John Carroll University’s Carroll Fest, presented by SUPB, is always a special event to celebrate the end of the spring semester.
With festivities including Henna, tie-dye, caricatures, a bouncy house, free food and giveaways, the afternoon was a hit.
Although it was chilly, this year’s Carroll Fest featured six band performances that entertained the crowds. The bands were a focal point of the event, providing stellar entertainment as students socialized and took part in the many activities.
The bands jammed out to their original hits as well as some familiar tunes on the steps of Keller Commons. All were student and local bands except for one outside band – Branches.
Branches, “best friends turned bandmates,” is a fun-folk band that formed back in 2010 in Los Angeles.
The band’s Indie-folk-rock style, compared to Death Cab For Cutie, The Lumineers and Mumford and Sons, has made the band a success in touring nationally to different colleges.
Branches’ newly released single, “Darlin,” is their popular love anthem among other covers including “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane and “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness.
The other five bands that performed were The Sweepyheads, Nathan Henry, Black & Broke, 4 Guys Who Love Sax and the Cleveland Screamers.
The Sweepyheads, made up of Adam Kennedy, Andrew Yadon and Patrick Grieve, are a rock ‘n’ roll band formed in 2012 in Cleveland.
Influenced by garage rock and punk, The Sweepyheads have made appearances at venues such as The Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights along with other bands like The Orwells and FIDLAR.
Black & Broke, representing the hipster-hop genre, is made up of six members: Damon Smith as the emcee and guitarist, Jerel Jones as an emcee and keyboardist, Idrisu Seidu on vocals and percussion, Nick on vocals and bass, Gabe Fischer on guitar and Jon Koenig on drums.
This Cleveland band was formed back in 2004 before dissolving and reforming again in late 2009. According to its detailed description on the Black & Broke website, “If Gym Class Heroes had a baby with Rage Against The Machine…and then Red Hot Chili Peppers had a baby with The Neptunes…and then those two babies grew up and had a baby…And then that baby drew influence from The Eagles and The Beatles, you’d have Black & Broke.”
The band’s debut EP “Hot Jams for the People to Dance to” was released in March 2013. The band recently released a follow-up to its 2011 release of Heartbreak Season, which has become its fourth album, Heartbreak Season 2.
Singer and songwriter Nathan Henry is an up-and-coming musician who performs in the Cleveland area. With his acoustic guitar, Henry has an eclectic repertoire similar to The Beatles and The Counting Crows, creating a pop/alternate rock style.
His compositions have been performed at locations such as Around the Corner, Garage Bar, Eddy and Iggy’s and Loco Leprechaun.
Some more familiar faces make up 4 Guys Who Love Sax, a band of musicians from JCU.
Members include juniors Ned Barnes on vocals and bass guitar, Michael Gong on guitar, John Oddo on the saxophone, Justin Shoemake on vocals and bass and sophomore Tom Warner on the drums.
Influenced by Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson, as well as Young the Giant, 4 Guys Who Love Sax create alternative and rock music. All the performances gave the audience something new to listen to, keeping the event upbeat and welcoming.
Freshman Emily Koeritzer commented, “I definitely liked Branches the best.”
“I think that the bands added some energy to the event as a whole,” said Koeritzer. “It was nice to listen to not only covers of music, but also original music. It seemed like the majority of the students really enjoyed 4 Guys Who Love Sax.”
To close out the event, the Cleveland Screamers finished strong. The Cleveland Screamers pumped up the crowds at Carroll Fest as a great ending to the event.
Freshman Haley Kocisko added, “I really enjoyed listening to all the bands that performed. I thought it was a good group with a lot of variety,” she said.
“I didn’t personally have a favorite because they were all so unique, but the bands together made Carroll Fest a success and was enjoyable for everyone.”