Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Student bands draw in crowd for release party

Photo credit Kendra Kamp

Pop Music Guild/Calvin student band Liance debuted their newest album, “Bronze Age of the Nineties,” with opening band Sleepover last Saturday night in the CFAC Recital Hall.

Sleepover started last spring when lead singer Cotter Koopman and bassist Jordan Petersen were looking for a drummer. “We had basically one practice before doing the last Open Mic of the year,” said drummer senior Kendra Kamp. “It’s more out of fun; Jordan has played in other bands, Cotter writes music for fun and I haven’t ever played with people outside of high school concert and marching bands but always wanted to. It basically came to be as part of a creative outlet.”

Koopman tries to keep the audience engaged with the honesty of his songs. “I’m definitely a mover, musically. I try to let down my filter. A lot of my songs convey a scene or a sentiment, rather than a message, so I like to enter whatever that is and kind of let go from there. I hope people respond to that kind of candor,” he explained. “At concerts I’ve been to, I also really like it when the band visibly enjoys being onstage and being with each other, and I hope we make that obvious too.” Mid-song, Koopman ran a lap around the auditorium bestirring much enthusiasm amidst the crowd.

The headline band Liance, comprised of Jared Haverdink on bass guitar, Johnson Cochran on keyboard, Tyler Ligon on drums and guitarist and lead singer James Li, debuted their album “Bronze Age of the Nineties” to a large crowd, each song sharing a story some of grief, heartache or broken plumbing.

“Singing these songs live genuinely takes a weight off myself,” said Li. “The songs on this album are particularly vulnerable, which makes playing them live a confessional of sorts.

“I believe that everyone has a story to tell,” he continued. “We can always learn from other people’s stories. In telling your own story again and again for an audience, you begin to learn not only about yourself but the way your own story intersects with others’.”

Li explained that playing live was the natural step of writing — “to take something as private as an album and bring it to a public space as a shared experience is deeply human.”

“Liance was beautiful. Their creativity was absolutely evident,” said junior Kaitlyn Farris. “One of my favorite pieces contrasted the piano melody with the guitar riff. Not only were they singing about pain, they were playing about it. The dissonance between the two instruments provided incredible complexity to the music and also brought an intangible sense of greater depth to the lyrics.”

Students who know the band members such as senior Jenaya Crevier were particularly excited about the concert. “The show was extremely powerful, partly because I know James and I’ve seen so many pieces of this journey, so many snippets of songs and shows, and this was it coming all together. But beyond that personal connection, his music made such a deep, visceral emotional connection with me — the confusion, the grief and the struggle to hang on to love and to hope.”

The atmosphere grew with emotion as the Recital Hall was lit with bold colors. The band finished with a lively cover of an arcade fire song.

As for the future of the bands, Kamp says, “Sleepover is something we’d like to continue doing if we can, but it’s not something that we’re stressed about making work. For now, it’s a lot of fun that has been going really well.”

Kamp plans to spend her last semester before graduation in Nashville, Tenn., for a program focused on working in the music industry.

“Jordan and I want to keep making music, I think, and want to keep giving Pop Music Guild a shot. I’m actually excited to maybe work things out as a two-piece. We both like experimenting with other instruments, so I think we’ll be mixing it up musically,” said Koopman.

Sleepover and Liance were both pleased with the turnout, neither having known exactly what to expect. The Recital Hall held a myriad of caring friends and familiar faces, a unique experience in the music world as Ken Heffner pointed out in the discussion with the bands following the show.

On Friday, Nov. 20, Liance is opening for the Great Lakes Swimmers at the Ladies Literary Club. Li said they are hoping to play more locally and regionally next semester.

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