Safari Soundlab Puts on Powerful Performance

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Photo by Kayla Socha

The rush was harbored, shrouded in a mix of musical genres, bands and stories.  In a matter of one, two, three songs the awakening was released freely into a dance-crazed audience. At that moment, they craved nothing but the reality of more.

Safari Soundlab enlivened the audience at Club Lava on Oct. 13 when they opened for The Supervillains. Playing some familiar songs along with two new unreleased songs, the band members and fans stood in awe at the success of the show and response from the audience. Senior Ciaran Sontag, guitar and voice for Safari Soundlab, considered that Saturday an inspiring day for the band.

“From the second I stepped on that stage to the second I stepped off, all of it was one big moment for me,” Sontag said. “It was like we weren’t even ourselves. We had no control. It was like we were just on autopilot.”

People were able to walk freely to various bands that performed simultaneously. Safari Soundlab’s energy and ability to engage the crowd won them favor over a wandering audience.

“It was a huge huge huge success,” Sontag said. “You know, it was definitely our best show that we’ve ever played from a performance standpoint. Everything was really tight and we sounded really good. Our stage presence was really good and the crowd’s reaction was through the roof.”

John Keogh, senior, has been following Safari Soundlab for a few years. Even with all of the shows he has seen, something refreshing came with the performance on Saturday.

“It was unbelievable,” Keogh said. “I thought they performed their best since Blue Water. I’ve been to a million of their concerts and whenever they go up, there’s never someone sitting down; everyone’s always up and into it. I think they were the life of the show for sure. They really lit the stage up. I thought it was their best so far and I really look forward to seeing their feature concerts everywhere.”

The members of the band, Misha Frayman, Aaron Plotz, Cody Wheaton, Will Malloy, Brian Ferdon and Sontag met twice a week for four weeks, trying to get some practice time within their busy schedules as music majors.

“Monday night, instead of having practice at our drummer’s house, we went to 1904 Open Mike Night,” Sontag said. “That way we’re not only practicing our songs but we’re practicing stage presence and getting the crowd’s feedback at the same time.”

During the show, the club was open and there were three active stages. Each stage performed a different genre. In Safari Soundlab’s room, reggae beats and dance-inspired rhythms escaped into an energetic audience.

“At our show when we first played, it was just our fans there,” Sontag said. “But after the second and third song the crowd just grew since the crowd could wander where they felt the music was taking them. By the time the third song or so, the whole dance floor was full and we probably had 80 people or so dancing and nodding their heads.”

Keogh has enjoyed watching the band grow. The reactions from the audience solidified his belief that Safari Soundlab was at its best.

“I liked the whole thing,” Keogh said. “I think my favorite part was the last song because it changed so much. I’ve known his music since he just started and it was just him and acoustic and I’ve watched the band get together. It was fun seeing the growth in the past couple years that he’s played, seeing songs he’s written freshman year and how it’s developed.”

Safari Soundlab will play Nov. 5 at the amphitheater on campus from 5 to 5:30 p.m. as a dedication show for the Larry Strong amphitheater. Larry Strong will be in attendance and other bands will also be performing.

“If someone has not seen them yet, now’s the time to do it,” Keogh said. “I wouldn’t turn down any of their shows because they’re really sounding good right now.”

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