The common area of 576 Alvarado House was awash in soft colors on Thursday night as Brandon Banks and the student band sixeight took the stage for Stanford Concert Network’s latest show. Although both Banks and the band gave great musical performances, venue limitations did limit the event’s success.
The show marked Banks’ first live performance since COVID hit. He has been working quietly since the release of his EP “Static” in 2020. Moving in silence, however, does not mean moving slowly. In the last year, Banks has been credited as a writer on Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” and Charlotte Day Wilson’s debut album “Alpha.”
Sixeight, a five-member all-frosh band, made opening up for an accomplished artist sound easy. Lead singers Leland Fong ’25 and Carmel Limcaoco ’25 delivered buttery vocals. Fong also played drums while Limcaoco played lead guitar. The ensemble also featured Naima Patel ’25 on the bass, Seve Reyes ’25 rocking the keys and Avi Udash ’25 playing the guitar. The band performed covers of R&B favorites like “Get You” by Daniel Caesar and “Untitled (How Does it Feel)” by D’Angelo.
The student band’s energy was infectious. They kept the crowd engaged; at one point Fong asked the audience to guess how long each member had been playing their instrument. The audience was stunned to learn that Patel had only started playing bass two weeks before sixeight’s debut show.
The only downside of the concert was its size; the venue was too small. Setting aside the muddy acoustics that dominated the tiny room, sixeight simply deserved a much larger audience. Thankfully, we won’t have to wait too long for this to be reality. Sixeight confirmed that they will be playing their first solo show at Meyer Green on Mar. 2.
Banks hit the stage next with a bright smile and an acoustic guitar. He charmed the audience between songs by giving anecdotes about his past. He even joked about being a runner in college and how he would think to himself, “I’m an R&B singer, why am I putting myself through this?”
Banks’ sunny disposition quickly became a clear testament to his resilience. The Inglewood singer is no stranger to hardship; his lyrics document a tumultuous youth marred by the strain of loved ones’ addictions and entanglement with the carceral system.
He opened his set with “Autumn,” the first track off of his 2018 debut EP “Tides.” The song captures feelings of loss as you watch your friends slip away. The rawness of his lyrics paired well with his choice to perform an acoustic set of just guitar and vocals.
While the individual acts were great, the vast difference in energy between the five-piece band and Banks’ acoustic performance seemed to leave some of the crowd restless. A number of audience members were talking fairly loudly during Banks’ intimate set. It was distracting even when I was in the front row, and audience members who were further back certainly could have had a much worse experience.
Apart from being bumped around in a small room in a crowd that was a bit too noisy, I definitely enjoyed the show. I’d like to see both acts again on campus as soon as possible (albeit in a more spacious venue than 576).
Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective opinions, thoughts and critiques.
This article has been updated to clarify what instruments the members of sixeight play. The Daily regrets this error.