First up was Rui Barbosa, the funk-rock trio of Adam Rochelle (’17), Jonah Wolfson (’17), and Johnnie Gilmore (’18). Although there were few in attendance for Rui’s opening to their short set, bunches of students soon shuffled in, surely hearing the funky rhythms and melodies Rui's known for. Although Rui Barbosa is not the most acclaimed band on campus, it's surely one of the most talented. The chemistry between band members is clear, presumably partly due to Rochelle and Gilmore’s musical collaboration and friendship, which goes back to high school where they formed the band Centre St.
Next to perform was the Latin jazz quintet Don Froot comprised of Leo Grossman (’16), Justin Friedman (’16), Matt Chilton (’16), Ben Zucker (’16), and Jonah Wolfson (’17). Their set began with some groovy classics from their album Don Fruta, which was released in February last year. Grossman’s voice floated over Friedman’s relaxing guitar riffs and sweet rhythms held down by Zucker, Chilton, and Wolfson. As the crowd began to dance away, Grossman announced that he would sing in Portuguese, a language he admitted no real knowledge of. Had it not been for his announcement, no one would have guessed; Grossman’s perfectly articulated Portuguese could fool even the most particular listeners. Later in the set, Friedman announced that this would be Don Froot’s last show for a while, since he's departing for Australia to study abroad this semester. In one last wistful breath, Friedman prefaced the first song he wrote as a member of Don Froot. With a little encouragement, he was able to get the whole crowd to repeat his chorus a capella. As the performance came to an end, one got a sense that Friedman had been sent off in the most proper way.
Last up was the headliner Gabriel Garzon-Montano, who performed with a seemingly simple setup: a drummer with a simple kit and drum pad, a bassist with few pedals if any, a keyboard, and a mic. Montano’s sound was anything but simple; he laid intricate vocal riffs over synthy syncopated beats that looped over each other to beautiful effect. Using pre-recorded vocals, Montano created a D’Angelo-esque sound with vocal self-harmonization and multiple melodies weaving together at any instant. From stage-right, it was possible to see the complexity behind the operation. Montano’s drummer worked a combination of rapid high hat hits together with swift taps on his sound pad to craft beats that overflowed with interesting flourishes of diverse percussion. Montano flexed his ability to sing in drastically different patterns than he was playing. Often, his voice would jump and dive in rhythmic divergence and correspondence with the rest of the band, all with incredible ease. Montano performed some hits from his album Bishoune: Alma del Huila such as “Everything is Everything,” “Keep on Running,” and “Me Alone,” in addition to debuting several unreleased songs. As Montano’s set closed, the crowd begged for an encore, which was promised if someone got him two beers. He never got the beers, but the crowd still got the encore. What a giver!