By Paola Nunez
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Students and staff gathered for a free concert on the afternoon of April 16 at Civic Hall to hear the Grammy-nominated band, Kneebody.
The show began at 12:30 p.m. as Professor Michael Billingsley introduced Kneebody to the audience. Billingsley stated, “I’ve obviously become a diehard Kneebody fan, and my students know I’m very objective about the way we criticize music. This was a band I just thought, ‘everyone should hear this. Everyone should see this’.”
As the band began to play, a few more students strolled into Civic Hall to experience the show. Members of the audience couldn’t help but tap their feet and bop their heads to the rhythm of the music. A few students were taking pictures of the band and some even took videos of the performance. Some students were there just to listen, while others were there to review the show as an assignment for their music appreciation classes, like Chris O’Rourke, who wet on to say, “I’m actually glad I had this assignment, otherwise I probably would have missed out.”
After the first three songs, band member Shane Endsley told the audience a little about the band while the rest of them set up for the next set. Endsley stated, “We are mostly classified as a jazz group, but obviously there are a lot of other influences that drive our music. Even though our music is fairly integrated we try to learn everything by ear and learn other parts in case we decide to switch it up. We try to leave room for improv as well.”
The Los Angeles- and New York-based band consists of five musicians who came together in college, Adam Benjamin on keyboards, Endsley on trumpet, Ben Wendel on tenor sax, Kaveh Rastegar on bass, and Nate Wood on drums.
Rastegar brought laugher to the crowd by telling an anecdote about what inspired their final song. “This next song was inspired by a really cool sign in L.A. It had a penguin on it and it was for a dentist office. Why? Why the association of a dentist with a penguin? But it inspired the song called ‘Dr. Beauchef, Penguin Dentist’,” Rastegar explained as they moved into their final song.
The band ended the show with a question and answer session. When asked about how they write their songs, the band responded by saying, “The composition process has been remarkably consistent from the beginning, which is basically individual members who come with a song that is 90 percent complete and we learn everything by ear including all the individual parts. So we don’t think like ‘oh that’s the bass player’s part so I’m not going to learn that’ so everything is up for grabs and then the last 10 percent is done collectively.”