On Sept. 28, pop band PUBLIC performed in the Main Lounge at the annual “Music Under the Stars” event. The event, hosted by the Student Activities Board (SAB), was part of the University’s annual “First 56 Days” program. The pop trio consisted of Ben Lapps on percussion, Matthew Alvarado on bass and John Vaughn as the lead guitarist and vocalist.
Alvarado said that the group first met in their high school jazz band. He said after jamming for a while, the group, which was previously called Crown, performed together for the first time at their high school talent show. Alvarado said he gives credit to the jazz band for helping his musical upbringing.
“The fundamentals of it helped me as a bass player,” Alvarado said.
The group gives a lot of credit to Cincinnati for giving them a step above the rest with a different taste and atmosphere than other music genres. Vaughn said he believes it was key for the group to grow up in an unsaturated area, achieving something they feel wouldn’t have been appreciated if they had done it in a larger market, such as Los Angeles.
“Not everybody was doing bands; we got to be unique in that sense,” Vaughn said. “I’m thankful that we didn’t grow up in such a music or entertainment hub.”
Robert Ruszkowski, a senior visual and sound media major and is SAB’s co-chair for live events, detailed the monthlong process of organizing “Music Under the Stars” with his fellow co-chairs.
“We began brainstorming back in May, before we even left for summer vacation,” Ruszkowski said.
Ruszkowski said he had to find a group that would match the Hawaiian theme that revolves around the entire event. He said that PUBLIC stood out early because of their alternative/indie rock style.
Ruszkowski added that he was excited to see students bask in the fun of the show, despite having it moved from the University Green to the main-lounge due to the weather.
“It made the concert a much more personal and interactive experience, since students were able to get close to the artists,” Ruszkowski said.
“We love to play our instruments,” Alvarado said. “When you come to a show and see us, you’re gonna see guys who love to play.”
Claire Wolfe, a freshman visual sound and media major, attended the concert and said that she was a fan of the group before they came to campus, but didn’t expect to be as blown away as she was after their performance.
Wolfe explained how different the show was compared to other concerts she had previously attended. She said that having members of the band come into the crowd to sing alongside fans, was an important part of how connected the band is to their audience. She added that the performance differed from those where the stigma of Ego-centric rock stars is eminent.
“These guys are three nice best friends from Ohio that love sharing their music and engaging with their fans,” Wolfe said. “They were so sweet in person. Extremely conversational and human.”
Ronald Castaneda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. edu.