CMP Senior Shows
Contemporary Music Program senior Noah DeVore says he first “…got into music by making really bad music. My friends and I, as teenagers were like, ‘how are we going to make friends or meet girls,’ so we started a punk rock band.”
On April 21, DeVore played his senior show at Warehouse 21, after the opening band, Sex Headaches. Both the band and DeVore played what sounded like punk rock with CMP majors Angelo Harmsworth on drums (who on April 19 had his own senior show); Sam Funk on guitar; and Luke Hennley, who played guitar and sang.
Though DeVore plays synthesizer, bass and drums, his show focused on his compositions. “I write very plain, honest statements, I like simplicity. It’s mostly about extreme depression, Batman comics; I guess it’s just lots of honesty. I’m not big on metaphor,” he said.
Some of the lines were, “It’s scary how wary I am of the company I keep” and “There are and will be a thousand princes, there is only one keyboard.” DeVore chose to perform off stage and surrounded by the audience. It looked a lot like performance art because of the way DeVore interacted with other musicians (plus: the dancing).
“I wanted to make sure I included stuff I’ve worked on this year, and I chose the things that were the most fun,” DeVore said. “As a solo artist, there’s a fine line between what feels good to you and what is cathartic and beautiful to other people.”
As for his plans after graduation, DeVore wants to continue recording his own music. “At this point, I want to keep doing what I’m doing now,” he said. “I’m going to keep messing around with sound.”
In case you missed the previous senior shows, there are two upcoming ones on April 25 with Nick Cueto and Eric Bruno in the O’Shaughnessy Performance Space. Madeline Bentley’s senior show will be held on April 30. Her singing will be accompanied by CMP majors Spencer Vandevier and Jordan Long on guitar.
The show on April 25 will begin with Cueto at 8 p.m., playing the music he composed over the course of five years. It will feature alternative rock and folk, as well as his piano composition, Transitional Phrases, inspired by Gerschwitz and Beethoven. “I just need to create and express what I’m feeling,” Cueto said of his inspiration.
There also will be a showing of the film Cueto directed and scored. The dark plot follows a photographer investigating a series of murders. “I’ve been fascinated with music my entire life,” explained Cueto. “I used to listen to film scores as a kid and draw pictures of what I thought was happening.”
After graduation, the senior wants to finish his concept album, which will include songs from the show. He talked about connecting them with a story plot about an alien going through heartbreak and love, and then returning home only to have his ship blow up and die floating out in space. One of the lyrics is, “There is love in the air, and I’m so glad there isn’t any air here to strangle me again.” Cueto plans on animating the music videos later on.
“Come to the show and I promise to blow your socks off,” concluded Cueto.
Je. Nin. I.
The second concert of April 25 will be Eric Bruno’s senior show. It begins at 9 p.m. and will focus on identity, whether it be losing it, or finding it. The music features acoustic, electric sounds by incorporating electric guitar and synthesizer.
“As a teenager, I had this perception that if I played music, people would like me more,” Bruno said of his beginnings. “I decided I wanted a career in music and to bring to it emotions and the way people deal with things. I wanted to create music and make people feel.”
The senior plays electric guitar, drum kit, piano, percussion, and he sings. At the moment, he is focusing on composing music either on computer programs or on paper, as a way to communicate it to other people. “I like to call my music ‘modern contemporary,’ though I’m not sure it really fits into that category,” said Bruno. “It’s definitely stuff that’s outside of the box, whether it’s the melodies or the harmonies. It’s about emotion, it’s in the moment.”
He explained that though the show will be minimalistic, it includes other performing artists and collaborations. “It’s truly an undertaking, but I don’t regret it at all. It’s been a great experience,” Bruno concluded.
Madeline Bentley’s Senior Show
“I wanted to showcase what I’ve worked on throughout my years here at SFUAD,” said Bentley about her upcoming performance on April 30. Her senior show will take place in the O’Shaughnessy Performance Space at 7 p.m. and will mainly feature her collaborations with Spencer Vandevier and Jordan Long.
They described working with Bentley, and being in awe of her awesome voice and wonderful attitude. “I remember seeing this tiny girl approach the piano and not expecting the enormous sound she produced,” said Long about his first time meeting Bentley. “She’s a badass. She fills up the room. She has this soulful, moving sound.” The trio described working with each other as easy and enjoyable. Working on the lyrics and harmonies comes easy to them.
Though Bentley describes her style as “rock-ish,” for the show she will be singing backup acoustic rock with Long. She will also be performing her piano compositions inspired by tragic life events. “There’s a song that me and Spencer Vandevier worked on about a broken relationship and involvement with drug abuse,” she explained. Spencer writes the lyrics and Bentley works on them with him. The lyrics focus heavily on past experiences and conveying specific emotions to listeners. As for the concert, Bentley said “There isn’t a theme, I just want to perform the music that I like and hope the audience enjoys it.”
Vandevier and Long will be performing at their own senior shows next semester.