Concert at the Slab
On the night of Saturday, September 4th, a crowd gathered at the Slab, a spanse of concrete behind the library and Art House.
Elsa Schroeder started the night by playing two original songs, accompanied by her own guitar playing. The crowd swayed to the calming melodies sung in Indonesian. As a result of studying abroad in Indonesia, Schroeder is fluent in the language and wrote “Bulan Sama mu,” a song which she performed for the crowd.
Taking the stage after Schroeder was Mezekerta Tesfay, who performed with Anton Cross and Sammy Schachter. This ensemble had a few firsts on Saturday. For Tesfay, this was her first time playing guitar live, and this was also Schachter’s first debut of his singing. The band performed “Movement” by Hozier as the crowd sang along in harmony. LED lights illuminated the drums and speakers brightening up the band as the sky dimmed into night. Tesfay strummed along to “Sweater Weather” by The Neighbourhood, a clear crowd favorite as people took off their shoes and moved closer to the band to dance. Swaying phone flashlights intermingled with lighters, giving a sense of what Beloit was like before quarantine. After they played another crowd favorite, “Meet Me at Our Spot” by THE ANXIETY and WILLOW, the band performed an original, untitled song that Tesfay had written when she was seventeen. The song ended with a drum and guitar solo, and Tesfay dancing along to her bandmates.
The bands switched over, and with a quick “Check, check, 1, 2” from Tony Renzema, lead singer and guitarist of Saturn Hat, rock music quickly filled the air. With Evan Watkins on guitar and Philip Adrian on drums, the crowd began headbanging and jumping with the music. Even the people on the fringes of the crowd were bobbing their heads and swaying their hips. The jostling crowd was huddled in front of the band, leaving room in front of the mics for when the engaging guitarists stepped out in front to play to the crowd.
“Welcome to Beloit 2021”, said Adrian, a phrase that rang true to many a student who had spent too long cooped up in dorm rooms during Zoom University. They played almost all original songs from their new album, Space Soup, now available on most streaming platforms. The album, released in May earlier this year, features songs like “Lost and Found”, “Hot Blood”, and “Sparrow,” all of which were performed on Saturday. “Sparrow,” one of their more lowkey songs, featuring a synth, was their first song widely available to stream. During this song on Saturday, glow sticks were handed out to the crowd to wave through the night air. This quickly devolved into a thrashing mob with a yell from Renzema; “Are you feelin it?” This natural knack of engaging the crowd made the night explosive, people had no qualms about head banging and moshing at the front of the crowd.
After performing their last song, the crowd quickly shouted out cheers of “Encore,” and the band complied. They delved into a rock version of the iconic Subway jingle, and the crowd screamed along with them. Passersby peering through the bushes heard the hoard hollering “Five dollar footlong.” And with that, the concert was over. Adrian ended the night by saying, “We’ll see you back at the Slab sometime.”