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The Blue & Gray Press | May 22, 2018

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Palooza For Hunter: A Concert for a Cause

Palooza For Hunter: A Concert for a Cause

By ALEX VAN BEEK

At the King George Citizen’s Center on Jan. 21, four bands and a solo act came together in a musical extravaganza called Palooza For Hunter

It was put together for Hunter Pitts, a local who tragically lost control during a motorcycle race and as a result damaged parts of his brain. About six months after the accident, Hunter is recovering at an incredible rate, but with new treatments come more medical expenses. That’s where Palooza comes in.

Johnny in June started the night, but I unfortunately was only able to catch the tail-end of their performance.

Palooza For Hunter was this band’s first gig and from what I saw of their performance, they certainly did a respectable job. They played covers of punk staples “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “Punk Rock Girl” as well as a few songs from the Cure including “Just Like Heaven.”

I got the feeling that these guys were nervous, but channeled their nerves into their playing a successful solid set.

Next up were the Cosmonauts, another band whose first public performance was at Palooza.

Both members of this group are students at UMW with sophomore Lonnie Southall on guitar and senior Michael Terlecki on drums. Their set consisted of more originals than covers with a particular stand-out being “Work It Out.”

Southall and Terlecki played off each other quite well, playing covers that focused on the duo aspect of their band, such as “Set You Free” by the Black Keys and “Fell In Love With A Girl” by the White Stripes.

“Lonnie Southall changed my life,” said freshman Charlotte Hagerman. All in all, the Cosmonauts had a great debut and are worth checking out.

“Good morning America. Today’s weather: very hot on stage,” said Austin Miller, guitarist of the band Who Took Fred?, about half-way through his entirely acoustic solo set.

Miller certainly worked up a sweat during his half-hour set as a result of his energetic stage presence. He jumped around and danced emphatically on stage whenever he wasn’t singing.

His performance consisted entirely of originals, with him playing all of the songs off his recently released acoustic album, “Junk Tracks.” His high-caliber set truly impressed.

The next act, Toxic Dropkick, was a departure from the other bands that played at the Palooza both in genre and in quality. As their set consisted entirely of metal songs, their lead singer at one point told the audience, “if you don’t like this style of music, just get down with it.”

Favoring playing loudly over sound quality, Toxic Dropkick’s songs consisted of prolonged periods of screaming punctuated by guitars that stood out only when they stopped playing power chords.

While I am certainly not the biggest metal fan, I can at least tolerate it, but Toxic Dropkick took unlistenable to a whole new level.

For the people that stuck around, Who Took Fred?, led by front man Lonnie Southall, put on a fantastic show.

Starting off with an interesting riff on the “Lord of the Rings” theme, from there they took off into several of their original compositions. Songs like “Delusions of Grandeur” and “Out For Me” caught the crowd’s attention with their upbeat rhythms, powerful vocals with solid drumming that insured the band did not go too overboard.

Who Took Fred?’s originals were the highlight of their performance and I hope they continue to build a bigger repertoire. The ending to “School of Rock” was a nice touch and wrapped up the night with a sense of aplomb.

Having raised $564 by the end of the night, it is hard not to call Palooza For Hunter anything but a success.

The bands that performed over the course of the night ranged in both genre and talent, and as a result created what was certainly a memorable event for all in attendance.

[Photo: Who Took Fred? really got into their performance. Taken by Alex Van Beek/Bullet]