Mick Fury, lead vocalist for local rockers Silent Fury, stepped up to the plate after being called in as a replacement for the last-minute cancellations.

“I was in bed this morning fighting off a hangover when I got the call [to come play],” said Fury, as he took swig from a Jameson Whiskey bottle.

With songs like “Kick Down My Door” and “Line After Line,” the acoustic set felt out of place between an assortment of indie rock and hip-hop funk. Ultimately, Fury failed to make an impression on the hipster concert-goers who were clearly disengaged by the set. For a last-minute replacement, however, he held his own against bands from a completely different scene.

Next, Brooklyn-based Widowspeak took the stage and offered listeners a taste of dream pop. Vocalist Molly Hamilton quietly took hold of the crowd with her soft voice, while guitarist Rob Thomas and drummer Michael Stasiak created a unique backdrop with their lush instrumentals.

The final act of the day was critically-acclaimed rock band Vivian Girls, whose catchy tunes and punk rock melodies ended the show right. Cassie Ramone rocked out with her incredible guitar solos while bassist Katy Goodman’s back-up vocals provided melodic harmony. Drummer Fiona Campbell’s energetic beats helped end the show with the bang.

With an impressive lineup, The 219 Takeover succeeded by taking hold of the crowd with a new and exciting music scene.

“I hope people came and heard some good music and saw a good show," Ramone said. "I hope they all came away with a good day."

GREAT ARTICLE!!! It's a shame

GREAT ARTICLE!!! It's a shame that the Beach Fossils and The London Souls cancelled their appearances though.

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