Wednesday was my first Stanford Concert Network (SCN) show, and it was a night to remember. Although the show deviated from the advertisement, failing to provide wine and cheese for attendees, there was merchandise for sale (I got a tote bag and some records) and plenty of beats and tunes to keep the night rolling. The audience was electric and alive, resonating with the energy that thundered from the stage. It was great to head to The Row to enjoy some music: a fusion of punk, rock, indie and pop.
Headliner band “Small Crush,” an indie rock band from Oakland, stood out to me as the real showstopper. The performance featured singer-songwriter Logan Hammon, drummer Allen Moreno, guitarist Jackson Felton and bassist Dino Bevilacqua. Their performance was the most captivating, and it built off of the excellent energy of the night. Hammon and Moreno’s exuberance stole the show — Hammon, whose guitar was decorated in stickers, sang with grace, and Moreno grinned throughout the entire set list, ecstatic and in-the-zone while hammering at the drums and mouthing along.
Their set list primarily consisted of songs from their debut 2019 album “Small Crush.” The audience danced around, head bobbing and feet moving side-to-side; you could feel the vibrations coming up from the shaking floor. At one point, through a slower bit, everyone at Kairos whipped out their phones and assembled as a group of waving flashlights. The band finished with an epic drum solo from Moreno, who tossed his drumsticks to the side once he finished. This wasn’t the finale though — the audience begged for an encore. The band gave in, ending with a cover of “Someday” by The Strokes — a song that they hadn’t played in awhile but still managed to have fun with.
“Small Crush” was paired with two other impressive bands, “The Umbrellas” and “Surprise Privilege.” “The Umbrellas” are a San Francisco do-it-yourself indie pop band reminiscent of “The Beatles,” both in their music and their vintage fashion choices. The band gave a wonderfully warm performance with their four members — Morgan Stanley (vocals and guitar), Matt Ferrara (vocals and guitar), Keith Frerichs (drums) and Nick Oka (bass). There was an intimacy between the crowd and band that was enhanced by both the small venue and the music’s sweet vibe. It didn’t hurt that they were also lightheartedly charming and funny.
“I hope your studies are going well,” Stanley quipped at one point, beaming at the crowd.
“Drop out!” Ferrara exclaimed. The Kairos crowd roared back with excitement. “Kidding — I have an art degree.”
Another fun moment proceeded right after. “How many of you are going to write your thesis on ‘The Umbrellas?’” Stanley added. The crowd delivered another round of cheers. “If you do, you’ll have a full scholarship,” she paused to sip her drink, “to the Umbrella Academy: it’s a good show.” They then immediately transitioned into their next song.
My favorite songs from “The Umbrellas’” set list included “Never Available,” a perfect pop melancholy for slow bike rides around campus or a road trip to the beach, and “She Buys Herself Flowers,” an upbeat jam that had the audience swaying. These two songs premiered on their debut album, “The Umbrellas,” released last year. And to finish everything off with a well-deserved encore, the group sang two unreleased songs, fresh for the excited ears at Kairos.
Opener “Surprise Privilege” also contributed to the fun of the night by waking the crowd up at the beginning of the night. The band — Joey Silberman on guitar and vocals, Alan Hernandez on the bass and vocals and Cody Azumi on the drums — is a San Francisco-based Latvian Post-Surf and Pre-EDM Punk Rock band. Through their heavy metal and screaming music, the band stirred the pot to create a mosh pit. They played 12 songs, each under three minutes, with tracks from their albums “White Girl Music” and “Surprise Privilege.”
The band was charmingly pessimistic between each song. True to their brand of being hilariously straightforward, the artists were laid back and nonchalantly self-deprecating. (On their BandCamp, they even joke that they’re “aspiring to be proper musicians one day.”) The band really shined in their booming song “I Hate Surprise Privilege,” where Silberman and Azumi seemed to click vocally. Their encore stood out for its eccentricity, with the guitarist standing on a platform spewing entertaining incoherence into the mic.
As the night wrapped up, Kairos clearing out, it was clear that “Small Crush,” as well as “Surprise Privilege” and “The Umbrellas,” gave students a well-needed jolt to get through Week 5 and the rest of midterms.
Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective opinions, thoughts and critiques.