Bandersnatch artists captivate audiences with new songs and old favorites

When senior Donyell Logan first heard Emotional Oranges at Coachella earlier this year, he never thought he’d get the chance to see them up close in Syracuse.

“Syracuse, are you feeling iconic?” Vali, one half of the duo, asked the crowd as she led the way to one of her original songs, “Iconic.”

On Friday, students threaded their way into a fully decorated Goldstein Auditorium, dressed in their favorite evening concert attire. They were ready to see what University Union’s Bandersnatch had to offer.

This semester’s lineup was peppered with some empowering female artists. R&B pop group Emotional Oranges headlined the show with support from Tommy Lefroy. Froggies, a female-led student band, was the opening act.

Goldstein was decorated in various shades of red with a photo wall and various freebie tables in the back. The intimate space offered both the audience and the artists the opportunity to interact more than would be the case in a larger concert hall.

Junior Evelyn Broughton came to the concert to support her roommate Sam Ronan, who was backing Froggies on keyboards at Bandersnatch, but got a lot more than she bargained for.

“It’s quite intimate,” Broughton said. “It’s nice – I feel like I’m conversing with the artists.”

Froggies got the crowd moving to the tune of their vibrant rock music. They started the night off strong with their original song “Another Night”. While the crowd might not know all the lyrics to all of their songs, their heavy percussion, guitars and energy kept them moving.

“Everyone has to dance, it’s a requirement,” guitarist Sam Parrish told the crowd.

She led the crowd in Froggies’ rendition of ABBA’s “Lay All Your Love On Me.” While the audience was lively, they were somewhat eclipsed by the room. But they eagerly used the space to twirl and dance in small groups. Towards the end of their set, they got sentimental and played the first song they had learned together as a band.

“It’s the first song the three of us learned together. It’s very jinxed,” Parrish said.

The group ended up so strong when they started thanking the crowd and UU for having her.

Composed of Wynter Bethel and Tessa Mouzourakis, Tommy Lefroy is a relatively new duo in the music industry, but the pair are making waves. The two women wrote, produced and released their first album via Facetime during lockdown.

The duo said they wanted to twist the usual script around women and heartbreak and strive to be the heartbreakers rather than the heartbroken ones. They relate to other heartthrobs like Patti Smith, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon, Mouzourakis said.

“A big thing that we’re talking about is giving listeners a safe space to feel what they need to feel,” Bethel said.

Megan Hendricks | Photo editor

From calling out the names of their heartthrobs to asking the duo to pose for their BeReals, the audience welcomed the artists with open arms.

The pair performed a variety of songs including an unreleased track and the song they released today, “Jericho Beach.”

Many viewers appreciated the number of women in the line-up.

“Both bands (Tommy Lefroy and Froggies) are led by women. So exciting,” Broughton said.

Tommy Lefroy ended her time on stage with an energetic guitar and drum solo that ended with Bethel on her back on stage and Mouzourakis leaning over her.

After Tommy Lefroy cleared the stage, the crowd got a quick breather to sit down and continue exploring everything the event had to offer. In the back of the auditorium, tables were set up with various merchandise and giveaways.

WERW Radio gave out free t-shirts with their logo and designs on them. Hero, a skin care brand best known for its pimple patches, gave out a variety of pocket-sized skin care products, and 20 Watts gave out copies of their magazine and posters. The Pits Vintage had a pop-up store with a variety of sweaters and shirts for attendees to purchase.

As the crowd mingled, sat down and walked around the venue, the stage was set for headlining – Emotional Oranges. The stage was cleared, leaving only large lights lining the back wall.

Vali strutted onto the stage in a matching red ensemble and kicked off the set with her song “Motion.” The fast-paced R&B song was a marked change from previous performers’ performances, but it got the crowd moving just as much. Azad Right, the other half of the duo, soon joined her on stage in a Balenciaga hoodie and red hat to match Vali’s outfit.

From the chemistry between the two to their lively backup dancers to their impeccable lighting, their set showcased their star power. Despite their striking stage presence, they still managed to keep their performance intimate and true to the space through interaction with the audience.

“I feel like I’m having a barbecue,” Vali said jokingly.

“Like I’m sitting in my parents’ house,” Right added.

Like Froggies, Emotional Oranges kept audiences moving with their upbeat music and a few performances, including the Fugees’ “Killing Me Softly.”

Halfway through their set, they introduced their backup dancers to the audience during a dance break. Logan and his girlfriend May Alabaddi both passionately claimed Emotional Oranges was their favorite act of the night.

Alabaddi first discovered the duo during the pandemic and they didn’t disappoint when they performed in Syracuse.

“I fell in love with that last song they played, ‘West Coast Love,’ during the pandemic and I can’t believe they’re playing it here,” Alabaddi said.

Although intimate, the students still enjoyed the concert and appreciated the connection with the artists.

“I love live music. It’s just so much fun experiencing the music that you’re hearing in your headphones as you walk around campus on the stage in front of you,” said Logan. “It is wonderful.”

About Gloria Skelton

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