By AARON RICHARDSON
Rocking long into the night, University of Mary Washington bands Pash, Jinxed at Twelve and Grave-Robbing Extravaganza (GRE) shook The Loft in downtown Fredericksburg to its very foundation on Jan. 18.
Organized by Jinxed at Twelve, Pash lead guitarist Erik Bruner-Yang and The Loft, the show boasted an impressive crowd who came to support the bands and have their eardrums thoroughly ravaged by rock.
“Jinxed at Twelve (the opener) actually booked the show and asked us to play,” Bruner-Yang said. “From there I took over and got GRE on the bill as well to help make it a really fun show.”
GRE lead guitarist and UMW sophomore Colin Deyman was pleased with the turnout.
“About 130 people came out, which was really sweet,” Deyman said. “I honestly couldn’t believe how many people showed up, especially since we didn’t go on until 11:30.”
The Loft is a small venue, making a crowd of 130 feel enormous.
“It was a very crazy atmosphere to play in,” said GRE rhythm guitarist and UMW junior Christian Tenney. “The Loft is so intimate and intense, and you can feel every part of the show in your gut.”
The large crowd buzzed with excitement as alternative rockers Pash took the stage at 10:30 p.m. Pash played an energetic 40-minute set composed entirely of original songs.
Musically precise and powerful, Pash was extremely entertaining to watch live. Their sound is set off by the vocals of UMW alumna Mer Munoz, whose high-pitched vocals cut through and complement the complicated guitar and drum parts. Female vocalists are rare, and Munoz adds a unique and identifying sound.
The crowd responded to the band’s energy with a lively dance floor at the front of the stage. Each song was met with enormous applause, and it was obvious that Pash has a loyal home crowd. The well-composed songs demonstrate acres of talent. Pash’s loyal following is a result of a busy show schedule.
“We play a ton of shows a month and the best way to keep posted is to join our Facebook group or our MySpace at myspace.com/pashva,” Bruner-Yang said.
Even between bands, the crowd stayed talkative and tireless. Noise levels were a little different between when Pash was playing and when they weren’t. No level of crowd noise could have prepared anyone for the aural brutality that is Grave-Robbing Extravaganza.
Excitement began to build very quickly as the band set up their equipment. Lead singer and bassist Lewis Kopenhafer, a UMW junior, briefly greeted the crowd before the band unleashed their fury.
GRE is quintessentially metal, tackling such hard-core subject matter as a life-and-death battle between a squid and a sperm whale, and zombies. Their sound features a two-guitar attack by Tenney and Deyman, complete with finger-tapping and sweet arpeggios, de-rigueur for their style of music.
While many will write off heavy metal as taking no skill, GRE prove that immense talent is required to do it well. When the guitarists are not ripping face-melting solos, Kopenhafer’s bass work bends the mind. Junior Evan Henry’s drumming is equally as intense as the strings, adding a solid groundwork to build from. Watching the band members work together leaves no doubt of each person’s virtuosity and contribution to the whole.
GRE’s set culminated with the debut of their ten-minute epic “Laudanum…,” which moves along similarly to a piece of classical music with as much intricacy and depth.
“It was an incredible challenge to get the song together and play by the time of the show, but we, and from what we could gather, the crowd, were very satisfied with the effort,” Tenney said.
The show was a success in the eyes of the bands and the crowd. When the concert ended after midnight, all the talk was in regards to GRE’s ferocious set and Pash’s energy.
“Erik did a sweet job with the sound, and it was a whole lot of fun playing with [Pash], any band should want to play with them,” Deyman said.