Music undoubtedly plays a tremendous part in the lives of Jesuit students and faculty. Walking through the halls, we see a myriad of speakers attached to an even greater variety of ears. Music pours in through classic white iPod ear buds– 99 cent are computer lab headphones–and unsightly colossus headsets, bringing to us each individually our personal fix of sonic harmony, or lack thereof. There is no question; the Jesuit community loves to listen to all types of music. But there are some who take it a step further. These are the musicians, the talented and imaginative characters who take it upon themselves to share their abilities with the rest of the community, Jesuit, and beyond. They form bands with friends who have similar tastes, write new music, and sing our favorite songs. Most importantly, they come together every year for an explosive spectacle of a show on Ranger Day. With the departure of the legendary Thrift City, class of ‘10, some may fear that this year’s event will carry an empty atmosphere. Fear not! This year’s lineup features several brand new acts as well as some returning bands that are sure to deliver.
Davis Bruegger, ’12 – Vocals
Brooks Barnhouse, ’12 – Guitar
Matt Powers, ’12 – Bass
Ben Nichols, ’12 – Drums
Connor Beach, ’12 – Percussion, keyboard, vocals
The idea to form a reggae band started out as a joke between juniors Brooks Barnhouse and Ben Nichols after they saw Rebelution live in concert during February of 2010. The following week they started talking about it during a free period, and the idea gradually became more serious. Brooks moved a set of drums into his garage and recruited Davis Bruegger to sing. After that the band took off, and close friends Matt Powers and Connor Beach joined in. During the summer, the band picked up speed, and creative energy started flowing full force. The band recorded their first song, called “Friday Night Lights.” Since then, they have been writing and preparing for their first live performance at Ranger Day. They are all excited about where they see the band going and hope that they can captivate their audience with the music they love so much. The unique style of the band comes from the different musical backgrounds of each member. As a whole, the band would certainly be classified as reggae, with elements of ska, rock, and alt-prep bands such as Vampire Weekend. Brooks says he draws a lot of influence from Rebelution, Pepper, The Expendables, Slightly Stoopid, Passafire and Stick Figure. Davis’ sound can be compared to Sublime or Vampire Weekend. Connor is a 311 kind of guy, while Matt is most definitely a huge fan of Justin Bieber and Hannah Montana. Finally, Ben Nichols’ drumming style is influenced by the neo-punk sound of Blink-182 but is also very well interspersed with styles from the reggae genre. Brooks states, “We are just influenced by so many types of music and enjoy so many types of music that it makes it hard to incorporate everything we would like to. I think it helps challenge us to make new music, and it helps the sound of each song sound a little different. I think it helps us stay really original.”
Connor Beach warns, “The Topsiders are coming at you hard, just be ready.”
The New Guys
Mark Diaz-Arrastia ’12 – Bass
Matthew Khoury ‘14 – Drums
Jacob Khoury ’12 – Guitar
This ensemble is a jazz fusion trio. Originally formed in 2009, the group has been incarnated in different forms with different names. It wasn’t until this past summer that the jazz fusion was “thrown in,” as stated by guitar shredding phenomenon Jacob Khoury. Jacob likens the band’s writing style to that of the great Thelonious Monk, whose influence makes their jazz pieces sound “more free-form.” Despite the liberties the band takes with its uninhibited range of thought, Khoury assures us that the band will not “stray too far from the theme.” As for other influences, Jacob cites 80s progressive rock groups such as Yes and Rush. The progressive style mixed with inklings of jazz provide for a fascinating listening experience. When asked about the music that the group has written, Jacob says, “We have originals that are free form and mellow, yet very musically enticing. People love them.” In addition to this, an audience may be lucky enough to hear The New Guys cover classics such as Duke Ellington’s “Take the A-Train,” or “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey.
Formerly Known as Dane Cook Isn’t Funny
Reagan McCreary ’12 – Vocals
Alex Wilcox ’12 – Guitar
Nico Cancemi ’12 – Bass
Keenan Womack ’12 – Drums
The origin of this very capable group is something of a mystery. Each member knew of the others’ talent and each sought a band to apply their talent. This yearning to perform brought the DCIF band together and sparked a great friendship among its members. The group has gone by many names, including Dane Cook Isn’t Funny, P.A.R. (Post Alternative Revival), Lotion?, Emergency Poncho, and The Emergency Alternative to Dane Cook’s Post Revival Poncho Lotion Isn’t Funny. Such a serious name is only necessary for such a serious business, and the DCIF assembly is, by its own standards, certainly the one and only seriously good group out there in this cold and hollow shell of a world. Clad in pajama bottoms, the band’s mission is to offer its audience a “mind-shattering fancy-pants funk-blast encounter with the soul, packing transcendent cosmic love into every slap of the bass and every moaning cry of the guitar.” Are the lyrics really about hobos and Food-Network stars, or do they recount artistic voyages that reveal the band’s poignant beliefs about the bleak human condition and the decay of society? That’s for you to decide. Since their smashing debut at Ranger Day 2009, the troupe has covered songs by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 311, Radiohead, Modest Mouse, The Pixies, and Spoon among others. Fans can expect an exciting new set list at this year’s Ranger Day performance.
The Double Rainbows
Alex Venegas ’13 – Vocals, Keyboard
Oliver Valenti ’13 – Guitar
Nick Valenti ’13 – Drums
When their former drummer had to leave the group due to a tight schedule, brothers Nick and Oliver Valenti found themselves without a band. In spite of this, their desire to perform at Ranger Day this year influenced them to find a way to adjust so that they could still play. Thanks to the Jesuit Musicians Union, they found singer Alex Venegas, whom they asked to join. Nick learned how to play the drums, and soon The Double Rainbows were formed. The band’s influences vary. With a “dirty and bluesy” guitarist, a drummer who cites classic rock heroes such as Keith Moon and John Bonham, and an alt-indie singer taking after the style of the Arctic Monkeys, an audience can expect to hear a remarkable concoction of sounds at their upcoming Ranger Day performance. The band has some original material in the works, and they have prepared a cover of “Kids” by MGMT and may also start working on a cover of “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” by Cage the Elephant.
Irish Pride with a Cuban Cigar
Colin Taylor ’12 – Vocals, Guitar
Sam Ford ’11 – Vocals, Auxiliary Instruments
Mark Diaz-Arrastia ’12 – Sex Appeal, Lead Guitar, Backup Vocals
Ben Cordell ’12 – Drums, Piano
Jessica Miller UA ’13 – Bass
When asked about his band’s style, junior Mark Diaz-Arrastia describes Irish Pride with a Cuban Cigar as “all over the place.” The gang came together when Sam Ford signed up to play a gig at a March for Life in Coppell. He asked several of his close friends to join him, and the band was born. Right before their first show, they made a last minute change to their set list. Despite being under-prepared, Irish Pride put on a nice performance and set themselves apart from the rest thanks to their wide range of musical knowledge and unique array of instruments. The band identifies itself with having a large variety of sound, incorporating the ukulele, contrabass clarinet, saxophone, and kazoo into their repertoire. To some, their approach to music might be reminiscent of The Beatles or the Foo Fighters. As of now they have finished writing two full songs. One of these is a hilarious ode to a dragon slayer, and “it’s pretty epic,” while the other is slightly darker. In the past, they have covered songs by Cake, Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World, Coldplay, Train, and Jason Mraz. The band does not limit itself to any particular style. Rather, they play whatever they feel, and because they are all capable musicians, they have a considerable stretch of musical variety open to them and at their fingertips.